The Manitou Passage represented for seamen an opportunity to save time and replenish supplies, but it also had a darker side in which numerous schooners and steamers were caught in storms and fog and were run aground or sunk.
The tremendous traffic through the Passage required a life-saving service to aid ships and their crews. In 1901, Congress appropriated the money to build a Life-Saving Station at Sleeping Bear Point. By 1931, moving sand dunes and shoreline erosion forced the station to move to its current location near Glen Haven.
Today, the Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station is owned and operated by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The buildings have been restored to their pre-1931 appearance and are open to visitors.