Saturday, November 29, 2014


29 November 2014: Ok - this is not what I had planned on for the next posting, but given that yesterday was "Black Friday," today is "Small Business Saturday," and Monday is "Cyber Monday," I could not resist this one. Way too timely! If I heard it once on the television or radio, I must have heard it a hundred times: "beat the rush."

And through a twitter post from the U.S. Coast Guard, I learned where the expression originated, thought it worth sharing because this is, after all, a maritime blog and the origins of "beat the rush" are maritime! Curious yet? OK, then, here you go:

In the mid and late 19th century, the prime export from the state of Alaska was seal furs, especially the fur of baby seals. Apparently when they are born and for several months, the fur is pure white and very soft. Also very desirable. The sealers were limited in their catch and were taxed on the pelts they brought in. They were also fined - heavily - for exceeding the limit or hunting "out of season." These taxes and fines were the primary source of revenue from Alaska and were used to defray the $7 million cost of the territory paid by the federal government. This of course, was before gold and oil were discovered up there.

Rush in Sitka AK 1901

In an effort to enforce the law, the forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Revenue Service, sent two ice-capable vessels to Alaskan waters exclusively to check the sealers and collect the fines for over hunting or out of season hunting. The two ships were the Bear and the Rush.

 Revenue Cutter Rush
Revenue Cutter Bear   

And now, you're probably ahead of me. But I am sure you got it! The sealers, in an effort to avoid the limits, the fines, and the long arm of the law, would get to the sealing grounds early, collect as many baby seals as they could carry, and beat it out of the area before the cutters arrived. It was called, eventually, "beating the Rush." 

So now you know where that oft-repeated expression originated!

                               "Live is uncertain; eat dessert first!" words to live by

                                                               Fair Winds.
                                                                  Old Salt


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