Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ship ashore! The role of risk in the development of the United States Life-Saving Service and its effects on wrecking patterns along the North Carolina coast
by Marano, Joshua Lynn, M.A., East Carolina University, 2012, 211; 1532382
Abstract (Summary)

Prior to the 1870s bloated corpses, splintered masts, and floating cargoes often littered the isolated beaches of the Eastern United States, becoming a tragic but nearly ubiquitous sight. For those in peril upon the seas, the icy grip of death often consumed sailors with little hope of rescue. For centuries, the shifting sands of the North Carolina Outer Banks claimed hundreds of vessels, earning its nickname "the Graveyard of the Atlantic." It was on these narrow strands of barrier islands that, between 1874 and 1915, the United States Life Saving Service (USLSS) established twenty-nine stations along the North Carolina shoreline, becoming a major component of the area's cultural landscape. This thesis examines the development of the USLSS on the North Carolina coast and will specifically focus on the role of risk management and the Service's overall effect on wrecking patterns.

This thesis utilizes two distinct theoretical approaches regarding the study of risk and its affect on society, Anthony Giddens's Theory of Structuration and Stephen Crook's risk management strategies. Through the utilization of these two theoretical frameworks, one can examine the element of risk as a measurable entity that commanded considerable importance in the development of the USLSS and the subsequent effects on local wrecking patterns. Through the use of statistical and geospatial analysis, this thesis identifies quantifiable measures of risk in the operations of the USLSS and gauges the effects of risk on local wrecking patterns within a fifteen-mile radius of Oregon Inlet, NC.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Richards, Nathan
Commitee: Oakley, Christopher, Rodgers, Bradley, Wilde-Ramsing, Mark
School: East Carolina University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: MAI 51/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, American history, Sociology
Keywords: Coast Guard, Giddens, Life-saving, North Carolina, Risk, Wreck
Publication Number: 1532382
ISBN: 978-1-267-87552-5
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