Other than having many close encounters with passing ships , the most dangerous problem was bad weather which often caused the lightships to either slip their moorings or snap their mooring chains causing them to go adrift , often many miles from their assigned stations . An interesting note : Of all the vessels assigned to Diamond Shoals reports indicate that Lightships assigned there were blown off station more than 22 times .
At least 2 of them were severely damaged including LV 69 which washed up on the beach and was later refloated and repaired in 1899 .
In 1930 a new class of Lightships ( these were called the 3rd generation of Lightships ) were built at Charleston , SC . Of this class at least 3 are still afloat , LV 114 /WAL 536 , LV 116 /WAL 538 and LV 115 /WAL 537 .
From this generation of Lightships LV 114 / WAL 536 took its assigned station at Diamond Shoals in 1945 , being built of boiler plate , riveted construction , without benefit of watertight compartmentation . This class of Lightships were steam propelled with coal fired boilers , and comfortable bunks for the crews sleeping areas . Ship to Shore radio equipment ,and radio beacons were installed along with an AM radio from which the crew could listen to their favorite music in the off duty hours . The galleys were supplied with either oil fired or coal fed stoves for cooking . TV became a fixture in the 1950s . Movies became available in the late 1940s making evenings more bearable . Card games , either cribbage or pinochle would last for the duration of a 3 week rotation on the Shoals .
LV 114 / WAL 536 , served at Diamond Shoals from 1945- 47 . LV 114 was one of the most uncomfortable Lightships with its leaking side loading doors , constant wetness ,and poor heating system . It was first assigned to Fire Island , NY in 1930 It also served at , Portland , Maine , and Pollock Rip in Mass.
The last Lightship assigned to Diamond Shoals was LV 189 , built for the USLHS at Bay City , Michigan . LV 189 was the prototype for the last class of Light Ships : LVs 196 , 604 , 605 , 612 , and LV 613 . This class of Lightships was of all welded design , with watertight integrity throughout the ship . These vessels were built very much like a submarine with vertical escape hatches from every compartment , from Bow to Stern . The worst problem the crews of these vessels endured was the stench of diesel fuel . The 189/196 class carried up to 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel , 20,000 gal.of potable water and several thousand gal.of lube oil . While at sea , engines were kept online , generators were running , pumps were working and the men had to insure that every piece of equipment was always at the ready .
The class of ships , of which LV 189 was included were built for the worst possible weather . With a quad of Detriot Diesel engines connected via a direct reversible clutch , it could get "underway" with all 4 main engines keeping its bow into the wind , to maintain its station , no matter what . The vessels 7,000 lb main mushroom anchor was a great innovation . The anchor was designed to fall into the sea floor and stay there .
The 189/196 class of Lightships had a wave breaker installed on its forepeak to prevent huge waves from crushing their wheelhouses . The main lights on the 189/196class of Lightships consisted of 4 banks of locomotive lanterns , with 6 lamps in each bank producing a spot/beam visible up to 18 miles . The Fog Signals were powerful F2T air driven devices which produced a sound that could be heard some 14 miles distant . The newer Lightships were also equipped with radio beacon equipment which broadcasted a 4 character "signature " hundreds of miles from the vessels . The radio beacon signal was used in conjunction with other Lightships or land based stations which also sent out radio signals to help other vessels accurately plot their courses .
LV 189 left Diamond Shoals in 1966 , ending an era for the people of the Outer Banks , thereby closing the book on the history of Lightships forever in N. Carolina . Lightships of the Outer Banks have been replaced by a stationary Tower at Diamond Shoals which could be supplied and maintained by USCG helicopters from Elizabeth City , NC .
Lightships of Cape Cod , F. Thompson
Lightships and Lightship Stations of The US Gov't., W. Flint
Archives of the US Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association , DM Bingham , Historian/LSA
Lightship files of the late Edward Rowe Snow
Lighthouse and Lightships of the US Gov't., George R. Putnam
Mr Ken Black USCG Ret.
Mr Richard Bennett MK1 USCG Ret.
CWO Jim Gill USCG Ret.
Mrs Dorothy Snow Bicknell , Marshfield , Mass.
The station was replaced by the Diamond Shoal Light Tower.
1942-1945: marked by a buoy during World War II
Diamond Shoal LV 105> > >
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