44ft Motor Lifeboats

Disasters, Rescues, and the Perilous Future of the Coast Guard's Small Boat Stations

By Dennis L. Noble
Hardcover 234 pages (March 2000)
ISBN 1574882007

Paperback - 248 pages (April 2001)
ISBN 1574883364

Brassey's, Inc.
22841 Quicksilver Dr.
Dulles, VA 20166
Book Description (from inside cover)

Lifeboat Sailors is the first book on the distinguished past, hazardous present, and uncertain future of the U.S. Coast Guard's small boat stations, whose roots extend back nearly 200 years.

America's smallest federal armed force, the Coast Guard has earned it's fame from dangerous rescues at sea. At the cutting edge of its humanitarian mission are the small boat stations scattered along the country's coasts and major waterways. In a typical year, the Coast Guard's powerful motorized lifeboats and other small vessels respond to over 37,000 calls for assistance. They save more than 4,000 people in imminent danger. But despite the fact that the small boat stations are the very symbol of rescue upon the water, the public knows little about what takes place in them and even less about the dedicated professionals who put their own lives at risk to save others every day.

A retired Coast Guardsmann, Dennis Noble traveled from unit to unit capturing the stories of their brave crews, riding the waves with the lifeboat sailors who came to accept him as one of their own. He has chronicled their intensive training and compares today's personnel, policies, and equipment with that of the pasts. He reports on thrilling maritime rescues and disasters, including the tragic deaths of three Coast Guardsmen who set out on a rescue mission from a station he was visiting - deaths that he believes were unnecessary. He describes a vital service performed by everyday heroes but heroes who are, he believes, severely hampered and even endangered by a remote, uncomprehending, and often uncaring headquarters. Lifeboat Sailors bears witness to the courage of a unique breed of seaman, and it sounds an alarm for the rescue of a cherished American institution.

The Author

Dennis L. Noble is a retired Coast guard senior chief with a doctorate in history from Purdue University. He is the author of six books, including That Others Might Live: The U.S. Life-Saving Service, 1878-1914. He lives in Sequim, Washington.

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