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Underwater Archaeology Kids' Corner

Lighthouses and Lifesaving

Photo of lighthouse at Wind Point,
near Racine, by: Jon C. Bolton for
Wisconsin Department of Tourism
Wisconsin's Great Lakes Lighthouses

The U.S. Lighthouse and U.S. Lifesaving Services (now combined as the U.S. Coast Guard) existed to protect the ships and sailors on the Great Lakes. Lighthouses mark specific points of land, entrances to harbors, or dangerous shallow areas or rocks. At night, a bright revolving light atop the tower shows sailors where they are sailing. Today nearly fifty lighthouses are found along the Wisconsin Great Lakes shores. 

Although lighthouses prevented some accidents, the government realized it needed to provide men and lifesaving equipment to help rescue sailors when shipwrecks did occur. The lifesaving stations had highly trained crews to watch for and rescue shipwrecks and sailors. Lifesaving crews were very brave, made many daring rescues, and worked at great risk to their own personal safety. Today, the U.S. Coast Guard patrols the Great Lakes, ready to help in an emergency. Lighthouses still light up the night, showing sailors the safe way into port.


Read about the tale of the Lucerne shipwreck

Door County has more lighthouses than any other county in the United States, and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore has more than any other national park.

A lifesaving crew at work near Two Rivers. Notice the wrecked Francis Hinton in the background. Wisconsin Maritime Museum, P81-30-7, Francis Hinton


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