Thursday, August 07, 2008


For the last two days I have been immersed in stories of shipwrecks and life-savers. Last night at the Opry I shared the story of the wreck of the Pioneer (a wooden steamer loaded with general cargo that ran aground on Ocracoke in 1889). This morning I spent two hours with teachers at the NCCAT (NC Center for the Advancement of Teachers) center talking about the US Life Saving Service and rescues using the breeches buoy.

Readers of this journal might want to take some time to research the Life Saving Service. Recently someone pointed out to me that nearly everyone has heard of and studied the Pony Express. This service operated for only 18 months and employed 183 riders, mostly young men in their 20s. In contrast, the Life Saving Service operated for 45 years, included approximately 280 stations, and employed over 2,000 men. They were instrumental in saving the lives of countless mariners, often risking their own lives in gales and hurricanes to rescue, not only fellow Americans, but seafarers from distant countries who often spoke languages they didn't understand. In spite of this, very few people are familiar with the Life Saving Service. How could it be that we all know about the Pony Express, but so few know about the Life Savers? It's time to change that. Here is a good place to start:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Lou Ann's account of installing an old-fashioned pitcher pump. You can read it here.

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