In honor of former Lieutenant Herbert Collins, the boathouse was opened and dedicated in his name in October 2010. Born in 1921 on Roanoke Island, Lieutenant Collins is often referred to as the last Keeper of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station. His career at the station spanned from 1940 – 1947 but he remained in the U.S. Coast Guard for 34 years serving at numerous sea and shore assignments after leaving that station. The boathouse contains a Monomoy type Surfboat on loan to the Pea Island Cookhouse Museum by the National Park Service. It is a representation of the same type of Surfboat that would have been used by Lieutenant Collins and the many other African American men who bravely and honorably served at the Pea Island Lifesaving Station for over sixty years.
Lieutenant Collins is a member of a local Roanoke Island African American family that has over 400 years of continuous service in the U.S. Life-Saving Service /U.S. Coast Guard, one of the longest records in Coast Guard history. A family tradition with a long-lasting contribution to local history and the history of the United States. The Herbert M. Collins Boathouse is a part of the Collins Park project, joining the Pea Island Cookhouse Museum and the Richard Etheridge statue. Enjoy a first-hand experience with history at the Herbert M. Collins Boathouse, located adjacent to the Pea Island Cookhouse at 622 Sir Walter Raleigh Street, a few blocks opposite downtown Manteo.