Breeching Buoy Drill
Before there was the Coast Guard there was the United States Lifesaving Service . This service had stations located approximately five miles apart up and down the Eastern Coast of the United States. If the shipwreck was close enough to shore , a system consisting of a small cannon like gun (The Lyle gun) was used to get a line to the ship. The sailors had to pull the shot line connected to the projectile until a heavier line reached them.......Instructions were written in two languages (English and French) on the Tally Board sent along with the hawser line giving instructions on how to secure the lines . After attaching a line to the mast of their ship, sailors were retrieved one by one by the station crew manning the ropes. In conjunction with the 100 year anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard, The Ocean City Life Saving Museum has arranged for a demonstration of how rescues were done using this method. Set up was done at the Ocean City Inlet beach. Assisted by the Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum (Delaware State Parks) , Ocean City Coast Guard, and the Town of Ocean City, a "Wreck Pole" was planted on the beach by Delmarva Power. The projectile was fired over the pole (successfully at practice!) and then Coast Guard personnel tied the ropes to the mast and were "rescued." Way more complicated than I make it sound!!!! If you dig history like I do this was awesome to see! Back in the day drills were done twice a week to keep efficiency at its peak. I have given descriptions on each image where necessary. Many thanks to Nancy Howard for getting this done! Cutting through the red tape necessary to fire an explosive device on the beach was not an easy process.
The re-enactment/demonstration program was Saturday June 20 at 10 am. Photos from the 20 th program are also in the gallery now.