Subscribe to stay up to date with the latest in Provincetown!
Subscribe to ptownie

    Provincetown History Snippets: Saving Sailors

    Saving Sailors Provincetown
    January 4, 2019

    In the early 1800s, winters saw an average of two wrecks off the Outer Cape every month. Many sailors made it to shore—and then froze to death right on the beach. In 1872 an efficient lifesaving service was put into operation, with stations every five miles on the beach. Six or seven surfmen and a keeper lived in each station and kept a continuous lookout. At night, two men from each station walked the beach on patrol, met at a small half-way shelter between stations, and then returned on their same route.

    As soon as a ship in distress was sighted, a red signal was fired. If possible, the crew launched special surfboats to the sinking ship; if the ship was close enough to shore and the sea too difficult to manage, the lifesaving team stayed on the beach and pulled the sinking crew to shore, one by one, in a basket-like contraption called a breeches buoy. A sailor from the sinking ship would climb into the breeches buoy and be pulled to shore.

    A demonstration of a breeches buoy drill is given weekly during the summer by National Seashore Rangers at Race Point in Provincetown.

    Click here to check out all of our Provincetown History Snippets!

    More Recent Provincetown News

    Art We Love – More than Meets the Eye
    September 9, 2022
    Art We Love – More than Meets the Eye
    The first impression a piece of art makes when you walk into a gallery can be thrilling.  But sometimes what’s even more exciting is discovering that what you see up close is not at all what you thought you saw from afar. All of the pieces here had that...
    The Lemonade Girl
    April 21, 2022
    For more years than many of us can remember, summers in Provincetown weren’t complete without the sight of a little girl walking up and down Commercial Street, calling out in a lovely singsong voice, “Lemonade! Fifty cents! Lemonade!” That little girl...
    Fashion Makers Give “First Look”
    May 24, 2023
    First Look Provincetown
    First Look- An Evening Celebrating Provincetown Fashion   Join the Provincetown Art Society as they welcome the start of summer with “First Look – An Evening Celebrating Provincetown Fashion”. On Friday, June 2nd from 5-7 pm, six of...
    Real Estate Update May 2023
    ptownie - Real Estate May
    Real Estate Update There are plenty of folks out there looking for houses and condos on the Outer Cape—but inventory is still not abundant. We always provide the numbers so you smart people can look for yourselves and see what the market is doing. It’s...