• Atlantic Ocean beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

    Cape Cod

    National Seashore Massachusetts

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  • Access at seashore locations

    Sections of the boardwalk at the Red Maple Swamp Trail have been closed due to structural deterioration and safety concerns. Check at Salt Pond Visitor Center for the current status of this trail, and for your safety, remain out of closed areas.

Old Harbor Life-Saving Station

Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, Race Point, Provincetown

Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, off Race Point, Provincetown

Old Harbor Life-Saving Station was built in Chatham in 1897. The station was operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, and its precurser the U.S. Life-Saving Service, until it was decommissioned in July 1944. The building was later obtained by the National Park Service, and in November 1977, it was moved by barge to Provincetown. In summer, breeches buoy rescue re-enactments are conducted on the grounds on Thursday evenings.

A Guide to Old Harbor Life-Saving Station
history and station use

An Introduction to the United States Life-Saving Service
(.wmv file, 4:20 minutes)

Life and Service of a Surfman
(.wmv file, 3:39 minutes)

Old Harbor Life-Saving Station Historic Structure Report

Did You Know?

directional compass

Coastal waters were the original highways of the Cape. Today’s common but puzzling terms “Lower Cape” and “Upper Cape” (referring to the northern and southern areas of Cape Cod) originated with sailors. Southwesterly winds meant ships heading north were sailing "down-wind" to the Lower Cape.