Military Records

Logbooks of the US Life-Saving Service

In 1878, the Department of the Treasury established the US Life-Saving Service, charged by Congress to render assistance to sailors, passengers, and cargo of distressed vessels off the shores of the United States. Logbooks for Life-Saving Stations are comprised of chronological entries and include basic weather data, information about personnel, patrols, and reports of assistance rendered and wreck reports. The bulk of our holdings of Logbooks of US Life-Saving Stations 1874-1941 are located in our Regional Archives based on geographic location of the station (e.g. Life-Saving Stations located in the New England states are maintained in our Boston Region Archives in Waltham, Massachusetts.) Link to regional facilities here Our database of Life-Saving Station logs (RG 26 (NC 31) Entry 245) illustrates our holdings and where the records are located (link coming soon).

In addition to these logbooks, the National Archives has the Lifeboat Station Log Transcripts 1876-1883 (RG 26 (UD) Entry 245A) which includes much of the same information (link forthcoming). The "Transcripts" are located at the National Archives Building in Washington DC within the Archives I Textual Reference Division, except for records of Life-Saving Stations located geographically from Delaware to Virginia, which are available through our Regional Archives at Philadelphia.

In 1915 the Life-Saving Service merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to create today's US Coast Guard. Logs of Lifeboat Stations under the authority of the US Coast Guard may be found in the following series:

Logs of Life-saving Stations 1873-1945
Entry (NC-31) 245
Records are located in our regional facilities

Logs of Journals Related to Misc. Ships and Stations 1886 - 1947
Entry (UD) 31, National Archives Identifier 478388

US Coast Guard Log Books 1942-47
Entries (NC-31) 159 D-I, National Archives Identifier 587169
Series are arranged by year, and thereunder by type of vessel/station: 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947 (lists forthcoming).

Logs Of USCG Ships And Shore Installations, 1948-1972
Entries (A-1) 330A - Z, National Archives Identifier 559642
List forthcoming.

Logs of lifeboat stations after 1972 may also be found with the rest of USCG Vessel and Station logs, in our Regional Archives.

Additional important records relating to the Life-Saving Service

Wreck Reports from Stations 1883-1920
Entry (NC-31) 241B
Located in our Regional Archives.

Several series of Letters Sent, Letters Received, and General Correspondence Subject Files, all located in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

Articles of Engagement for Surfmen 1878-1914
Entry (NC - 31) 260, National Archives Identifier 2217651
Located in the National Archives Building in Washington DC.

Inquiries regarding the records may be directed to archives1reference@nara.gov, or write to:

National Archives
Archives 1 Reference Section
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408-0001.

For more information on the US Life-Saving Service see the website of the US Coast Guard Historian.

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