April 2024

'Celebrating Lifesavers at Sea'

SAVE THE DATE: July 24-26, 2024

The 68th anniversary of the SS Andrea Doria and 

MS Stockholm’s tragic collision and rescue at sea

SS Andrea Doria lifeboat rescue illustration that appeared on the cover of an Italian newspaper, La Tribune Illustrate, August 5, 1956. Credit: John F. Moyer Collection

In July 2024, the U.S. Lightship Museum, owner of Nantucket Lightship/LV-112, and Mark Koch, owner of the restored SS Andrea Doria’s Lifeboat No. 1, will host “Celebrating Lifesavers at Sea” on the 68th anniversary of the MS Stockholm’s tragic collision with the SS Andrea Doria and its sinking, which occurred July 25–26, 1956. Our three-day event will begin at the New England Aquarium’s Simons Theatre, on Wednesday, July 24, 5pm–9pm, featuring a cocktail reception and presentations by a renowned underwater explorer and survivors of the 1956 tragedy (see story below). Then on Thursday and Friday, July 25 and 26, attendees will have the opportunity to view an actual Andrea Doria lifeboat, which will leave the dock for brief harbor excursions. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for the restoration and preservation of Nantucket Lightship/LV-112, which was involved during the disastrous episode. Stay tuned for future updates in eNews and other public event listings.

(Image at left) SS Andrea Doria and MS Stockholm collide, July 25, 1956, within the sea lanes, 200 miles between the Ambrose and Nantucket lightships. Ambrose Lightship marked the entrance of the Port of New York, and Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 marked the entrance of the sea lanes, south of the treacherous Nantucket Shoals and Nantucket Island, known as “a Graveyard of the Atlantic." Nantucket Lightship also served as a substitute landfall, representing the first navigation aid sighting for vessels navigating from Europe and last navigation aid outbound from the United States to Europe, also known as the “Gateway of the North Atlantic.” Because of Nantucket Lightship's unique position at sea, it was nicknamed by arriving immigrants “The Statue of Liberty of the Sea.” The Andrea Doria / Stockholm collision took place in dense fog approximately 20 miles west of Nantucket Lightship and 50 miles south of Nantucket Island. Credit: John F. Moyer Collection. (Image at right) On May 15, 1934, the RMS Olympic, sister ship to the RMS Titanic, rammed Nantucket Lightship/LV-117 — again in dense fog. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard artist Charles Mazoujian. Both collisions resulted in the sinking of one of the two ships, lives lost and dramatic rescues at sea. 

This illustration shows the RMS Republic being rammed by the SS Florida in 1909 off Nantucket Shoals within the sea lanes, again in heavy fog — the most common hazard associated with collisions within this shipping route. It was reported that the Republic was carrying gold and other valuables when she sank, including $250,000 worth of American gold coins to be used as payroll for the U.S. Navy's Great White Fleet. In addition, various sources have reported on a much larger cargo of $3,000,000 in U.S. gold double eagles. To this day, the Republic’s cargo of gold has not been located. Illustration credit: RMS Republic.com

'The greatest sea rescue in history'

— Master Mariner, Capt. Robert J. Meurn (USN Ret) 

An extraordinary number of merchant, USCG and USN vessels (25 plus 32 lifeboats) were involved with communications operations and the rescue of the passengers and crew from the SS Andrea Doria and MS Stockholm. Of the 25 vessels, only five are known to remain, plus two Andrea Doria lifeboats. To view a list of boats/ships involved, click here. In addition, the USCG and USN provided air support and rescue. A total of 1,644 passengers and crew were saved, 46 people were killed on the Andrea Doria, and 5 crew members perished on the Stockholm. [Correction: The fall 2023 eNews stated 18 vessels were involved with the Andrea Doria / Stockholm catastrophe, which was incorrect.]

SS Andrea Doria’s Lifeboat No. 1 on board the luxury liner, mounted in its davits. Photo taken in July 1956 during the voyage that ended in the tragic sinking.

SS Andrea Doria docked in the Port of New York, 1955.

After a restoration to its original configuration, the historic Lifeboat No. 1, shown with owner, Mark Koch (right), once again is seaworthy. Mark also owns Lifeboat No. 13, which will remain unrestored (the remarkable story about its discovery will be featured in an upcoming issue of eNews). These two Andrea Doria lifeboats are the only ones in existence. The No. 1 is a 26-foot lifeboat with a capacity of 56 passengers. The No. 13 is a 40-foot lifeboat and certified for 156 passengers.

An Andrea Doria lifeboat filled with passengers during the 1956 collision incident. 

Andrea Doria lifeboat during the 1956 incident, full of survivors, preparing to tie up with a rescue vessel at sea. The collision took place at 11:10pm on July 25. Survivors spent many hours in darkness at night in the lifeboats until they were rescued at daybreak on July 26. The Andrea Doria, listing in the background, finally sank at 10:15am on July 26 to her watery grave, 250 feet deep.

July 24: Reception and presentations

New England Aquarium’s Simons Theatre

New England Aquarium’s plaza with Simons Theatre building on right. The New England Aquarium is located on the Boston Harbor waterfront, across the harbor from Nantucket Lightship/LV-112.

On Wednesday, July 24, 5pm–9pm, the introduction to our event “Celebrating Lifesavers at Sea” will be held at the New England Aquarium’s Simons Theatre, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA, located on the Boston Harbor waterfront. The cocktail reception will be 5pm–6:30pm. Legendary underwater explorer John Moyer, of Moyer Expeditions, LLC, will display a collection of the Andrea Doria’s historic artifacts that he recovered from the famous shipwreck and will be making a presentation about his fascinating experience making many dives with fellow divers on the Andrea Doria. Attendees will have an opportunity to talk with John Moyer and Andrea Doria survivors, who also will be present. 

During the reception, Nantucket/LV-112 will activate its main rotating light beacon, which can be seen from the theatre lobby. After the reception, the documentary “The Sinking of the Andrea Doria"will be shown on the theater's main screen. Also, Mark Koch, owner of the only two surviving Andrea Doria’s lifeboats will present the unique story about Lifeboats No. 1 and No. 13. The No. 13 was found after being lost at sea for 25 years. Also, there will be a panel Q&A session with Andrea Doria survivors, who will share their rescue experience during the horrific tragedy.

Mark Koch, an offshore manager for Oceaneering International, is shown inside a deep-water submersible. Oceaneering International has been involved in several historic projects, including the successful recovery of Project Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom's "Liberty Bell 7" space capsule, which sank in 1961, retrieved from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, 15,000 feet deep. The company also produced a deep-sea video of the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, 12,000 feet deep. For more information on Oceaneering, click here.)

July 25 and 26: Watch Lifeboat No. 1 in action

Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina, East Boston

On Thursday and Friday, July 25 and 26, the Andrea Doria Lifeboat No. 1 will be launched from the Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina’s East Boston waterfront, adjacent to Nantucket Lightship/LV-112. A total of 30 passengers will have the opportunity to experience what it was like at sea in one of the SS Andrea Doria’s actual lifeboats. All willing participants will be able to help operate the lifeboat for a short excursion into the harbor, propelling the lifeboat with its original hand-operated levers that connect to the propeller. The only difference will be the absence of the horrific night-time conditions that the original passengers must have felt during the 1956 tragedy.

Mark Koch stands next to stern of Andrea Doria's Lifeboat No.1

The Andrea Doria / Stockholm collision took place at 11:10 pm, during the darkness of night with very limited visibility, which made lifeboat deployment and rescue operations extremely challenging. Passengers and crew were faced with horrific conditions, having to board lifeboats already deployed into the water from the Andrea Doria and from the other ships that were assisting with the rescue efforts. Passengers and crew had to climb down makeshift escape ropes, netting, etc., which were very difficult to handle on a dangerously listing ship, presenting the specter of rolling over on them. Many passengers suffered rope burns from uncontrollably sliding down the ropes. Some passengers fell into the oil-slick-covered water and needed to be pulled into lifeboats.

Aligned with our event, on July 25 the U.S. Coast Guard may perform sea rescue demonstrations in Boston Harbor, in the proximity of Nantucket Lightship, berthed on the East Boston waterfront, depending on operational commitments, as scheduling usually cannot be confirmed until two weeks before an event. In addition, there will be historic Andrea Doria artifacts recovered from the sunken ocean luxury liner on display at the Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina, recovered by legendary explorer and deep sea diver John Moyer of Moyer Expeditions, LLC. John has dived on and explored the Andrea Doria shipwreck in more than 200 feet of water 120 times and will also be participating at the event in person. To learn more about John Moyer’s fascinating background, click here.

The Andrea Doria shipwreck is located far off shore in the North Atlantic’s shipping lanes, which can be dangerous, prone to dense fog, the home of many sharks, hazardous surface and underwater currents, limited visibility and perilous obstructions on the wreckage. Referred to as the “Mt. Everest of diving,” it has claimed the lives of 18 divers. 

Other historic maritime lifesaving equipment exhibits will also be on display. In addition, several survivors from the SS Andrea Dorea / MS Stockholm collision in 1956 will also be attending the event to share their rescue experience during the tragedy.

Many notable books have been published about the historic international tragedy at sea. In photo, Andrea Doria survivor Alda Raimengia holds “Last Voyage of the Andrea Doria,” authored by Greg King and Penny Wilson, in which she was featured. Alda and several other survivors will be attending the event. Another survivor, Pierette Dominica Simpson, has shared her experience and knowledge through her books including “Alive on the Andrea Doria” and her documentary film “Are the Passengers Saved.” For more information, click here. Among other books: “In Extremis” by Master Mariner and Capt. (USN Ret) Robert J. Meurn, and “Saved!” by William Hoffer, coauthor of “Midnight Express” (made into a film).

John Moyer rises to the surface from a more than 200-foot dive with dinnerware that he recovered from the Andrea Doria shipwreck.

The Andrea Doria is said to be one of the most famous shipwrecks in history. The 150-pound bronze bell (see above, next to underwater photo) is from the ship's aft steering station. In photo directly above, John Moyer stands next to one of two rare abstract ceramic friezes that he recovered from the ship's deteriorating wreckage. These beautiful friezes had been commissioned for the Winter Garden lounge of the Italian luxury liner. Credit: Steve Gatto

Present-day USCG air/sea rescue assets. The USCG Air Station Cape Cod (ASCC), utilizes MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters and HC-144A Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft.

(Left) HO4S-2 USCG helicopters were the type used in the 1956 Andrea Doria rescue operations. (Right) HO4S Helicopter airlifts LV-112 crew member for transport to Boston-Brighton Marine Hospital in 1956. Credit: USCG

USCG HO4S helicopter lands on Nantucket Island with rescued Andrea Dorea and Stockholm passengers needing emergency medical attention, who were transferred to the island’s hospital and Boston hospitals.

The SS Andrea Doria’s final moments on July 26, 1956, as she was sinking in North Atlantic waters off Nantucket, en route to the Port of New York. As the stricken ocean liner sank to her grave, many of the port-side lifeboats, which could not be lowered, broke loose and remained floating, becoming hazards to navigation. The USCG fired 50mm rounds at them to sink and eliminate them as navigational hazards. Credit: Nantucket Historical Association

The MS Stockholm with its crumpled bow after colliding with the SS Andrea Doria. The Stockholm, which remained seaworthy, helped with the rescue operations and proceeded to the Port of New York with survivors on board.

The world's largest sea lane is the North Atlantic route linking Europe and North America, which accounts for two-thirds of the world's ocean traffic (vessels). Back when Nantucket Lightship was in service (1854-1983), it marked the gateway of the North Atlantic. Nantucket Lightship served as a substitute visual landfall and represented the first sighting for vessels navigating to and from the United States and Europe — nicknamed by arriving immigrants “The Statue of Liberty of the Sea.”

Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 in 1956. LV-112 was a steam-powered vessel until 1960 when it was refitted and converted to diesel power. Nantucket/LV-112 guided the Andrea Doria to and from the U.S. and Europe during the Doria’s entire, albeit abbreviated, career, 1953-56.

Nantucket/LV-112 berthed on the East Boston waterfront, 2024.

The USCGC Hornbeam (W394) arrives on site, assisting with passenger rescue operations. An Andrea Doria lifeboat pulls alongside the Hornbeam to offer aid to the survivors. The Andrea Doria can be seen severely listing, prior to sinking later that morning, July 26.

This area was often referred to as the “Times Square of the Atlantic,” and the shipping lanes were designated south of the hazardous Nantucket Shoals. Dubbed “a graveyard of the Atlantic,” this area has claimed over 700 ships.

Crew from SS Cape Ann on site viewing the SS Ile De France and the sinking SS Andrea Doria on left in the distance.

Dense fog poses a significant problem to shipping during the summer, especially in July. Nantucket Lightship Station was the most remote and treacherous lightship station in the world — 100 miles off the U.S. mainland, 53 miles southeast of Nantucket Island, and 200 miles from the Port of New York.

One of the ships assisting with the rescue of passengers from the Andrea Doria / Stockholm incident, was the French ocean liner, SS Ile de France. Hundreds of survivors were brought on board the ship, seen here arriving in the Port of New York.

Scale model donated of

Nantucket New South Shoals No.1

Inside Nantucket Lightship/LV-112’s pilot house, Kathy Sanford holds the scale model of the historic Nantucket Lightship/LV-1 (served on Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station, 1856-92), also referred to as Nantucket New South Shoals No. 1. She generously donated this model ship to the U.S. Lightship Museum in honor of her late husband James, who crafted it from scratch. We keep the model on board LV-112 on top of the chart table in the pilot house to explain to visitors how the lightship crew members operated LV-1’s whale oil-fueled lanterns that served as light beacons. The light beacons were stored inside the deck houses and winched up the masts through the roofs of the deck houses. The deck houses' roofs on the scale model open and close, which are helpful when explaining to visitors.

James Sanford crafting a ship model — one of his favorite past times

James Sanford (1952–2019) had a deep passion for the sea and maritime history, by evidence of living in a coastal community and his interests in crafting ship models and building a full-size pirogue (a shallow draft row boat similar to a canoe). He was also a member of the National Maritime Historical Society. Jim was an environmental engineer by profession. Jim’s wife, Kathy, also shared his passion for the sea. Kathy requests that Jim's memory be honored the next time you are on an ocean beach by slowing down to notice the color and texture of the sand, the sizes and shapes of all the shorebirds and seashells, and the variety of ships and sail craft in the nearby channel or on the far horizon. Jim never had the opportunity to visit Nantucket Lightship/LV-112. However, we are pleased that an expression of his passion is now on Nantucket/LV-112 that will help others to learn from and enjoy. The U.S. Lightship Museum is sincerely grateful to Kathy Sanford for her generous donations in the memory of her late husband, James. May he rest in peace. Click here to view James’ obituary.

The U.S. Lightship Museum expresses its gratitude to everyone who donated to our 2023 Annual Appeal. A big thank-you to our volunteers and donors!

A special thanks goes out to our volunteers for their ongoing and many years of commitment and support, helping with tours, administration, education, restoration and historic preservation projects, putting a lot of their time and effort into helping the USLM. We also want to express our sincere appreciation to our many financial supporters and in-kind donors who donated material, supplies and professional services. Without the support of volunteers and donors, Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 would not be a floating National Historic Landmark for the public to learn from and enjoy. Thank you all!

Longtime USLM volunteer Jim Hewitt restores components in the main electrical service panel in Nantucket Lightship/LV-112’s auxiliary engine room. Jim has been generously volunteering his professional marine electrical services onboard LV-112 since the USLM acquired the historic lightship in 2009. Jim is a retired marine electrician and Field Service Engineer/Project Mgr. who worked for General Dynamics, Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, MA. LV-112 was a “dead ship” with no operational electrical systems upon the USLM’s acquisition. Jim was instrumental in bringing LV-112’s electrical systems back to life and is still volunteering his valuable expertise and services onboard LV-112. Jim also volunteers his services onboard the historic USS Cassin Young, berthed at the Boston Navy Yard, and also time managing a charitable food pantry in his community.

Volunteers (left to right) Sue Butler, Julia Lewis and Dima Gilmour prep for painting the heavy steel berth frames from LV-112's crew’s quarters. There are 12 crew’s berth frames that require restoration, installation, recanvassing with rope, new mattresses and bunk linens. LV-112 has a total of 21 berths — the Commanding Officer's state room, 6 crew’s state rooms (2 berths each), 4 officer’s state rooms and 4 passageway folding pipe berths.

Joe Mongrain, a long-time USLM supporter, stands next to LV-112’s main engine, an 8-cylinder 900hp Cooper-Bessemer diesel. Joe was introduced to Nantucket/LV-112 in 2010 when he worked at Cameron International, based in Houston, Texas. At the time, Cameron owned Cooper-Bessemer. Cameron and Joe became generous committed donors to LV-112’s restoration project. In fact, Cameron sent one of their Cooper-Bessemer technicians to survey LV-112’s Cooper-Bessemer engine for restoration feasibility. The last time the engine ran was approximately 35 years ago and is fortunately serviceable for future operation.

How you can help Nantucket Lightship/LV-112's

light beacon keep shining and our historic cause moving forward 

All electronic donations will be securely processed by PayPal

New book: 'Preserving America’s Lighthouses: The Memoirs of a Coast Guard Ocean Engineer'

The U.S. Lighthouse Society has published a new book titled "Preserving America's Lighthouses: The Memoirs of a Coast Guard Ocean Engineer," by retired Coast Guard Rear Admiral Daniel R. May. A 1979 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, RADM May is the recipient of a Distinguished Service Medal and many other awards. During his career, he served as the engineer for major lighthouse projects, including the relocation of Block Island Southeast Light in Rhode Island (the first move of a major lighthouse in the United States), the relocation of Highland Light on Cape Cod, and the design and construction of a revetment to protect Montauk Light on Long Island, New York. This book tells the story of RADM May’s decades of working to preserve America's lighthouses and other aids to navigation. RADM May has also been a U.S. Lightship Museum volunteer and contributor. His book may be purchased on Amazon.

Book: 'Chasing Ships' — a life at sea 

Capt. Mingta Yuen (Master Mariner) was born in Germany and has lived in many countries around the world (France, Italy, Spain, UK, Hong Kong and Singapore). He began his career at sea at the age of 17 as an OS (Ordinary Seaman) on a general cargo freighter in Germany. He is a friend and supporter of Nantucket/LV-112. 

The anticipation of adventure motivated Mingta "Ming" Yuen to head to sea to work on ships. Ming's book describes the process of pursuing a seagoing position, chronologizing over three decades of his career, running the latitudes and longitudes around the world. Sailing on a large spectrum of vessels, including freighters, tankers, bulk carriers and cruise ships. his book describes the changes that he experienced within the industry, ranging from navigation to propulsion, pollution laws and communications. Accounts of shipboard life for men and women while at sea or in port further enhances the narrative. Ming is also a technical and recreational SCUBA instructor and builds ship models as a hobby. He became fascinated by Nantucket Lightship's history and built a scale model of Nantucket/LV-112. He is also a contributor to LV-112's restoration and preservation. For more information about Capt. Yuen, click here. His book may be purchased on Amazon.

2024 season visiting hours for Nantucket/LV-112

Visiting hours and tours for 2024 will be on Saturdays, April 27 to Oct. 26, 10am–4pm. Tours also can be arranged throughout the year by appointment for individuals and groups. For more information, please forward inquiries to: rmmjr2@comcast.net. Thank you!

The U.S. Lightship Museum is now a member of 'Museums for All'

The U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM) has joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits. The program supports those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits, who can visit Nantucket/LV-112 for free, up to four people, with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Similar free and reduced admission is available to eligible members of the public at more than 850 museums across the country. Museums for All is part of the USLM’s broad commitment to seek, include and welcome all audiences. For more information about Museums for All, click here.

How you can
help Nantucket/LV-112's
light beacon keep shining
All electronic donations will be securely processed by PayPal
Attention 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 lighthouse 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. 
Support LV-112's restoration!
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 Lightship/LV-112, painted by Gerald Levey.

Discover the value-added membership benefits when you become a member of the U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM). The USLM is a member of the Council of American Maritime Museums (CAMM). 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.
We salute our donors
ACK Marine and General Contracting, LLC

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Proudly made in USA
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Teach children about lightships
with the book Lightship

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.
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, who serves on the USLM Board of Directors.


This comprehensive New England shipwreck website is a helpful resource for SCUBA divers, maritime history researchers and enthusiasts. The site includes many photographs, charts, reference documents and history about numerous shipwrecks located in New England waters. For more information, click here.

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 the examination vessel USS Nantucket (1942-45) during WWII, helped save the crew of the USS Eagle-56. This is a book about the U-853 story, researched and written by Capt. Bill Palmer, a long-time shipwreck researcher, diver and preservationist.
Book description: "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."
Capt. Palmer has been running a charter boat for wreck-diving, 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)

This book 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"

"The Finest Hours—" Book and Movie
"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, who 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. 
The full-length movie "The Finest Hours' is available on DVD.

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.
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).

Help support the restoration of LV-112 by donating your old car and receive a tax deduction

How it works
We have teamed with Charitable Auto Resources, Inc. (CARS), to accept vehicle donations across the United States. Once you contact our customer service representative about making a 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. Donating your vehicle to the U.S. Lightship Museum is as easy as calling our representative toll-free at 855-500-7433. For more information, click here.

The Lightships of Cape Cod

Authored by Frederic L. Thompson, 1996, 2nd printing, 112 pages, soft wrap. Signed by the author. Illustrated with over 93 beautifully detailed photographs. Much sought-after, this scarce volume chronicles the history of the lightships in this vital area. Wonderfully detailed black-and-white photographs enhance the author's vivid description of the history and life aboard these vessels. One of the only volumes ever written exclusively on this subject, this fine work will make a fine addition to any library. Price: $14.95 plus shipping ($5.95), total: $20.90. May be purchased online from the USLM; just click on "Donate" button in this newsletter and add a notation in the area provided. Or mail a check or money order addressed to: U.S. Lightship Museum, PO Box 454, Amesbury, MA 10913
Massachusetts Lighthouses and Lightships

"Massachusetts Lighthouses and Lightships" by Arthur P. Richmond is an indispensable addition to the lighthouse enthusiast's library, required reading for those interested in New England maritime history, and a delight for anyone who enjoys coastal Massachusetts. More than 800 images, many never before published, include historic plans that describe the details of these aids to navigation, and archival and contemporary photos that trace through their history. The book covers all the lighthouses and lightships that marked the shores (exclusive of Cape Cod and the Islands) and guided mariners through the challenging waters surrounding Massachusetts. This volume also explores the interiors of towers, shows the lantern rooms of rarely-visited lighthouses, and gives fascinating facts about these beacons through their 200-year history. U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM): Excellent book-one of the better books published, about lighthouses and lightships. Credit: Review-Amazon Books/USLM

 U.S. Lightship Museums










At left, students visit LV-112's pilot house and pretend they are steering the lightship. At right, a crew member rings the bell on the foredeck of Nantucket New South Shoal No. 1 during low-visibility storm conditions. The illustration is from "Life on the South Shoal Lightship" by Gustov Kobbe, Century Magazine, August 1891.

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.

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.