October 2016  

In this issue
USLM to present History of Nantucket Lightship and the U.S. Lightship Service at Old South Meeting House, Boston
Vineyard Lightship/LV-73:
Lightship crew remembered
Visiting the Vineyard Sound Memorial Lightship Bell
Students, tourists and historic preservation groups explore Nantucket/LV-112
The smallest surviving
U.S. lightship
Helping students develop learning skills via the USLM's
Candlepower Program
WBUR, Boston's NPR news radio station, features Nantucket/LV-112
Images from the past
Happy 300th Birthday, Boston Light!
'The Finest Hours' now on DVD
S.O.S. for SS United States
USLM membership




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Proudly made in USA


lighthouse lovers!


If you love lighthouses and want to learn about these guiding lights and navigational aids all over the world, then The Lighthouse Directory is the website for you. It provides an astounding amount of information, linking to more than 17,200 of the world's lighthouses. Russ Rowlett, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, compiled the directory with the assistance of hundreds of lighthouse fans around the world who have enriched this site with their own information and suggestions. For a long time, Rowlett tried to maintain a list of lighthouses from his many friends and contacts, but it had grown too long (and too out of date) to display on the comprehensive site. Rowlett offers special thanks to Michel Forand for his suggestions and editing, touching essentially every page of the directory, and Jeremy D'Entremont, Ted Sarah and Klaus Huelse, each contributing in vital ways.

  The Maine
Lighthouse Museum

Another unique educational resource for U.S. Lighthouse history, Lifesaving and Lightship Services is the Maine Lighthouse Museum (MLM), located in Rockland, Maine, the heart of the Midcoast. Last October, the U.S. Lightship Museum presented a PowerPoint presentation at the MLM about U.S. lightships and Nantucket/LV-112.

The mission of the Maine Lighthouse Museum is to educate the public regarding the longstanding traditions, heroism and progress of America's Lighthouse and Lifesaving Services and the U.S. Coast Guard through the conservation and interpretation of the nation's most significant collection of lighthouse and lifesaving artifacts. From sparkling lenses to heartwarming stories of the keepers and their families, the Maine Lighthouse Museum is truly America's lighthouse museum. For more information, log on to the Maine Lighthouse Museum or call 207.594.3301.  



We salute our donors


American Express
Amex Industrial Services, Inc.
Association of Public Safety Communications Officials - Atlantic Chapter

BAE Systems
Bluefin Robotics

Boston Forge & Welding Corp. 

Boston Harbor
Shipyard & Marina
The Boston Foundation
ThreeBees Fund

California Public Safety Radio Association 

  Cameron International Corporation


Charitable Adult Rides and

Services, Inc.


Claflin & Son

Nautical Antiques


Crandall Dry Dock Engineers


Capt. Robertson P. Dinsmore Fund

Donahue, Tucker &

Ciandella, PLLC 


East Boston Foundation


Eastern Bank Charitable

Egan Maritime Institute,

Nantucket Shipwreck &

Lifesaving Museum


Fitzgerald Shipyard


Foss Maritime


Friends of the

Boston Harbor Islands


H&H Propeller, Inc.


J. Hewitt Marine

Electrical Services 


Kelly Automotive Group   


H.F. Lenfest Fund


The Lightship Group, LLC


McAllister Towing &
Transportation Co.


Joe and Pepette Mongrain

National Trust for    

Historic Preservation

New England 

Lighthouse Lovers 

New London Maritime Society and Custom House Maritime Museum 


The Sail Loft, LLC, Nantucket



Industrial Marine Coatings Division
T & M Services

 Town of Oyster Bay, 

Long Island, NY

 U.S. Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association 

 West Marine    

U.S. Lighthouse Society 

 USLM Members  

Verizon Foundation


Zuni Maritime Foundation

USS Zuni / USCG Tamaroa  

 Individual Donors




USLM is a member
of the following organizations


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The flag of the United States Lighthouse Service


Teach children about lightships with the book


Editorial From School  
Library Journal 

Kindergarten-Grade 2: Lightships were anchored where lighthouses could not be built. They protected our ocean harbors as well as points along the Great Lakes. The last one ( Nantucket/LV-613 ) was decommissioned in 1983, so this fascinating picture book is a piece of nautical history. Brian Floca's watercolor drawings depict daily life aboard one of these vessels, cooking, sleeping, working, all the while rolling with the rhythm of the waves. Many hazards were involved. Big ships came too close, anchors lost their mooring, and weather caused many problems. But when the fog rolled in, the lightship sprang into action. Lights flashed and horns sounded, allowing ship traffic to make it "through fog and night, past rocks and shoals, past reefs and wrecks, past danger." The drawings are very detailed. Some pages are collages of small scenes. Many are full spreads. The sailors' facial expressions are amusing to watch, and the resident cat appears on almost every page. The front and back endpapers show a cutaway view of one of the vessels. This fascinating, little-known slice of history should prove interesting to every child who loves big boats.
-- Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI  (review originally published by Reed Business Information, Inc.) 

The book Lightship , by Brian Floca, can be purchased on Amazon.com . For more information about lightships, click on Brian Floca's blog .

For more information about the U.S. Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association and the U.S. Lightship Service, click on logo

Lead, Kindly Light
By John Henry Newman

"Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th'encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life."

Note: "Lead Kindly Light" was a poem originally written by John Henry Newman (1801-1890), who was 33 years old when he found himself on a boat from the Sicilian city of Palermo to Marseille, France. Newman, who was recovering after being dangerously ill with a fever, was on the boat to return to his native England when he penned the lyrics to "Lead, Kindly Light." The context that Newman was recovering from a frightening illness in the middle of the sea gives insight to the lyrics.


Photo above: Pigeon Point Lighthouse in California, by Darvin Atkeson


Poem posted on
LV-112 while in service on Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station

"When a sailor gets to thinking
He is one of the best
Let him ship out on a lightship
And take the acid test.
And if he feels like bragging
I don't think that all of his tales
Will be of deep sea sailing
But of the ship that never

Poem provided by Peter Brunk,
USCG-Ret., Commanding Officer,
Nantucket/LV-112, 1970-71


2016 is the 
300th anniversary year of Boston Light
To learn more about the  Boston Light Ticentennial, click on the Boston Light.
The U.S. Lightship Museum participated on the Tricentennial Committee.  

German U-boat attack off Portland, Maine, during WWII, involving
LV-112 (USS Nantucket)
It is the story of a small U.S. sub-chaser, the Eagle 56, caught in the crosshairs of a German U-boat, the  U-853, whose brazen commander doomed his own crew in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to record final kills before his country's imminent defeat a few weeks later in May. And it is the account of how one man, Paul M. Lawton, embarked on an unrelenting quest for the truth and changed naval history.
For more information, log onto: " Due to Enemy Action"

"In February of 1952, one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England, damaging an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members of the U.S. Coast Guard (Bernie Webber and three other crewmen) set out to rescue the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly sinking vessel. 'The Finest Hours' is the story of their heroic mission, which is still considered the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history." 
(Michelle McCue, 9/9/14)

Bernie Webber (later served on Nantucket/LV-112, 1958-60) and the three other crewmen were awarded the coveted USCG Gold Lifesaving Medal for their heroism in what is considered by maritime historians to be "the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history." Mr. Webber, who was a member of the USCG Lightship Sailors Association, was extremely helpful in assisting the USLM-Nantucket/LV-112 compile research information and historic documents about LV-112. He was a pleasure and honor to work with. Bernie passed away in January 2009. He was considered "A Real American Hero" and is dearly missed.

To learn more about  
lighthouse news, click on
Lighthouse Digest

Explore the oceans in depth and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with
Oceanus magazin e  
Oceanus  explores the oceans in depth, highlighting the research and researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in news, features and interviews written by magazine staff, with full-color photographs and illustrations. Each issue covers a wide spectrum of oceanography, spanning coastal research, marine life, deep-ocean exploration and the ocean's role in climate, as well as ocean technology and policy. To learn more, click on magazine cover above.

Lightships, Lighthouses & Lifeboat Stations:
A Memoir and History

Lightships, Lighthouses & Lifeboat Stations is part history book, part memoir, written by Bernie Webber, recipient of the Coast Guard's highest award, the Gold Life-saving Medal, and hero of the Disney movie The Finest Hours. While the public will recognize Webber's name from the movie and the bestselling book by the same name, few people know that during his lengthy Coast Guard career he served on lightships (ships anchored in dangerous areas to warn other vessels of hazards) in addition to lifeboat stations (small boat rescue stations) and lighthouses. Webber poses the following question: "How did the lightship men cope with the isolation, constant loneliness, boredom, fear, or just sheer terror? All were part of life on board a lightship. Rough seas tossed the ship about, rearing up and down on the anchor chain. This was a world of isolation, noise from operating machinery, and blasts from the powerful foghorn that went on for hours, sometimes days, at a time." Webber answers that question in this book, drawing on a combination of personal experience and meticulous historical research. Discussions of men going mad, lightships being run down by larger ships, anchor chains breaking, and lightships cast upon shoals are offset by humorous stories and the author's reflections on his best days at sea. Fourteen historic photos are included, as well as a foreword by Michael Tougias.(reprinted from Amazon). 

Kenrick A. Claflin & Son Nautical Antiques
Click on the website link above to see nautical artifacts available at Kenrick A. Claflin & Son Nautical Antiques, which has donated publications to the USLM.
USLM to present history of Nantucket Lightship and the U.S. Lightship Service at Old South Meeting House, Boston, Oct. 7

Nantucket New South Shoals No.1 lightship on station Credit: Century Magazine, August, 1891
On Friday, October 7, 12:15-1pm, at the historic Old South Meeting House, Robert Mannino, Jr., president of the U.S. Lightship Museum, will present the "History of the U.S. Lightship Service, 1820-1985" and share the fascinating story of Nantucket Lightship/LV-112, a National Historic Landmark and National Treasure, placing it in the colorful history of the U.S. Lightship Service.

Admission: $6 per person; tickets may be purchased at The Old South Meeting House or online at Brown Paper Tickets.

Old South Meeting House, located in downtown Boston, 310 Washington St.
History of the U.S. Lightship Service,
Part of the series titled
Beacons of Beantown: 300 Years of Boston Lights, co-presented by Old South Meeting House and Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands.

From 1820 to 1985, the U.S. government built 179 lightships, ships that functioned as "floating lighthouses," in coastal waters and on the Great Lakes, where conditions such as dangerous environmental hazards and 
conditions made construction of a lighthouse impractical.  These ships were fitted with bright and  powerful navigational light beacons atop their masts to guide maritime traffic to their ports of call. The largest lightship ever built in the U.S. was the Nantucket Lightship/LV-112. As the first landmark seen by transatlantic ships entering American waters from Europe, she earned the nickname "Statue of Liberty of the Sea." Built in 1936, Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 today is berthed in her homeport of Boston and open to the public while undergoing restoration.
Vineyard Lightship/LV-73:
Lightship crew remembered

Vineyard Lightship/LV-73, c. 1940. LV-73 was assigned to Vineyard Sound Lightship Station from 1924 through the ship's demise in 1944

The sinking of Vineyard Lightship/LV-73 (WAL-503) is a true testament to the treacherous and horrific duty of lightship service that U.S. Coast Guard sailors endured while stationed on lightships. During the hurricane of 1944, Vineyard Lightship/LV-73 was carried off station during the hurricane and sank Sept. 14, with a loss of all hands (12 of the 17 crew were on board when she went down and were lost; five were on leave). Two bodies later washed ashore and were recovered. Vineyard Lightship Station marked the north side of the western entrance to Vineyard Sound. The station was often referred to as "Sow and Pigs" because it was located off the Sow and Pigs rocks, 2.3 miles and 219 degrees from the Cuttyhunk Island Lighthouse, off the Massachusetts coast. For more information about Vineyard Lightship/LV-73's history, click here.
Vineyard Sound Memorial
Lightship Bell 
"It has often been said and agreed by most historians that lightship duty was the most dangerous duty of the U.S. Lightship Service and later U.S. Coast Guard."
-- USCG Lightship Sailors Association website

Vineyard Sound Memorial Lightship Bell, located on the waterfront of New Bedford Harbor, MA. The bronze bell on the memorial was recovered from the wreck of Vineyard Lightship/LV-73. Inscription on bell: U.S.L.H.S. 1901. The memorial commemorates the sinkings of three U.S. lightships: Cross Rip/LV-6 (1918),  Nantucket/LV-117 (1934) and Vineyard/LV-73 (1944)

Vineyard Lightship/LV-73 survivor Harold Flagg, who was on leave at time of LV-73's sinking, and another former USCG lightship sailor, Bill Colette, led the effort to create the memorial with the help of other former USCG lightship sailors, in conjunction with the USCG Lightship Sailors Association and the City of New Bedford. For more information about the Vineyard Sound Memorial Lightship Bell, click here.
Students, tourists and historic preservation groups explore

Students and their teachers from the Alighieri Montessori School in East Boston discover Nantucket/LV-112

Members of the Boston Preservation Alliance and Historic New England tour Nantucket/LV-112. At the far left is Al DiFlumeri, a former LV-112 USCG crew member who served in 1956

Visitors from Tokyo, Japan, touring Nantucket/LV-112
The smallest surviving
U.S. lightship 

Huron Lightship/LV-103 is moored in sand on the banks of the St. Clair River, Port Huron, MI
Last spring, Robert Mannino, Jr., USLM president, visited Huron Lightship/LV-103 and was given a comprehensive tour by Jerry Rome, guide and steward of the  Huron Lightship, which is part of the Port Huron Maritime Museum. Huron/LV-103 is exceptionally well preserved and meticulously maintained. It is the smallest surviving U.S. lightship, compared with  Nantucket/LV-112, which is the largest U.S. lightship ever built.

Port Huron Maritime Museum staff member Jerry Rome in LV-103's engine room
Built in 1920, the Huron Lightship/LV-103 was the last operating lightship on the Great Lakes and served for over 50 years when she was retired in 1970. For 36 of those years, she was stationed at Corsica Shoals, a sandy area 6 miles north of Port Huron. She is now permanently moored in sand, along the banks of the St. Clair River in scenic Pine Grove Park, Port Huron, MI. Visitors will find an extensive collection of artifacts, including many model ships, as well as a live camera feed of the river bottom, taken by an underwater camera positioned at the bow. The lightship was dedicated in 1990 as a National Historic Landmark. The historic lightship is one of the many featured exhibits of the Port Huron Maritime Museum, adjacent to Lake Huron and the St. Clair River. The museum and ship are quite impressive and a worthwhile trip for any maritime history enthusiast!
Helping students develop 
learning skills via the USLM's Candlepower Program  

Students get a lesson in seagoing commerce as it relates to Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station
Fourth-grade students at the Curtis Guild School study cause-and-effect scenarios in the classroom involving maritime disasters that occur due to environmental conditions, mechanical failures and human error. The curriculum also features oceanographic and weather-related subjects. A primary component of the program is a class field trip to explore Nantucket Lightship/LV-112. The program, which is still in development, is being designed for various grade levels. 

Part of the Candlepower Program involves interactive Web-based learning, using actual events faced in the past by LV-112's crew to help schoolchildren develop problem-solving and team-building skills

At the core is an interactive Web-based course, designed to help students solve problems and develop studying and team-building skills by learning about Nantucket Lightship/LV-112, a floating lighthouse whose bright 500,000-candlepower light beacon guided transatlantic shipping traffic around the treacherous waters of Nantucket Shoals for nearly 40 years, earning it the name "The Statue of Liberty of the Sea." The lightship, which today is designated a National Historic Landmark and a National Treasure, serves as a unique tool to impart learning skills and engender the fun of learning, reinforcing principles in a highly engaging way to help students perform well in school. In addition to motivating children to learn and succeed, the course inspires them to become guiding lights -- "candlepower of the future" -- recognizing their key role in helping to preserve America's historic treasures for generations to come.

Students taking a turn at LV-112's helm in the pilot house

Students examine cause-and-effect scenarios such as the MV Argo Merchant shipwreck that occurred on Nantucket Shoals, causing one of the largest marine oil spills in history
WBUR, Boston's NPR news radio station, features Nantucket/LV-112

This past summer WBUR, Boston's NPR news radio station, featured a produced radio broadcast about Nantucket/LV-112. USLM President Robert Mannino, Jr., and Peter Brunk, a former U.S. Coast Guard Commanding Officer of LV-112 (1970-71) and USLM director, were interviewed. To listen to the broadcast,  click here .

Peter Brunk (USCG CO Ret.)
Peter Brunk has a long history serving in the USCG, including his participation with the USCG Atlantic Strike Team, Elizabeth City, NC, as an OPS Officer, Oil Spill Response. After serving in the USCG for 26 years, he retired. However, his love of the sea motivated him to accept a position at Industrial Marine Service Corp., as a Senior Training Supervisor, Oil Spill Response and Training. Peter also is a crab fisherman in his spare time in his hometown of Portsmouth, VA.
Images from the past   

LV-112 on Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station (c. 1948) with a fog bank rolling in. Credit: Tony Gimbale (USCG Ret.)

USCG crew member stands next to LV-112's fog horn (c. 1948) Credit: Tony Gimbale (USCG Ret.)
Happy 300th Birthday,
Boston Light!  

On Sept. 14, Boston Light celebrated its 300th Anniversary (see story in sidebar at left)
'The Finest Hours' movie is now available on DVD!   
Click on poster to see preview

S.O.S. for SS United States 
The namesake of our nation, the historic SS United States, which became known as "America's Flagship," presently is berthed at a Philadelphia pier, waiting to be rescued, restored and preserved. This majestic ocean liner has been idle at its current berth since 1996, and as time marches on, continues to decay. This was once the most graceful, modern, powerful and sleekest vessel in the world -- a proud transatlantic thoroughbred of the seas. It is in desperate need of a caring home and to be reopened to the public to learn from and enjoy. From 1952 through 1969, Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 guided the famous ocean liner, leaving and entering the United States to and from Europe during her entire career. For more information about the SS United States and the organization trying to find a new home for her, click here.

The SS United States at Pier 84 in Philadelphia (2015)

Th weathered and faded vessel name, United States, is barely visible on the hull's exterior shell plating (2015)

SS United States during her active years as a transatlantic ocean liner (1952-69)
Become a USLM member today
For a gift of $1,000 or more, donors will receive a limited-edition, fine-art print of the SS United States passing Nantucket/LV-112, signed by marine artist Gerald Levey
When you become a member of the U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM), you will be helping rescue and preserve Nantucket Lightship/LV-112, a National Historic Landmark and National Treasure that is an important part of our nation's maritime heritage. Plus you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are a contributing partner in the legacy of the world's most famous and largest U.S. lightship ever built. The USLM is a member of the Council of Maritime Museums (CAMM) and the Historic Naval Ships Association (HNSA). All USLM members will be granted reciprocal privileges (free admission) at participating CAMM institutions. For more information about the benefits and the USLM Membership program, click on USLM Membership.


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We thank everyone for their ongoing
contributions and support

The United States Lightship Museum 

The U.S. Lightship Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue and preservation of Nantucket Lightship/LV-112, a National Historic Landmark and a National Treasure. LV-112 is a museum and floating learning center, open to the general public -- a place for people of all ages to learn about our nation's seafaring history and the technologies that advanced the nautical and marine sciences.