Charleston Lightship LV 38

YEAR BUILT: 1892

BUILT AT: West Bay City (MI)

APPROPRIATION: $70, 000

BUILDER: J W Wheelan Co

CONTRACT PRICE: $53,325 ($213,300 for 4 ships)

SISTER VESSELS: LV 51,52,54

DESIGN: Iron hull and fastenings; 2 masts with spencers, 2 daymarks; stack ahead of mainmast; flush decked aft to mainmast; hawsepipe thru stem, aligned with centerline of vessel

LENGTH: 1190" (loa); BEAM: 266"; DRAFT: 116"; TONNAGE: 375 displ, 310 gross

PROPULSION: Steam screw- single compound condensing engine, 14" & 24" bores x 16" stroke; 135 IHP; 2 scotch boilers 8'dia x 9' lg; 50 psi; max speed 6 knots; coal capacity 52 tons; also rigged for sail carried on spencer masts

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: 2 lanterns, each with 8 oil lamps w/reflectors

FOG SIGNAL: 12" steam whistle; hand operated 1000 lb bell

CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 53

-During 1892-1907, and probably thereafter, ship was hauled annually for scraping and painting; other needed repairs to hull, topsides, boilers and machinery being performed during these periods. The ship remained relatively free of any major maintenance problems throughout her career.
-1906: Propulsion changed from steam to Murray-Tregurtha kerosene engine
-1907: Submarine bell signal placed in operation
-1912: Equipped with radio
-1914: Masts replaced with single large diameter lantern mast amidships, equipped with acetylene lens lantern; pilot house added at foot of mast
-1930: Lantern converted to electric operation
-1932: Radio-beacon installed -1934 Fog signal changed to diaphragm horn
-1946: Jul 16-Oct 6, extensive overhaul at Curtis Bay MD, repowered with Superior diesel main engine, 151 HP, 310" propeller max speed 8 knots; 375mm lens lantern; F2T diaphone; cargo doors welded shut on both sides

STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV 53 / WAL 501
1892-1896: Frying Pan Shoal (NC)
1896-1906: Martins Industry (SC)
1906-1923: Relief (SC)
1924-1933: Charleston (SC)
1933 Relief (SC)
1934-1951: Stonehorse Shoal (MA)

(Aug 1906-Feb 1907, performed temporary Relief duty in 1st and 2d Districts)
(1933 Jun 30, Charleston station discontinued)
(1942-1945 During WWII, remained on Stonehorse station; no armament provided)

HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 53 / WAL 501
-1892: Dec 1, placed on Frying Pan Shoal (NC) (replacing LV 29)
-1893: Safely rode out hurricanes in August and October although boats and
davits carried away and deckhouse demolished
-1896: Nov 11, withdrawn (replaced by LV 1); since marine railway facilities at
nearby Wilmington NC were not adequate_ derision was made to move LV 53 to
Martins Industry to be closer to maintenance facilities at Charleston SC
-1896: Dec 23, placed on Martins Industry
-1901: Comparison of 7 years maintenance costs between wooden LV 1 and iron LV 53
showed metal vessel was cheaper to maintain despite need for more frequent
hauling for chipping and painting
-1906: Removed from Martins Industry and assigned to Relief duty
-1906: Aug 16, sent to 1st and 2d Districts for temporary Relief assignments;
engine failed Jan 20 1907 off Sandy Hook while returning- to Charleston; towed
to 3d District for repair; departed NY Feb 2, arriving Charleston Feb 7
-1907: Feb 7, retained Relief status but used as tender until Apr 5, steaming
2, 860 miles; then resumed normal relief missions
-1924: Flared on Charleston (SC)
-1934: Transferred to 2d District and placed on Stonehorse Shoal (MA)

More notes: LV 53
-1936 During severe winter storm, dragged several miles off station in moving ice field, regained station unassisted -1948.  While enroute to Boston, became caught in heavy ice in Buzzards Bay; later broken out by tender Spar -Radio & visual radio call for the vessel listed as NMGA (1940--1951)

RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1951; AGE: 59

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Decommissioned Jun 15, 1951 at Boston then towed to Cape May NJ for final disposition. Sold Sep 15, 1951. The lantern mast and large diameter lantern housing is located outside Giovi's Restaurant, Yardville, NJ.

COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 53 / WAL 501

1896-1897: Antoni Neilson, Master
1897-1899: Axel Bergstrand, Master
1899-1906: Carl F Kellin, Master
1907: Henry B Foster, 2d Mate (additional Mate detailed to assist during
return voyage from Portland ME to Charleston SC)
1918-1919: Edward Stanley, Mate
1919-1922: Sofus Osmundsen, Mate
?-1925: Arnold Neilson Master
1922-1924: Harold T Brett, Mate
1925-?: George McKecuen, Master
1924-1929: James H Haynsworth, Mate
1929-?: Karl J Torstensen Mate
1946-1951: BMC Thurston L Peabody, OIC

Back to Charleston Lightship Station History.

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Revised: 10/23/06.