If you guessed this rope was a critical tool used by volunteer lifesavers in shore-based rescue operations, you are correct!
The Highland House Museum’s Shipwreck Room tells the stories of famous shipwrecks, the volunteers that manned the boats and cannon, and exhibits the lifesaving equipment used on the missions.
In the 300 years of U.S. documented maritime history, there were more than 3,000 shipwrecks off the coast of Cape Cod, with many of the wrecks occurring between Chatham and Provincetown.
Before the United States Lifesaving Service was established in 1848, Truro supported an all-volunteer lifesaving team, employing dangerous and heroic efforts to save the lives of sailors stranded on wrecks.
Lifesavers called to the stormy shore would attach a heavy iron projectile to the rope. The rope and projectile would be placed in a Lyle Gun (a small cannon) and fired to the ship.
Once the line was tied to the ship, a breeches bouy was attached to the line to bring the sailors one-by-one to shore.
For more information on lifesaving on Cape Cod, please check out this site: Lifesavers – Cape Cod National Seashore
National Park Service