He considered the Outer Banks to be a fishing paradise, a peaceful respite from rigors of the business world. Only true love could have made our grandmother, Veronica, travel with him to what she initially considered to be a godforsaken, mosquito-laden place. She was none too enamored with her beloved on the day they arrived, too late to catch the last ferry back home across the Oregon Inlet where the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge now spans. This meant spending the night on the island to wait for the next ferry in the morning. Grandmother came to love the island and could fry a freshly caught speckled trout or flounder that would rival any chef.
I have fond childhood memories of spending summers on the Outer Banks swimming, seashell hunting, fishing every day with both of my grandfathers, climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, building boats out of scrap wood, watching the high winds and waves during hurricanes and sitting on the front porch of Grandmother and Granddad’s Coast Guard House eating ice cream as the sun set over the Pamlico Sound. What I did not realize is that years later, in 1987, I would come back to the Coast Guard House in Salvo to start the Hatteras Watersports business, would eventually meet my wife, Kathy, and that we would choose to raise our family here. Our family sits on the very same front porch that I did as a child and enjoys the Hatteras Island heavenly breeze and views. We are happy to be a part of this community and enjoy the lifestyle the island has to offer. We are grateful for Granddad’s adventurous spirit that brought him, and us, to Hatteras Island, the place we now call home.
Pea Island Life-Saving Station
A Piece of Outers Banks & American History
We operate Hatteras Watersports from the Pamlico Sound waterfront property of our home, the historic Pea Island United States Life-Saving Station #17. Granddad Harvey purchased the station in 1967.
Richard Etheridge made American history on January 24, 1880, when he became the first African American to be appointed to the position of Captain (a.k.a. Keeper) of a U.S Life-Saving Service Station. He served for more than 20 years as the Pea Island Station Keeper of an all African American crew (a.k.a. surfmen) until his death on May 8, 1900.
Captain Etheridge was aware of the historical significance of his appointment and knew they would be closely monitored and held to a higher standard. He designed and implemented rigorous training drills to ensure his crew’s readiness to rescue the lost at sea in all types of weather conditions. They saved many lives during his tenure as captain. They are well known for their successful E.S. Newman rescue on October 11, 1896. The schooner ran aground offshore in the Atlantic Ocean during a violent storm. The severity of the storm made it impossible to launch the lifeboat, so Captain Etheridge and his well-trained crew traversed the treacherous ocean waves and currents to rescue the captain of the E.S. Newman, his wife and daughter, and the entire crew…one by one. The United States Coast Guard recently posthumously awarded Captain Etheridge and his crew the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their heroism.
We are committed to continuing the Hatteras Watersports tradition of providing vacationers with top-of-the line equipment, Southern hospitality, incredible waterfront views of the Pamlico Sound and an opportunity to see the Pea Island U.S. Life-Saving Station where Outer Banks and American history was made. We hope to make your visit with us one you will remember fondly and look forward to seeing you!