National Register of Historic Places in Curry County
An interpretive plaque reads:Bravery and well crafted boats saved lives on the high seas
The crew of motor lifeboat 36498 risked an icy grave to save drowning sailors in dangerous seas. A tough boat and courageous crews saved hundreds of people in some of the worst sea conditions in the world. These wooden boats exceeded all expectations - only one was ever lost to Mother Nature's fury.
The red distress flare glowed brightly the evening of December 3, 1941. The ss Willapa was losing her battle with a powerful Pacific storm. Bravely, an eight-man crew from Port Orford Lifeboat Station put out to sea to save all 24 sailors on board. This is just one example of the many rescues undertaken over the years.
The "surfmen" on these boats were a special breed. When most sailors were seeking refuge in the face of dangerous weather, these men were heading out into the storm, earning the name "storm warriors."
In 1981, after serving the dangerous waters of the southern Oregon coast for over 35 years, 36498 was pulled out of the water for the last time.