Historic Lifesaving & Other Shore Stations

Collapse All Expand All

Maine  

Boothbay Harbor

Burnt Island

Cape Elizabeth

Cranberry Islands

Cross Island

Crumple Island

Damiscove Island Eastport

Fletcher's Neck

Hunniwell's Beach (Kennebec River)

Jonesport

Quoddy Head

Rockland

South Portland

Southwest Harbor

White Head

Wood Island 

 

New Hampshire

Hampton Beach

Isles of Shoals

Jerry's Point

Portsmouth Harbor

Rye Beach

Wallis Sands

 

Vermont

Burlington

 

Massachusetts 

Boston

Brant Point

Brant Rock

Cahoons Hollow

Cape Cod Canal

Castle Hill

Chatham

City Point

Coskata

Cuttyhunk

Fourth Cliff

Gay Head

Gloucester

Gurnet

High Head

Highland

Maddaket

Manomet Point

Menemsha

Merrimac River

Monomoy

Monomoy Point

Muskeget

Nahant

Nauset

Newburyport

North Scituate

Old Harbor

Orleans

Pamet River

Peaked Hill Bars

Plum Island

Point Allerton

Provincetown

Race Point

Salisbury Beach

Scituate

Surfside

Straitsmouth

Wood End

Woods Hole 

 

Rhode Island 

Block Island

Brenton Point

Castle Hill

Green Hill

Narragansett

New Shoreham

Point Judith

Quonocontaug

Sandy Point

Watch Hill 

 

Connecticut

Fishers Island

New Haven

New London

 

New York 

Amagansett

Bellport

Big Sandy

Blue Point

Buffalo

Charlotte

City Island

Coney Island

Ditch Plain

Eatons Neck

Far Rockaway

Fire Island

Forge River

Galloo Island

Georgica

Gilgo

Governors Island

Hither Plain

Jones Beach

Kings Point

Lone Hill

Long Beach

Meadow Island

Mecox

Montauk

Montauk Point

Moriches

Napeague

New York

Niagara

Oak Island

Oswego

Point Lookout

Point of Woods

Potunk

Quogue

Rockaway

Rockaway Point

Rocky Point

Sackett's Harbor

Salmon Creek

Sheep's Head Bay

Shinnecock

Short Beach

Smiths Point

Southampton

Tiana

Zachs Inlet 


New Jersey 

Absecon

Atlantic City

Avalon

Barnegat

Bay Head

Bonds

Brigantine

Cape May

Cedar Creek

Chadwick's

Cold Spring

Corson Inlet

Deal

Forked River

Fortesque

Great Egg

Harvey Cedar

Hereford Inlet

Holly Beach

Island Beach

Little Beach

Little Egg

Long Beach

Long Branch

Loveladies Island

Manasquan

Mantoloking

Monmouth Beach

Ocean City

Peck's Beach

Sandy Hook

Sea Isle City

Seabright

Shark River

Ship Bottom

South Brigantine

Spermaceti Cove

Spring Lake

Squan Beach (also known as Manasquan Beach)

Stone Harbor

Tatham's

Tom's River

Townsend Inlet

Turtle Gut

Wildwood


Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

 

Delaware

Bethany Beach

Cape Henlopen

Fenwick Island

Indian River Inlet

Lewes

Rehoboth Beach

 

Maryland 

Annapolis

Curtis Bay

Crisfield

Green Run Inlet

Isle of Wight

North Beach

Ocean City

Oxford

St. Inigoes

Stillpond

  

Washington, DC

Washington

 

Virginia 

Assateague Beach

Cape Charles

Cape Henry

Chincoteague

Cobb Island

Dam Neck Mills

False Cape

Hog Island

Little Creek

Little Island

Little Machipongo Inlet

Metomkin Inlet

Milford Haven

Parramore Beach

Pope's Island

Portsmouth

Seatack

Smith Island

Wachapreague

Wallop's Beach 

 

North Carolina 

Big Kinnakeet

Bodie Island

Bogue Inlet

Caffey's Inlet

Cape Fear

Cape Hatteras

Cape Lookout

Chicamacomico

Core Bank

Creed's Hill

Currituck Inlet

Durant's

Elizabeth City

Fort Macon

Gull Shoal

Hatteras Inlet

Hobucken

Kill Devil Hills

Kitty Hawk

Little Kinnakeet

Nags Head

New Inlet

Oak Island

Ocracoke

Oregon Inlet

Paul Gamiel Hill

Pea Island

Portsmouth

Poyners Hill

Wash Woods

Whales Head

Wrightsville Beach

 

South Carolina

Charleston

Georgetown

Sullivan's Island

 

Georgia

Brunswick

Tybee Island

 

Florida

Biscayne

Cape Malabar House of Refuge

Chester Shoal House of Refuge

Cortez

Destin

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Pierce

Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge

Indian River

Indian River Inlet House of Refuge

Islamorada

Jupiter Inlet

Key West

Lake Worth Inlet

Marathon

Marquesas Keys

Mayport

Mosquito Lagoon House of Refuge

Orange Grove House of Refuge

Panama City

Pensacola

Ponce de Leon Inlet

Port Canaveral

St. Petersburg

Sand Key

Santa Rosa

Smith's Creek

Yankeetown

 

Puerto Rico

San Juan

 

Alabama

Dauphin Island

 

Mississippi

Gulfport

Pascagoula

 

Louisiana

Grand Isle

Venice

 

Texas 

Aransas

Brazos

Freeport

Galveston

Grand Isle

Port Aransas

Port O'Connor

Sabine Pass

Saluria

San Luis

South Padre Island

       Velasco

California 

Arena Cove

Bodega Bay

Bolinas Bay

Carquinez

Channel Islands Harbor

Fort Point

Golden Gate

Golden Gate Park

Humboldt Bay

Lake Tahoe

Los Angeles/Long Beach

Monterey

Morro Bay

Noyo River

Point Bonita

Point Reyes

Rio Vista

San Diego

San Francisco

Southside 

 

Oregon 

Cape Arago

Chetco River

Coos Bay

Coquille River

Depot Bay

Point Adams

Port Orford

Portland

Siuslaw River

Tillamook Bay

Umpqua River

Yaquina Bay 

 

Washington 

Bellingham

Cape Disappointment

Grays Harbor

Ilwaco Beach

Klipsan Beach

National Motor Lifeboat School, Cape Disappointment, Ilwaco

Neah Bay

Petersons Point

Port Angeles

Quillayute River

Seattle

Shoalwater Bay

Waaddah Island 

 

Alaska

Juneau

Ketchikan

Nome

Valdez

 

Hawaii

Honolulu

      Maui

New York

Alexandria Bay

Buffalo

Niagara

Oswego

Rochester

 

Pennsylvania

Erie (Presque Isle)

 

Ohio

Ashtabula

Cleveland (Harbor)

Fairport

Lorain

Marblehead; (Point Marblehead)

Toledo

 

Kentucky

Louisville

 

Michigan 

Alpena

Beaver Island

Belle Isle

Bois Blanc

Charlevoix

Crisps

Eagle Harbor

Frankfort

Grand Haven

Grand Marais

Grand Point Au Sable

Grindstone City

Hammond Bay

Harbor Beach

Holland

Lake View Beach

Ludington

Manistee

Marquette

Middle Island

Muskallonge Lake

Muskegon

North Manitou

Ottawa Point

Pentwater

Pointe Aux Barques

Point Betsie

Port Huron

Portage

Saginaw River

St. Clair (Shores)

Saint Joseph

Saint Ignace

Sand Beach

Sault Ste. Marie

Ship Canal

Sleeping Bear Point

South Haven

South Manitou

Sturgeon Point

Tawas

Thunder Bay Island

Two Heart River

Vermillion Point

White River 

 

Indiana

Michigan City

 

Illinois

Calumet Harbor

Chicago

Evanston

Jackson Park

South Chicago

Wilmette Harbor

 

Wisconsin 

Bayfield

Baileys Harbor

Green Bay

Kenosha

Kewaunee

Milwaukee

Plum Island

Racine

Sheboygan

Sturgeon Bay Canal

Two Rivers

Washington Island 

 

Minnesota

Duluth

Life-Saving Service & Coast Guard Stations

Crew and Motor Life Boat Dreadnaught, Point Adams Life-Saving Station, Oregon

 

Station Cape Lookout, North Carolina

May 14, 2021
PRINT | E-MAIL

Station Cape Lookout, North Carolina

USLSS Station #24, Sixth District
Coast Guard Station #190


Location:

At Cape Lookout, N.C., 1 3/8 miles southwest by west of Cape Lookout Light; 34-36' 30"N x 76-32' 20"W

Date of Conveyance:

1886

Station Built:

1887

Fate:

Station was conveyed to the State of North Carolina in 1957.  Station of same name is still in operation.


Remarks:

Coast Guard Station Cape Lookout on Harckers Island, North Carolina, was established by an Act of Congress on June 18, 1878. The station itself was built as a Life Saving Station in 1887 and it was complete on August 31. Land for a boathouse was acquired by deeds dated June 16 and July 1, 1891. The station was rebuilt on its original site in 1916 despite permission to move to the nearby Army Engineer Reservation. On March 1, 1945, the War Department transferred its lease of 411 acres of land, buildings, and the Army dock to the Navy Department for Coast Guard use. Th Coast Guard trimmed the area to 95 acres in a subsequent lease change on August 18, 1945 and let the lease expire entirely on June 30, 1949. In 1950, the Radiobeacon located at the Cape Loookout Light Station was moved to the Lifeboat Station.

It was just before dawn March 17, 1915, when the three-masted schooner Silvia C. Hall was wrecked on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and earned herself a permanent place in Coast Guard History.

Only 48 days had passed since the U.S. Life Saving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service had merged January 28 to form the U.S. Coast Guard. The ill-fated Silvia C. Hall was about to become the service’s first major rescue. The schooner was hit by a howling southeast gale near Cape Lookout, N.C. With the wind at her back, the 384-ton vessel made a southerly entrance into the strong, erratic currents which predominate in the area. Her five-man crew attempted to seek shelter in the protected anchorage of Cape Lookout, once famous as a rendezvous point for pirates like the blood thirsty Blackbeard.

With a sickening grinding sound and a snap of timbers, the Silvia C. Hall plowed into the shifting sands of Cape Shoals which separate North Carolina’s Onslow and Raleigh Bays. Her cargo of Florida cypress would never reach New York. To the newly renamed Coast Guard Station Cape Lookout, a watchman came running with the news that the schooner had gone aground on the treacherous shoals. Waves were breaking over the stricken ship and it would be only a matter of time before she broke up and the crew was lost.

The Station keeper, 37-year-old Fred Gillikin, began rousing his sleeping crew and making preparations for the rescue. Without time for breakfast, the Coast Guardsmen ran the half-mile to the protected bend in the shore where their 36-foot motor surfboat was moored. The schooner was too far out to use a breeches buoy, so a boat would be their only choice. With grim determination, Gillikin headed the boat out of the protected water bight and into the full fury of the gale in an open sea.

Underway less than an hour after the sighting, the rescue team fought against icy March winds estimated at over 40 knots. The seas were running 20 feet. It took several hours to bring the surfboat up to the stricken schooner. The winds dropped the chill factor to well below zero and the raging storm tossed the small boat about like kindling. The rescuers held on for their lives. "Bring her around and come in slow from the windward side," shouted Gillikin to the coxswain.

The boat was nearly abeam of the schooner when a huge wave broke over the surfboat. Two crewmen were knocked down and only saved from being washed overboard by their safety lines. With a cry one man was smashed into the gunwales, receiving a painful hip injury. Before the water could drain from the self-bailing boat, a second wave washed over them, flooding the engine, and leaving the struggling boat at the mercy of the sea.

Gillikin took the helm and fought to keep the boat from broaching. The coxswain went to work on the engine. With a cough, the motor finally caught and Gillikin brought the boat around to meet the seas head on. The rescue team withdrew to deeper water to nurse the sputtering engine and tend to the injured crewman. The rest of the day was spent beyond the breakers waiting for a favorable chance to approach the wrecked ship and tinkering with the uncertain engine. Cold and numbing fatigue were taking their toll on the crew and fuel began to run low. Gillikin reluctantly turned the boat towards shore as darkness fell and the storm showed no sign of slackening.

Before dawn the crew mustered at the boat house and hitched the station’s horse to a 26-foot pulling boat which they towed to their moorings. They launched the boat and towed it back toward the wreck with their motor lifeboat through the raging seas. The temperature was still below freezing and the seas had only slightly moderated.

Near the surf line, Gilliken called the order "Cast off!" and the crew of the 26-footer put their backs to the oars. They successfully crossed the surf, which had nearly killed them the day before and made a cautious approach to the schooner. Rigging and debris were everywhere. Only the pulling boat could have picked its way through the wreckage without being fouled.

Two haggard survivors appeared on the forecastle. With Gillikin shouting directions, they rigged a line from the jib boom and lowered themselves into the rescue boat. As they were transferred to the motor surfboat, the sailors told Gillikin of three more men still aboard the wreck. "Those men are done for if we don’t get back," shouted Gillikin to his crew. Gillikin gritted his teeth and turned the boat about for another trip through the deadly breakers.

Finding an opening in the crashing surf, the Coast Guardsmen drove their tiny boat back through the waves. The other sailors on the wreck had seen their comrades rescued and made their way across the wave-washed decks to the forecastle for their turn to slide down the line to the waiting arms of the Coast Guardsmen and the dubious safety of the surfboat.

From the shore a crowd of fishermen and townsfolk had gathered to watch the drama unfold. As the noisy motor lifeboat came through the breakers with the pulling boat in tow and all the mariners and rescuers safe, a cheer went up that could be heard all the way out to the surf line. They were cheers for the U.S. Coast Guard, not for the Lifesaving Service. They were cheers which would be heard many times in the future in many places around the world.


Keepers:

William H. Gaskill (G) was appointed keeper on 15 DEC 1887 and resigned on 19 APR 1912.  He and his crew were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for a rescue that took place on 10 FEB 1905. 

William T. Willis was appointed keeper on 10 APR 1912 and left in 1915.

Freddie G. Gillikin was appointed keeper in 1915.


Sources:

Station History File, CG Historian’s Office

Dennis L. Noble & Michael S. Raynes.  “Register of the Stations and Keepers of the U.S. Life-Saving Service.”  Unpublished manuscript, compiled circa 1977, CG Historian’s Office collection.

Ralph Shanks, Wick York & Lisa Woo Shanks.  The U.S. Life-Saving Service: Heroes, Rescues and Architecture of the Early Coast Guard.  Petaluma, CA: Costaño Books, 1996.

U.S. Treasury Department: Coast Guard.  Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers and Cadets and Ships and Stations of the United States Coast Guard, July 1, 1941.  Washington, DC: USGPO, 1941.