Coast Guard Station Grand Haven History

The history of the Coast Guard in Grand Haven dates back to at least 1876 when the Eleventh District of the U.S. Life Saving Service (USLSS) established its headquarters in town. On May 1, 1877, the USLSS opened the first station on the north side of the Grand River. The first station had assigned to it one six-ton self-bailing, self-righting lifeboat, one six-man surfboat, and a life car.

Following the reorganization of the USLSS and the Revenue Cutter Service into the Coast Guard in 1915, Grand Haven became headquarters for the Tenth Coast Guard District. Grand Haven's second station was built just west of the old station. It opened its doors on December 22, 1922 and at this time Grand Haven had its first power boat.

With the reorganization of 1939, Cleveland succeeded Grand haven as headquarters of the Ninth Coast Guard District, but Grand Haven remained an important location with a Coast Guard station, a lighthouse, and the cutter ESCANABA, which exploded and sank on June 13, 1943 while on convoy duty in the North Atlantic. All but two men of the 103 man crew died that day.

The third, and present day station, is located on the south side of the Grand River along Government Road. This location is further upriver from the previous two stations. It opened its doors on June 5, 1989. On April 28, 1991, William Dale Kozlowski, a seaman of Station Grand Haven, was fatally injured by the propeller of the station's 22 foot small boat after being tossed from the station canoe during a collision with the small boat, 50 feet from the dock. A second crewmember aboard the canoe received minor head injuries.