Ballard Reef Lightship Station, 1893-1899
Location & historical notes: Michigan, in the Detroit River, probably about 400 yards off the east dies of Grosse Isle at what was then the east end of Ballard Reef.
1893-1899: LV-63 (The only lightship to occupy this station.)
YEAR BUILT: 1893
BUILT AT: Wyandotte (MI)
(Approp. Aug 5, 1892 for 3 small lightships, Detroit River)
CONTRACT PRICE: $993 ($2,980 for 3 vessels)
SISTER VESSELS: LV 64, 65
DESIGN: Square ended wood scow; oak fastened with iron bolts and spikes; 12 ft tripod lantern structure on foredeck; deckhouse aft
LENGTH: 42' (loa); BEAM: 13'7"; DRAFT: 2'6"; TONNAGE: 16.7 gross
ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: Single lantern with 3 oil lamps shown from 12 ft tripod
FOG SIGNAL: Hand operated bell
CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 63-
One of 3 small vessels "cheaply built" for "temporary service" in the Detroit River; built in part to eliminate proliferation of existing private aids, and in part to serve until "Congress makes arrangements for lighting this important channel".
Although differing somewhat in both measurements and details, all 3 vessels were built to the same design and specifications, and under the same contract.
STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV63
1893-1899: Ballard Reef
1900-1910: Relief (MI) (used only to relieve LV 64 &65)
(Ballard Reef station lies in Canadian waters, but was marked by the US with permission of the Canadian government, station discontinued in 1899)
HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 63
In 1892 an appropriation of $100,000 was recommended by the Lighthouse Board for construction of a caisson type lighthouse to mark Ballard Reef in the Detroit River. LV 63 was intended for temporary use to replace existing private aids until that construction was approved and completed. Since the location was in Canadian waters, permission was obtained from Canada to establish the station.
1893: Jul 1, placed on Ballard Reef; painted red showing a fixed red light; withdrawn for winter Dec 6.
Thereafter, vessel was withdrawn from station while the Lakes were closed to navigation, usually early Dec through Mar/Apr each year. Necessary repairs were performed while in winter quarters at Detroit.
1899: Consumed 61 gallons oil, 2 tons coal during the year
1899: Dec 13, withdrawn, station discontinued
1899: Feb 23, assigned Relief duty (for relieving LV 64,65); laid up ready for service with ship-keeper aboard
1902: Apr 30, while relieving Linekiln Crossing North LV 65, struck by barge under tow - damage $482.50
1906: Aug 28-Dec 17, relieved Limekiln Crossing North LV 65
Remained in Relief assignment until 1910
RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1910; AGE: 17
SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Laid up 1910; Sold May 22, 1911
COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 63
1896-1899: John Kean, Master
1899-1900: Elmer Slyfield, Master
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© 2008 USCG Lightship Sailors Association International Inc. Larry Ryan, President