Historic Munising Coast Guard Station,
Sand Point, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Historic 36 Foot Motor Life Boat

The historic 36' Motor Lifeboat, Grand Marais - # 36528, is on display in the boathouse at the former Munising Coast Guard Station on Sand Point in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This boat was originally stationed at the Coast Guard Station in Grand Marias, MI at the eastern entrance to the Pictured Rocks and was built sometime between 1937 and 1956 in Curtis Bay, Maryland. This boat is similar to the Munising that was stationed here at the Munising Coast Guard Station.

The boathouse is open for visitors from May through October so you can see the self-bailing, self-righting, and practically unsinkable 36' motor lifeboat that was designed for the sole purpose of saving lives.

The lifeboat carried a crew of 3-5 men who rode in the forward hatch. The station had four boats: the 36' lifeboat, a motor surfboat, a surfboat, and a skiff.

 

The boathouse also houses the station equipment cart consisting of a Lyle Gun, used to shoot a line to a ship in distress, a breeches buoy, as well as heaver ropes and equipment that might be needed for a rescue. This cart could be pulled along the beach to the wreck site by the crew.

The beach was patrolled by the crew who watched for vessels in trouble and launched the lifeboat on the tracks in front of the boathouse using the winch located in front of the boat. Sand Point is well named as you can see all the sand that has drifted in front of the boathouse.

The Munising Coast Guard Station was activated in 1933 and decommissioned in 1960 with the main building presently used as the headquarters for the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Future plans call for the Park Headquarters to move to the Munising Front Range Light Station and the Coast Guard building to be restored and interpreted to the 1940's era.

Directions: Take H-58 east at the blinking light and go to Washington Street. Turn north and continue past the hospital where this road becomes Sand Point Road. You will find the boathouse on the left side of the road, just before you reach the headquarters building. There is an interpretive brochure in the little box by the driveway to the boathouse.

On your way to the historic boathouse, you will pass Sand Point Beach, one of the top five beaches in America according to the Weather Channel.

You might like to stop for a bit on this sandy beach or go to the end of the road and take a short walk on the Sand Point Marsh Trail . . . . A very beautiful walk along the lakeshore. Sand Point Beach is a wonderful spot to watch the evening sunsets.

 

 

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Map of Western side of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Attractions and Recreation in the Munising Area

Upper Peninsula Lighthouses

 

Photographs: Mary Deloria

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