On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occurred, there was once a crude little lifeboat station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea and, with no thought for themselves, went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost.
Some of those who had been saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time, money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little lifeboat station grew.
Some members of the lifeboat station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency hammocks with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifeboat station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a sort of club. Fewer members were now interested in going out on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. Lifesaving pictures and mementos still decorated the club’s walls and there was a lifeboat model in the room where official club meetings were held.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where shipwreck victims could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities, since they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted that lifesaving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifeboat station. But they were finally outvoted, and told that, if they wanted to save the lives of all types of people who might be shipwrecked, they could begin their own lifeboat station down the coast. They did.
As the years went by, similar changes took place in the new station as well. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifeboat station was founded. History continued to repeat itself and on that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the coastline. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.