Before the USCG became what it is today most rescuing was done by lifeboat services. Now we're harkening back to days of breeches buoys and the venerable Monomoy surf/lifeboat. Another words, if you came a cropper upon the beach, rocks, or a nearby reef we'd do all we could to rescue you. but if you succumbed to the forces of the sea out of sight of land well you were pretty much on your own. A hazardous business that going to sea. Perhaps the rise of the recreational boating industry can be seen to parallel the rise in capabilities of the USCG. The sea, she ain't changed.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.