great-lakes-surfmen-presentation

Historic Beach Patrol Programs in the Sleeping Bear Dunes

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore sent this over:

Fall was traditionally “shipwreck season” on the Great Lakes, and before radio communications were used at sea, ships could not call for help. Spotting a vessel in distress from the shore was the only way rescue crews knew that their assistance was needed. Therefore, 100 years ago beach patrol was an essential duty of a U.S. Life-Saving Service (LSS) surfman, who set out each night to hike the shoreline in search of ships in distress.

You have a chance to experience a little of what that was like on Saturday, October 8 and/or October 15 as you join Park Rangers to recreate a traditional evening beach patrol. Dress for the weather and meet at the Sleeping Bear Point Life-Saving Service Station/Maritime Museum in Glen Haven at 7:30 p.m.

You’ll hear an in-depth explanation of the patrol process and some local shipwreck stories inside the station, then join National Park Service Ranger for a lantern-lit hike along the beach. There are always a few surprises along the way and everyone should carry a flashlight for safety. Wind and rain will only make the patrol more authentic, so be ready for any weather!

Unlike the original surfmen, hikers may turn back at any time during the one-hour, one mile roundtrip beach walk and return to the Maritime Museum where they will be welcomed by a volunteer and find shelter.

The entire program lasts about two hours. For more information, you can call the National Lakeshore at 231-326-5134, visit their website at www.nps.gov/slbe and join them on Facebook.

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