This rather unusual and dramatic 1909 photo shows four surfmen from the Stone Harbor Life Saving Station practicing firing their special line-throwing Lyle gun for life-saving rescues on the beach. Believe it or not, this important piece of life-saving equipment provided a shore-based rescue operation and consisted of the use of a small 200-pound, short barreled cannon firing a projectile attached to a rope out to a stranded boat or to a victim in distress within 700-800 yards off the shore. This was considered very hazardous work and a surfman’s daily routine consisted of practice drills in firing the gun. The rope when fired and placed accurately could then be used to pull victims safely to the shore. Should victims be beyond the range of the Lyle gun, then the surfmen would need to rescue victims by rowing their life-saving boats through the surf to reach those in need.
In closing, did you happen to notice the distinctive and original 1909 town water tower in the distant background on the far right side of this photo?
This particular image comes from the Stone Harbor Museum archives.