Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lifeboat Man

In the mid-1800s the term "Lifeboat Man" (a sailor qualified to take charge of a lifeboat or life raft) was introduced into our vocabulary by the United States Life-Saving Service. Below is a photo of Ocracoke native George O'Neal's (1890-1968) "Certificate of Efficiency to Lifeboat Man."

Image courtesy Chester Lynn

The certificate reads, "This is to certify that George F. O'Neal having proved to the satisfaction of the undersigned officer, designated by the Secretary of Commerce, that he has been trained in all the operations connected with launching lifeboats and the use of oars; that he is acquainted with the practical handling of the boats themselves; and, further, that he is capable of understanding and answering the orders relative to lifeboat service, is hereby rated an efficient Lifeboat Man."

The certificate was issued October 27, 1916 in the port of Wilmington, Delaware.  

During the first half of the 20th century most young Ocracoke men moved to the northeast to work on dredges and tugboats on the Delaware River. Hence the certificate was issued in that state. 

Current information re. US Coast Guard requirements for Lifeboat Man is available here.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Water Tank Caper. This is the link:  

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