On November 19, 1892, a northwest gale drove a schooner named Irene Thayer up onto the beach about half a mile southeast of the Oregon Inlet LifeSaving Station. Within thirty minutes, not one but two stations responded to the wreck and were on site ready to assist those on the stranded vessel. In addition to the crew from Oregon Inlet lead by Keeper Macajah W. Etheridge, Keeper Richard Etheridge and the surfman from the Pea Island LifeSaving Station were also on hand. Rapidly, the crews worked together to establish a line of communication with the vessel by setting up the breeches buoy apparatus and transported the six sailors to safety without any mishap. The sailors were housed at the Oregon Inlet Station for two days and were provided clothing from the supply distributed to the stations by the Women’s National Relief Association. As weather permitted, the two crews also salvaged what could be saved from the schooner. After departing for home, Captain S. H. Wall sent a letter of gratitude to the General Superintendent’s Office. He expressed his thankfulness for not only the treatment of his crew but also for the existence of the United States LifeSaving Service, “I’m thankful to know that I belong to a nation that furnishes such men and houses of refuge for the benefit of seafaring men.”

All in a Day’s Work

Sometimes it’s about not giving up: On October 14, 1896 it took the efforts of two surfmen on patrol to avert a disaster. During the fourth watch of the night, the south patrolman from the Caffey’s Inlet LifeSaving Station spotted a steamer in dangerous proximity to shore and heading straight for it. He burned not one but two Coston signals trying to alert the vessel of the danger but his warnings were unheeded. The north patrolman from the Paul Gamiels Hill Station also spotted the steamer and saw the flares from the first surfman. He lit a third flare in warning and finally, the steamer changed course and safely passed along the shoreline. 

For more stories like these, visit the Chicamacomico LifeSaving Station, where history is alive.