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Upcoming Events

Seaside Holiday Fair, December 11-12, 10 a.m.

Holiday Craft Workshops for Adults, December 11-12.

Holiday Gift-Making Workshops for Children Ages 7-12

Maritime Artisans Speaker Series, Sept. 9-Dec. 16.

Upcoming Races

Crash-Bobs, January 29.

Snow Row, March 5.

Race Results

Race Results--The Icebreaker

Race Results--Head of the Weir

Race Results
Head of the Quinnipiac,
hosted by the Sound School, New Haven, CT

The Massachusetts Humane Society

The Massachusetts Humane Society, modeled on Britain’s Royal Humane Society, was established by an act of Congress in 1796. The Massachusetts Humane Society was an all-volunteer, purely humanitarian organization; all early efforts were directed at saving lives rather than ships or cargo. Initially funded entirely by private donations from Boston physicians and shipping merchants, the Humane Society began by erecting Huts of Refuge, equipped with blankets, firewood, and food rations, along treacherous Massachusetts shorelines. The first three huts were positioned in Scituate, Hull, and Lovells Island (adjacent to “the Narrows” through which all shipping passed prior to 1902) after 13 people froze to death on Lovells in the early 1800’s after surviving a shipwreck. The Huts were positioned in locations that allowed shipwreck victims who had made their way to shore to aide in their own salvation and avoid dying of exposure.

Eager to expand its service to shipwreck victims, the Humane Society built its first lifeboat station, [photo] in Cohasset, Massachusetts, in 1807, equipping it with a 30-foot, cork-lined lifeboat. Thirty-four yea rs later, in 1841, the MHS had expanded to include 81 stations with 18 boats along the coastline. [image] The service endeavored to locate huts and lifeboat stations at the most treacherous locations, and painted the huts bright red, in hopes of their being readily seen by survivors. While the preponderance of Humane surfmen were of European descent, the crews reflected their communities, and, for example, the Martha's Vineyard Gay Head crew [photo] was composed entirely of Wompanoag men.

The Great Storm of 1888
It was common practice for Humane Society crews from neighboring towns to band together to effect rescues in the worst storms. One of the most formidable storms on record, the great storm of November 25-26 1888, [story]involved crews from Hull, Scituate, and Cohasset working tirelessly for over 36 hours to save crews from six vessels off the coast of Hull and Cohasset. Local citizens compared the storm to the blow that had toppled th e original Minot's Light [image] nearly 50 years earlier. Through the extraordinary work of the local volunteer lifesavers, 29 lives were saved.

The Surfboat Nantasket
Perhaps the event of greatest lasting significance resulting from the infamous November 1888 storm was the launch of the surfboat Nantasket, which, for the next 41 years defined the capabilities of lifesaving in the United States. Joshua James and his brother Samuel designed Nantasket (the most renowned lifeboat in America) [image] specifically for the storm water s off Hull’s Nantasket B each. Radically shaped, much l arger than the other MHS surfboats of its day, with a bluff bow and disappearing stern - - for beating out against waves and surfing home safely -- Nantasket is credited with saving 17 men i n one rescue alone, three miles off shore in 1889. In 1909, a Massachusetts Humane Society document liste d the Nantasket as the “largest and finest in the Society’s fleet.” In 1935, after a storm drove her through the wall of the Coast Guard’s original Windmill Point boathouse, the Chief retired her to the Mariners Museum in Newport News, where she remained until being returned to Hull, [image] and the Lifesaving Museum, in 1985.

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