Walking in the gate of the U.S. Life Saving Station 30, I instantly felt connected to it. And it wasn’t because of the beautiful, yellow exterior.
I’ve always had a love of all things Sindia, possibly all things shipwrecks (including the SS Atlantus off Cape May Point’s Sunset Beach) and boats. I even own a Sindia mug from the Historical Museum and my favorite mini golf course is Sindia themed.
The Sindia’s rudder is in the grass at the Life Saving Station, aside of the front door. I don’t remember ever seeing it when it was outside of the Community Center and am too young to remember when it was still on the beach.
As I walked through the Life Saving Station, that wasn’t the only piece that I found from the Sindia. They also have her hot chocolate, tea and coffee set on loan.
I visited the Life Saving Station as part of the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey, an annual event designed for visitors to enjoy and learn about historical sites of New Jersey. The challenge is to visit 10 lighthouses, 3 Lifesaving Stations, and a museum.
Each room I walked into showed me something different.
Rain boots were perfectly placed in a closet. The typewriter was in a bedroom, looking ready to use along with binoculars and a small telescope. Canned goods were stacked perfectly in the kitchen. There is a heater that looked ready to be opened and to have coal shoveled into it, something that I never saw before but immediately recognized its use. There is a ship’s wheel near the front door.
But the back of the Life Saving Station houses an entire boat.
It wasn’t a shipwreck, and it wasn’t a boat I knew anything about, but I instantly knew it was beautiful.
The 26’ surf boat takes up almost the entire room.
“North Carolina Maritime Museum built it for us. It’s all built with modern materials to look old. This boat can go right into the water and won’t leak. The ribs were put in to give it the effect of an old boat. It’s all very traditional. There might be days when you want to row it down to 34th Street and then have a few beers sailing back. It’s an on-water exhibit,” said John Loeper, chairman of the board at U.S. Life Saving Station 30.
The Life Saving Station was a place for surfmen to live when they weren’t rescuing ships and beachgoers alike. Read more about the surfmen in our story here.