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Port Orford Lifeboat Station

Ship owners and sailors had long wanted a life-saving station on the southern Oregon coast where the dangerous currents and high winds drove their boats onto the rocky shore.

Commissioned on July 1, 1934, the Port Orford station was unique in its layout. The crew quarters, officer's cottage and garages were located on the Port Orford Heads, a rocky outcropping almost 300 feet above the ocean, and the boathouse was located in a cove below the Heads, connected to the main station by a staircase of over 530 steps. The "Coasties" carried fuel for the motor lifeboats in five-gallon jerry cans down the steps - difficult under the best conditions, near impossible in a strong Pacific storm.

The station served the coast until its closure in 1970. During its 36 years of operation, it performed numerous rescues, including three major shipwrecks and casualties of Japanese submarine attacks in World War II. From 1970 to 1976, the station was used as a maritime research facility and finally turned over the Oregon State Parks Department.

Restored as a museum, displays include a Lyle gun, shipwreck artifacts, a 36-foot motor lifeboat, photographs and other memorabilia. Visitors can also experience lifting two full jerry cans, and are invited to participate in the annual Jerry Can Race. Visit their website for more information.

• Port of Port Orford
• Port Orford Heads
• Port Orford Lifeboat Station
• Cape Blanco State Park
• Cape Blanco Lighthouse
• Historic Hughes House
• Humbug Mountain State Park

More info & photos at

Port Orford Lifeboat Station

Day trips
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and we invite our guests to honor and protect
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