December 2015 

In this issue
Season's Greetings!
Preparing LV-112 for winter
USLM Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 Candlepower Program
Massachusetts Historical Society visits lightship
Volunteers help get the job done
Falmouth resident celebrates
90th birthday on historic ship
Lightship Overfalls (LV-118)
1852 proposal to build lighthouse on Nantucket Shoals
"The Finest Hours"
USLM membership




All electronic donations will be 

processed by PayPal



   Subscribe to me on YouTube 





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Rowlett tried to maintain a list of lighthouses from his many friends and contacts, but it had grown too long (and too out of date) to display on the comprehensive site.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


CAMM Logo 


HNSA Logo     


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 . 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 of Boston Light
To learn more about Boston Light Ticentennial planning and special events, click on the Boston Light.
The U.S. Lightship Museum is a member of the Tricentennial Committee.

The Sinking of the U-853
by Capt. William Palmer

When the German enemy submarine U-853 entered U.S. waters off Portland, Maine in 1945, it torpedoed and sank the USS Eagle-56. Nantucket/LV-112, converted to an Examination vessel, USS Nantucket (1942-45) during WWII, helped save the crew of the USS Eagle-56This is a book about the  U-853 story, researched, experienced and written by Capt. Bill Palmer , a long-time shipwreck researcher, diver and preservationist.
Description of book: "Out in the cold Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rhode Island, lies the remains of what was once a feared and mighty hunter. It's not a fish or shark, for that matter it is not even a marine creature. It's what men feared the most when they went to sea aboard their vessel back during the World War II years. It's a German Submarine called a U-Boat. The U-853 was the last German submarine sunk in World War II. She was sunk with all hands just minutes before World War II ended. The once mighty hunter feared by all who put to sea, now lies in 130 feet of water off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, her grave marked only by a circle on the nautical charts, DANGER Unexploded Depth Charges, May 1945."
Palmer has been running a charter boat for wreck diving and shark fishing and shark cage diving off the coast of Rhode Island and Connecticut for 40 years.

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 magazine
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).

Season's Greetings and
Happy New Year 2016!
Last chance to donate in 2015  

Snow-covered U.S. Coast Guard Base Boston, First District, c. 1953. Tied to pier in foreground, Nantucket/LV-112 with unidentified lightship secured to LV-112; at rear, left to right, USCG Castle Rock (WAVP-333), USCG Bibb (WPG-31), USCG Yamacraw (WARC-333)

Wintertime on Nantucket Shoals:
Quoting an old whaling captain
A commentary written in an 1891 edition of  Century Magazine caught the desolation, monotony and discomforts of life aboard No. 1 Nantucket New South Shoal Lightship. Imagine, having to endure repeated sub-zero nor'easters during the winter months anchored 100 miles off our east coast. The following are excerpts from the 1891 article.

Quoting an old whaling captain, "The loneliest thing I had ever seen at sea was a polar bear floating on a piece of ice in the Arctic Ocean; the next loneliest object was the South Shoal Lightship." An ex-captain of another lightship said, very solemnly, "If it weren't for the disgrace it would bring on my family, I'd rather go to State's Prison." The author of the article also was told of times when the South Shoal Lightship so pitched and rolled that even an old whale man who served at sea for 17 years felt "squeamish." Life on the lightship therefore presents itself as a term of solitary confinement combined with the horrors of seasickness. 
Preparing LV-112 for winter

Gary Kugler from the Lightship Group runs LV-112's auxilliary generator and air compressor diesel engines, preparing them for winterization
USLM Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 Candlepower Program 
Inspiring students to explore and learn
Bob Mannino, from the U.S. Lightship Museum, was recently a guest speaker at an East Boston school, talking to a fourth-grade class about underwater and coastal exploration

Bob Mannino shares his discovery of a whale bone and his experience witnessing humpback whales off Massachusetts' coastal waters
In an initiative to jumpstart, inspire and motivate students about the limitless opportunities offered by the sea and nautical sciences, Bob Mannino visited a fourth-grade class in East Boston, introducing the children to SCUBA diving equipment, shipwreck artifacts, a humpback whale jawbone (mandible) and the jaws of a mako shark.

He shared with the students how his own maritime and oceanographic interests, passion, learning, exploration opportunities and discoveries could be experienced by virtually anyone with the desire and determination to do so. 
Youngster tries on SCUBA equipment
The children in the class were able to handle the artifacts and try on SCUBA equipment. "When children come on board Nantucket/LV-112 and touch, feel artifacts and equipment used for research and exploration, you can witness their excitement and piqued interest by the glow in their faces and rapid-fire questions they ask."

Student poses with jaws taken from mako shark caught off Nantucket/LV-112 while on station, prior to 1975
The USLM's Candlepower Program, now in development, is designed to help inspire and motivate students to realize learning can be fun. Reflecting a past era in which LV-112 was used for oceanographic research and reporting in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, today's lessons directed to children focus on marine experiments, cause-and-effect scenarios, incident investigation and problem-solving tailored to their learning level. We utilize actual maritime, oceanographic and environmental incidents and situational subject matter to help youngsters develop learning skills that can be broadly applied to other non-marine topics and day-to-day life experiences.

Student holds copper spike (95% copper; 5% gold and silver) forged in Paul Revere's foundry. The spike was recovered from the USS New Hampshire (74-gun ship built in 1864) that sank off the Massachusetts coast in 1922. By 1795, a growing percentage of Paul Revere's foundry's business (Revere Copper Co.) came from a new product line: copper bolts, spikes and other fittings that he sold to merchants and the U.S. naval yards for ship construction. Today, the company still exists as Revere Copper Products, Inc., Rome, NY

Massachusetts Historical Society visits Nantucket/LV-112
Five of the 18 MHS visitors who recently toured LV-112, pause for a photo

Founded in 1791 and located in Boston, the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS), an independent research library, is an invaluable resource for American history, life and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts and irreplaceable national treasures. The MHS collections are particularly well known for extensive holdings of personal papers from three presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The collections also contain many famous documents including Paul Revere's own account of his famous ride. 
Volunteers and donors help get the job done
Jim Hewitt, a retired shipyard electrician and an LV-112 volunteer since 2009, has restored and supervised virtually all of LV-112's electrical systems, bringing them to currently operational condition, with the assistance of others. In photo, Jim is standing next to LV-112's main electrical distribution panel
Committed and dedicated volunteers perform a large portion of LV-112's restoration, USLM administration and educational initiatives. Our volunteers, who are comprised of professionals, tradesman and maritime enthusiasts, have saved the USLM tens of thousands of dollars that otherwise would have added to our contractor costs. We also are extremely grateful to our individual, institutional and corporate donors whose contributions and ongoing support are helping to preserve an important segment of our nation's maritime history and educate the public.

We need your
support to complete  LV-112's restoration
The inside of a ship is just as important as the outside. We still need to raise more than a milllion dollars to fully restore LV-112's interior structures and systems. We've reached our goals successfully in the past and can do it again. With your support, our efforts in 2016 will focus on:
  • LV-112's interior structures: We need to continue refurbishing the living quarters of the crew and officers, galley, pilot house and other interior areas, all to historical accuracy.
  • Mechanical, safety and electrical systems: We also are continuing to work on the ship's engines, heating and ventilation systems, plumbing, electrical components and fire-safety systems.
  • Second dry-docking: The first drydocking in 2012 stabiliized the hull. We now need to reinspect it and complete the restoration of the forward ballast tanks, bilge floors and engine-room bulkheads.
Once we've completed LV-112's restoration, we can concentrate more of our energy and efforts on education programs directed to youngsters and visitors of all ages.  

Volunteer Rob Nickologianis hauls old electrical wiring from LV-112's engine room that has been replaced by new, historically accurate, wire-braided shielded wiring. Hundreds of feet of old and deteriorated wiring have been replaced in LV-112 since the USLM acquired the historic lightship
Falmouth resident celebrates 90th birthday on historic ship
Newspaper covers event

Capt. Robertson Dinsmore 
The following feature ran in The Falmouth Enterprise:
"Retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain Robertson P. Dinsmore on October 17 celebrated his 90th birthday with family on board the US Lightship Nantucket (LV-112) , a historic vessel berthed on the East Boston waterfront...   ( view entire article )
Lightship Overfalls (LV-118) Museum lends a hand to Nantucket/LV-112
Overfalls Lightship (LV-118) galley table
We want to express our appreciation and gratitude to the Overfalls Maritime Museum Foundation for assisting the USLM in facilitating the preparation of construction drawings of their galley tables. LV-112's original steel galley tables were removed and replaced with wooden picnic tables. In an effort to restore LV-112 back to its historically accurate configuration, we are replacing the picnic tables with reconstructed historically accurate units. Period detailed blueprints could not be located in LV-112's records, but the Overfalls ( LV-118) has the same design and type of galley tables that were on LV-112. David Bernheisel and Bill Reader from the Overfalls kindly helped us locate a draftsman near Lewes, Delaware, who took measurements from the LV-118's galley tables and created construction drawings for us. Thank you, Dave and Bill for your assistance.  LV-118 served on Boston Lightship Station from 1962-72 (decommissioned in 1972).

LV-118 when in service as Boston Lightship, 1962-72
1852 proposal to build lighthouse on Nantucket Shoals

Proposed 137-foot wrought- and cast-iron, screw-pile lighthouse to include a first-order Fresnel lens (1852)
1800s shipwreck in area of Nantucket Shoals
As commerce between Europe and the principal seaports on the east coast of the United States increased, in the mid-1800s, many vessels leaving and entering U.S. territorial waters were dashed upon Nantucket Shoals and shipwrecked. The shoals were rapidly becoming known as a Graveyard of the Atlantic, with upwards of 500 shipwrecks documented in the area of the shoals, beginning in 1664. This 375-square-mile area of shoals, known to be one of the most dangerous areas for transoceanic shipping in the world, had become a
Andrea Doria sinking in 1956, southwest of Nantucket Lightship
hazard to navigation. Not only did the shallow and shifting shoals pose a problem to mariners, but this region of the Atlantic Ocean is often plagued by blinding fog and strong rotary currents. Something had to be done.

In 1852: "In
Argo Merchant shipwreck on Nantucket Shoals, Dec. 15, 1976. At the time, it was the worst off-shore oil spill in U.S. history
compliance with a resolution of the Senate, a report in relation to the construction of a light-house on the New South Shoal off Nantucket" was created, by the Secretary of War and Corps of Topographical Engineers. The detailed report was very comprehensive and presented a compelling case for building a permanent lighthouse structure. However, due to the remote location, which is out of sight from land and prone to horrific storms and limited
Alligator Reef lighthouse in Florida, completed in 1873, is similar to the New South Shoals lighthouse once proposed to be built off Nantucket
time for fair weather, the project was determined to be impractical and too costly. In 1854, the first of 11 lightships was stationed off Nantucket Shoals, a service that continued until 1983 when the U.S. lightship service was discontinued and Nantucket Lightship was replaced by several USCG navigational buoys in addition to a  NOAA buoy. Nantucket Shoals Station was the only lightship station in the world located in international waters.
No.1 Nantucket New South Shoal Lightship (1855-92)
Disney's The Finest Hours is in theaters January 29!

A heroic action-thriller, "The Finest Hours" is the remarkable true story of the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history. The hero in the story is Bernie Webber, who later served on Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 (1958-60).

Click on poster for the movie trailer

Bernie Webber (center) is shown on the stern of Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 (1958-60). Webber previously served as the coxswain of motor lifeboat CG36500, from Station Chatham, MA, who with his crew of three, rescued the crew of the stricken tanker Pendleton, which had broken in half during a horrific winter storm on Feb. 18, 1952, off the coast of Massachusetts
Help support the restoration and preservation of Nantucket/LV-112
Donate your old car, truck, boat, camper or even heavy equipment

If you are considering selling or trading in your old car, truck, boat or camper or even heavy equipment (tractors, etc.), give it new life by donating it our museum. Our national car donation program is a hassle-free way of putting your used or junk vehicle to work, supporting our efforts to preserve Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 as a floating learning center. Plus, you may be eligible to receive a tax deduction. Your vehicle does not have to be operational and can be damaged. It just has to be intact and towable.

How it works:
We have teamed with Charitable Auto Resources, Inc. (CARS), to accept vehicle donations across the U.S. Once you contact our customer service representative about making the donation, everything will be taken care of, including a receipt for your tax records. Sale proceeds will be donated to the USLM in your name. If the car sells for less than $500, the receipt provided when the car is towed away will serve as your tax receipt. If the car sells for $500 or more, you will receive a 1098-C form for tax purposes.

Contact Information:
Donating your car to the U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM) is as easy as calling our representative toll-free at 855-500-7433, or visit our website: and click on "How to Help" (home page) and "Vehicle Donation Program" on the drop down menu. 

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.


All electronic donations will be processed by PayPal.




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.