The History of the OBX Life-Saving Service

By on June 9, 2024

The Banan. (Courtesy of The Chicamacomico Historical Association)

By Jen Carlson

This year, 2024, marks the 150th Anniversary of the US Life-Saving Service on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first seven life-saving stations in North Carolina were on a very remote and inaccessible barrier island chain that are today’s easily accessible Dare and Currituck County.

The Chicamacomico Historical Association is providing a weekly series of articles about rescues and other significant events in the Service’s history on the Outer Banks and we will be publishing them on the Voice.

Admirable Actions

On Jan. 17, 1891, a Norwegian steamship, Banan, stranded on the beach about two miles south of the Currituck Lighthouse. The steamship had been full speed astern for a couple of minutes before landing as the crew tried to keep her from striking land, but the foggy conditions and rough waters prevented their success.

After continuing to try for about another half hour to reverse the vessel, Captain Hansen realized it would be to no avail to continue to work to free the vessel as the weather continued to deteriorate so five flares were fired signaling assistance was needed. Within 30 minutes of the final flare, the fog lifted just enough for the sailors to see a surf boat on shore preparing to launch.

Shortly after, Keeper Andrew Scarborough and the crew from the Whales Head Lifesaving Station (originally known as Jones Hill) came alongside the steamship. Carefully, Captain Hansen’s wife and several sailors were transferred to the surf boat to be taken to shore. About an hour later, the Whales Head crew returned to transport the final sailors who wished to leave the vessel to shore. Several chose to stay onboard to ride out the weather.

The following day, the surf boat made multiple trips to transport those who had come to shore back to the steamship. It was reported to Captain Hansen by those who had left the vessel they were treated with the utmost kindness and respect. As his way of saying thanks, he wrote a letter to the General Superintendent’s office sharing the events of that foggy day and commending the Whales Head crew for their admirable work in handling the surf boat for multiple trips in the rough waters. He also expressed his gratitude for how his wife and crew were treated when out of his care.

All in a Day’s Work

Sometimes it’s about going the extra mile. During a storm on Sept. 9, 1888, a small sloop broke from her moorings, capsized and sank. The following day, the Caffey’s Inlet Life-Saving Station crew successfully raised her so her master could make repairs.

To learn more visit Chicamacomico Historical Association.

SEE MORE FROM THIS SERIES: The History of the OBX Life-Saving Service

The History of the Outer Banks Life-Saving Service

The History of the OBX Life-Saving Service

Honoring the Outer Banks Life-Saving Service

Honoring the Outer Banks’ Life-Saving Service



Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: RooÔ¨Āng

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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