Lightship Facts from over the years...

By Ron Janard (LSA Historian)

A few more facts, regarding Lightship History and their origins……

U.S. Congress in 1819 authorized funds for building two Lightships. Both to serve in the lower Chesapeake Bay. One at Wolf Trap Shoal, the other at Willoughby Split. Contract for the first, was awarded to John Poole of Hampton Va. Sept. 2nd 1819.

1844-1845: France had its first Lightship.

1868: Japan had a Lightship in Yokohama Bay- A red "catruptric" Light ? As the ship rolled, the Light slid from mast to mast.

1860: The WORLD had 136 Lightships. Great Britain : 46 United States: 39 Russia: 12

1913: The WORLD had 800 Lightships.

1953: United States had 36 Lightships.

1854? : A single Lightship took part in a Polar Expedition. Fittingly named "The ARTIC". She was fitted for the trip at the Philadelphia Naval Yard in 1855. Her mission prior to assuming a station, was to search for a missing party. Namely a Dr. Elisha Kent Kane. The party was found, mission successful. Upon returning to the States, she was stripped of her engines and Name. Then assigned as the Relief Vessel off of Rattlesnake Shoal , N.C. coast. During the Civil War, seized by the Confederates, and sunk. Raised after the Civil War, then stationed to Hens & Chickens Shoal until 1879.

1854? : The First Lightship off Nantucket Shoals had been a Whaling Schooner. Two masts adorned her. Her Station, 19 miles S.E. of Nantucket, being Captained by, Capt. Sauel Bunker, an Islander himself.

1959: In a "Notice to Mariners" The Buzzards Bay Lightship was be replaced temporarily by a Relief Lightship Oct. 17 1959. The Fog signal on the Relief is the same as the Buzzards Bay lightship, A Single blast every 15 seconds. Also note, the Nantucket Shoals Lightship resumed its station on Oct. 18 1959, being the Relief, had been withdrawn.

Credit is given to the Provincetown Advocate for these facts. I just gathered the group for a quick picture of the events, on a single page, for convenience. It is not intended to take credit for any of these facts, but to maybe make it easier for anyone doing research about Cape Cod, and its surrounding Sea.

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