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Massachusetts was the birthplace of aides to mariners in the United States. With the creation of the federal Revenue Cutter Service (1790) and the volunteer Massachusetts Humane Society (1796 ), the nation’s system of providing assistance to mariners, as well as their vessels and cargo, was well under way in the late 18th century. Five federal agencies ultimately were unified to create the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915. With distinct but complimentary duties, these agencies, each of which came to full maturity in the mid-19th century, were the Revenue Cutter Service, the Lighthouse Service, the Steamboat Inspection Service, the Bureau of Navigation, and the Life-Saving Service. To explore further resources about the history of organized lifesaving, visit our links.

Joshua James

Massachusetts Humane Society

MHS Surfboat Nantasket

United States Lifesaving Service

The Great Storm of 1888
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