In 1883 the Muskeget Life Saving Station was established. Muskeget Island, located off Nantucket’s western end, is a tiny island situated in the middle of some of Nantucket Sound’s trickiest shoals. Life Saving Stations, a precursor to the U.S. Coast Guard, were located in coastal communities all over Massachusetts, including one on Tuckernuck Island, and several on Nantucket Island. The stations were manned 24 hours a day by a crew who watched for ships in distress. As many as 250 ships a day passed Nantucket and a succession of several particularly deadly wrecks in the 1830s spurred islanders to create “Humane Houses” and later manned Life Saving Stations.
With each wreck, those on duty at a Life Saving Station attempted to rescue the crew, either from the beach or by rowing small boats out to the distressed ship. The Muskeget Life Saving Station burned down in 1889, re-opened in 1896 and closed for good in 1928.
Excerpted from On This Day In Nantucket History
By Amy Jenness
The History Press
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