“You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back…”

Motto of the Port Orford Lifeboat Surfman

Imagine men scrambling down 532 steep, slippery wood and concrete steps on a 280-ft. cliff in a raging storm to a 36-ft. boat…surrounded by waves and rocks, buffeted by brutal winds, tearing out to sea to rescue sailors on a ship in trouble. (enjoyportorford.com)


image capeblancoheritagesociety.com

That was the challenge for the U. S. Coast Guard life-saving crew, called surfmen, who were stationed on this 40-mile stretch of treacherous coastline between Cape Blanco north of Port Orford and Cape Sebastian to the south in Gold Beach.

To fuel the lifeboats each crewman had to carry a 5 gallon can in each hand down the steps until the tank was full, even while battling winds in excess of 100 miles on the coast!(enjoyportorford.com)

From 1934 – 1970 a boathouse on Nellie’s Cove held the two 36-ft. motorized wooden lifeboats. A cradle mounted on rails was used to launch the boats. (capeblancoheritagesociety.com)


Today, Lifeboat Station 318 is an historical site.

image capeblancoheritagesociety.com

The former barracks and office is now a museum.

image capeblancoheritagesociety.com


To learn more about the life of a crewman, the Cape Blanco Heritage Society’s web site includes this article written in 2005 by Warren M. Hulburt, former Chief Warrant Officer of the United States Coast Guard.

After over 35 years of service, Lifeboat 36498 is retired here.

image                                                      pic of photo inside museum


This 36-ft. mid-engine, self-righting, and self-bailing lifeboat


is an example of the 3 crew life-saving vessels used to rescue shipwrecked boats off the coast.

Check-out the links below, courtesy of the Cape Blanco Heritage Society, to find out about these shipwreck rescues:

SS Phyllis, March 9, 1936

SS Cottoneva, February 9, 1937

SS Willapa, December 3, 1941

And the Japanese submarine attack during WWII

Finally, I leave you with this Jeopardy factoid…

The predecessor of the U. S. Coast Guard (1915) is the U. S. Life-Saving Service (1848).

One thought on ““You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back…”

  1. Pingback: Home for the Next 6 Weeks, Part 2 | wandering gypsy Laurel

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