October 2015

In this issue
Nantucket Lightship/LV-112's guiding light shines brightly again
LV-112's exterior restoration is virtually completed
Hurricane Edna and LV-112
Celebrating on Nantucket/LV-112
A floating time machine and time capsule
"The Finest Hours"
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Rowlett tried to maintain a list of lighthouses from his many friends and contacts, but it had grown too long (and too out of date) to display on the comprehensive site.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 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-56.

This is a book about the U-853 story, researched, experienced and written by Capt. Bill Palmer, a long time shipwreck researcher, diver and preservationist.
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 & shark cage diving off the Coast of Rhode Island and Connecticut for 40 years.

A story about a 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." You can listen to the historic radio broadcast interview of Bernie's harrowing rescue experience at sea. 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.
Nantucket Lightship/LV-112's guiding light shines brightly again

LV-112 light beacon shines on National Lighthouse Day at Nantucket/LV-112 event on August 7, 2015
On August 7, National Lighthouse Day, more than 200 supporters of Nantucket/LV-112 celebrated as the ship's 500,000-candlepower main light beacon and powerful foghorn were reactivated. It was the first time in 40 years since the U.S. Coast Guard's decommissioning of LV-112 that the main light beacon was turned on. Because LV-112 is berthed near Logan Airport, we were required to notify the airport's control tower, which alerted departing and arriving aircraft of LV-112's powerful rotating light beacon. To view a video clip of LV-112's light beacon and hear its foghorn, click here (allow a few seconds for the video to launch).
Spectators, wearing orange earplugs in anticipation of the activation of LV-112's foghorn, included former 1959 LV-112 USCG crewmember, Bob Burbank (foreground)
National Lighthouse Day attendees had the opportunity to board and tour LV-112

We thanked our sponsors, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, which had funded the restoration of the light, foghorn and radio antennae towers. Many visitors attended, including former U.S. Coast Guard LV-112 crewmembers who had served on the historic lightship as far back as 1954. The event also featured exhibits and representatives of historic lighthouses in Boston Harbor including Sally Snowman, the first woman and current light keeper of Boston Light, Dave Waller, the owner of Graves Light, and members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Bill Shephard (85 years young) enjoying the view from the top of LV-112's foremast light beacon. Bill, who visited us from the Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY area, is one of our original volunteers
Also on hand was the restored CG36500 rescue lifeboat used in the famous 1952 SS Pendleton shipwreck incident, with its crew from the Orleans Historical Society hosting tours. Capt. Bill Palmer, author of "The Last Battle of the Atlantic," brought artifacts he recovered from the German U-Boat, U-853, sunk off Port Judith, RI. On display were Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) research instruments, formerly used on U.S. East Coast lightships. The instruments were on loan to the USLM from WHOI. 
We were entertained with live music by "The Jazz Allstars" from East Boston's Zumix and satisfied our thirst with New England craft cider from Downeast Cider House and our appetites with delicious fare from KO Pies and fresh oysters on the half shell from East Boston Oysters. It was a great celebration, which we will commemorate again on the next National Lighthouse Day, August 7, 2016.
LV-112's exterior restoration is virtually completed

Nantucket/LV-112 at her berth on the East Boston waterfront after the recently completed restoration of radio beacon antenna structures and light beacons
Workers gaining access with an 85-foot aerial lift, high up on LV-112's masts, rebuilding the main light beacon and radio beacon structures

The majority of LV-112's exterior is now fully restored, so we are shifting our primary focus to the ship's interior, mechanical and electrical systems. In addition, as included in the original restoration schedule, a number of structural issues need attention such as the forward ballast tanks and lower forward hold-floor frames. We also need to do a lot of cleaning, prep and painting of the ship's interior. The bilges especially need substantial cleaning to remove decades of residue/sludge. After the bilge areas are cleaned, a protective corrosion-resistant solution will be applied.

LV-112's partially disassembled 500,000-candlepower main light beacon lamp enclosure was removed from the top of its main mast base for restoration; much of the light beacon's operating components had to be rebuilt and replaced

Peter Starr, from the contractor, the Lightship Group, on an aerial lift, installing new halyards and antenna wires/insulators on LV-112's foremast yardarm

Pressurizing device used for greasing LV-112's heavy steel cable mast stays, important for maintenance and helping to prevent corrosion

Most of the ship's main electrical distribution panel has been restored, and the diesel electrical and air compressor engines have been reactivated after sitting dormant for decades. Presently, the ship's on-board plumbing is still being restored, which includes the ship's bilge pumping system. In probing further into the ship's piping systems, we have encountered more repair work than originally anticipated. Fortunately, we have not had to pump the ship's bilges of rain or seawater since 2009, when LV-112 was berthed in Oyster Bay, Long Island. However, we do have portable pumps on board.

Steps being welded on restored LV-112 radio beacon mast


Harry Andersen and his assistant Ben, helping to restore LV-112's captain's cabin
Looking back at Hurricane Edna and Nantucket/LV-112

Dick Arnold (left) and two Nantucket/LV-112 officers stand next to the ship's wheel in the pilot house, damaged in Hurricane Edna, 1954

September 11 was the 61st anniversary date of Hurricane Edna, which hit LV-112 in 1954. Although LV-112 was built to be virtually unsinkable, this was the closest during her 39 years of service that she came to foundering. On that day, LV-112 was on station when Edna's destructive 110-mph winds
LV-112, at USCG Base Boston, after being towed back from Nantucket Shoals station in 1954. Notice the buckled upper bow hull plates, damaged by Hurricane Edna
swept over Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station, creating mountainous 70-foot seas. At that time, LV-112 was a steam-powered vessel. During the height of the storm, the ship's anchor chain broke, and the force and height of the pounding seas engulfed LV-112, breaking through its pilot house and heavily reinforced portholes, breaking off and smashing the ship's two wheels, located in the pilot house and flying bridge helm stations. The rushing seawater flooded the pilot house and smoke stack, shorting out electrical systems and extinguishing the ship's steam engine boilers. Because the crew was unable to navigate or point the ship correctly into the oncoming seas, the ship was in danger of broaching, causing the vessel to roll and capsize, which could have been devastating for the lightship and its crew.

LV-112 crewmember Jim Sheehan holds piece of broken port hole glass, caused by Edna in 1954
Finally the brave crew was able to restart the ship's steam engines. However, the crew still could not steer the imperiled vessel, as the ship's rudder was severely damaged and would not respond. To save the ship, the only alternative was for the crew to go outside onto the ship's foredeck and release the 7,500-pound auxiliary mushroom anchor, which was mounted and secured on LV-112's forward starboard quarter, executing this maneuver during the height of the storm while battling furious seas crashing over the ship. After the anchor was successfully released, LV-112 rode out the remainder of the storm and finally was towed back to Boston for repairs. It was discovered that some of LV-112's hull plating on its bow had buckled from the pounding waves. Although the crew survived, many suffered injuries. Two former crewmembers, Dick Arnold from Gloucester, MA, and Jim Sheehan from Wellfleet, MA, who were on LV-112 during Edna, are presently USLM volunteers. Dick Arnold was one of the crewmembers who assisted in releasing LV-112's auxiliary anchor during the storm. Jim Sheehan was LV-112's on-board radio operator.

Left to right, Dick Arnold and Jim Sheehan recently were reunited on LV-112 for the first time since 1954
Celebrating on Nantucket/LV-112

Fireworks on Boston Harbor, as seen from LV-112's berth in East Boston. Photo: Steve Gilbert

On a weather-perfect day on Labor Day weekend, approximately 60 people attended a private birthday party held on LV-112. This was a grand affair that offered superb waterfront dining with a catered full-course meal including a variety of specially prepared menu items and thirst-quenching beverages. The evening was topped off with two impressive harbor fireworks displays called the "Battle of the Barges," prominently seen from LV-112's berth, centrally located in Boston Harbor.

A floating time machine and time capsule
Bring back any memories? Beach Boys, Grateful Dead, Led Zepplin, Brylcreem, tooth powder and safety razors. Record collection donated by Dana Stetsen, who served on Nantucket/LV-613, the last lightship to serve in the United States.

Nantucket/LV-112 is much more than a historic structure. It also represents a period of time during our nation's evolving culture, an era that holds and represents cherished memories for many of us. This was a time when the U.S. was an industrial powerhouse. Made in the USA was the rule, not the exception, and tradesman and artisans took pride in their highly skilled professions and the quality of their craftsmanship. When you board LV-112, you will be stepping back in time (1936-75). LV-112 was refitted in 1960, so the historic ship is a combination of its original 1936 structure and period modifications made between 1960 and 1975. As a result, we decided that representing the 60s and early 70s would be an appropriate time to depict how the crew lived and performed their duties.

Not only will you be witnessing a vessel that is a testament to state-of-the-art construction and design when built in 1936, but you also will experience the culture of the 1960s and early 1970s, the period of time represented on LV-112 as a USCG commissioned lightship. We are replicating what lightship life was like: fashion styles, entertainment, music, TV, movies, news publications, personal hygiene, etc. (no iPhones or computers). Our restoration of this cultural time period is still underway, but we're off to a good start. So, come aboard and take a trip back to yesterday.

LV-112 crewman operating a 16mm movie projector in crew's quarters, "movie time" in 1967
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.

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.