The coast was a dangerous place for ships, with sand bars, shoals, and rip currents to contend with. But there were plenty of profits to be made here, which turned this area into a watery highway — and watery grave.
Thirteen lifesaving stations were erected between 1872 and 1903, the Old Harbor Lifesaving Station (circa 1898) in Provincetown being the last to survive time and tides — though it almost fell to both. It was moved from Chatham to its current location in 1977. Had it stayed put, it would have been demolished by a powerful storm a year later.
Each station was manned with seven or eight crew who trained day and night, winter and summer, for the many offshore rescues they were called upon to perform.
The museum contains original gear. The best part is the lifesaving reenactment, accurate down to details in technique and costume. It’s held during the summer months on Thursdays at 6pm.