The government also established a station on the island in the late 1880s and seven or eight men were on call, patrolling the cliffs and beaches along the west and south shores. Each man carried signals whose bright red glare warned mariners or alerted ships in trouble that help was coming.

Mystery Island

There was friendly competition between the two lifesaving groups, which compelled the Humane Society members to head out to the sinking Aquatic despite the lighthouse keeper’s entreaties for the Humane Society’s crew to wait for assistance from the government crew.

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Susan Dewey is the associate publisher and editor of Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART. She lives in Centerville on Cape Cod and enjoys gardening, sailing, walking on the beach, gallery hopping, cooking with fresh seafood, and exploring Cape Cod and the Islands from shore to shore.

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