This Page is Dedicated to the Memory of James B. Gill

Former L.S.A. President and Founding Member.

1898-1971

Location & historical notes: Off San Francisco, 8.6 miles and 244 degrees from the Point Bonita Light.  The station marked the approaches to the main ship channel into San Francisco.  The original station position was described as being "3 1/4 miles outside the bar in 109 feet, with Alcatraz and Fort Point lighthouses in range."  The station was replaced by the San Francisco lighted horn (LNB) buoy "SF". 

Lightships assigned:

LV 70

YEAR BUILT: 1898

BUILT AT: Portland (OR)

BUILDER: Wolff & Zwicker Iron Works

APPROPRIATION: $80,000
(Approp. for lightship for San Francisco harbor)

CONTRACT PRICE: $73,000

SISTER VESSELS: None, but plans & specifications same as for LV 68 and 69

DESIGN: Steam screw - composite hull (steel frame & topsides, wood bottom) 2 masts with lantern galleries; stack amidships

LENGTH: 122'10 (loa); BEAM: 28'6"; DRAFT: 13'9" (depth); TONNAGE: 590 displ, 450 gross

PROPULSION: Steam - single one cylinder surface condensing engine, 22" bore x 20" stroke, 350 IHP; one Scotch main boiler 11'3" dia x 12'2" long; 4 bladed propeller 8' dia; max speed 8 1/2 knots; also rigged for sail

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: Cluster of three 100cp electric lens lanterns permanently mounted in galleries at each masthead

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

CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 70-
Steel stem, keel, frame, bilge & sheer strakes reinforced with diagonal steel
bracing keel to sheer; wood planked from keel to main deck level; steel plated
from main deck level to weather deck-
1898: Apr, fog whistle raised to smokestack level to improve audible range-
1899: Aug, wireless telegraph equipment installed for 17 day experimental use-

Note: The first use of wireless on the West Coast was in August, 1899. The arrival of the troopship Sherman was signaled from the San Francisco lightship to the Cliff House.
1900: Oil lamps were installed and used 1900-1904 due to problems with boilers
and generating equipment-
1904: Oil lamps removed and replaced by single electric lens lantern at each
mast head-
1910: Equipped with submarine bell signal-
1918/19: Equipped with radio-
1922: Equipped with radio-beacon-
1929: Fog signal replaced with air diaphone

STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV 70
1898-1930: San Francisco (CA)

HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 70-
1898: Contract called for delivery 1897 but extended to 1898; Mar 11, delivered to Yerba Buena Depot; shipped officers & crew; made sea trials Mar 21; supplied and coaled Apr 3-
1898: Apr 7, convoyed by tender MADRONE and placed on San Francisco - 3 1/4 mi outside the bar in 109 ft on range marked by Alcatraz - Fort Point lighthouses; showed 2 occulting white lights-
1898: Apr, fog signal found inaudible more than 1/2 mi to windward; coal was changed and whistle raised to smokestack level-
1899: May 14, lost chain shackle and broke adrift; steamed to Yerba Buena for replacement anchor and chain; on station May 16; arrangements made to have gas schooner IDA A. transport crew, mail & supplies every 2 weeks; Aug experiments conducted for 17 days with wireless telegraph equipment - "not entirely successful"-log indicates 6 carrier pigeons were sent ashore with messages during test period; Sep 20-Oct 8, withdrawn for major overhaul, station marked first by black can buoy, later by tender MADRONE; consumed 541 tons coal during year-
1900: May 5-11, oil lamps substituted for electric due to boiler problems; Jun 18-26, fog whistle inoperative, hand bell used for 86 hours-
1904: Nov 26, fog signal characteristic changed to 2 sec blast, 28 sec silent-
1905: Apr 2-24, withdrawn for repairs, station marked by lighted buoy; 5,258 vessels reported passing the station during the year-
1906: Apr 18, while under repair in shipyard, vessel was moved for safety to Yerba Buena Depot during earthquake and fire; generator and parts of electric plant ashore in shop were destroyed; since no replacements available, vessel returned to station Jun 2 showing 2 fixed white oil lights until generator replaced later in year
1907: Jan 2-Feb 11, withdrawn for repair, station marked by Relief LV 76-
Remained assigned to San Francisco Station until 1930


More notes: LV 70
1900: Jul 25-29, electric lights & fog signal inoperative due to boiler trouble, oil lamps substituted; Nov 5-Dec 10, withdrawn for repair, station marked by lighted buoy-
1901: Mar 4, oil lanterns "permanently substituted" for electric, being suspended below the galleries, now shows 2 fixed white lights at reduced range" This done because of "expense and labor for maintenance" of electricity; Apr 3„ May 2, withdrawn for repair; Sep 15, Master reported large number of land birds, including owls, cranes and hummingbirds roosting aboard, apparently became lost in dense smoke from northern forest fires-
1902: parted chain and off station Feb 25-28, Mar 27-Apr 1; Apr 1-30, withdrawn for repair-
1903: Feb 3, in collision with schooner NOVELTY; 239 tons coal used during year-
1904: Reverted to electric operation "now showing 2 fixed white with eclipses"

RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1930; AGE: 32

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Sold May 21, 1930; became cannery tender TONDELAYO;
wrecked in Clarance Passage Alaska, 1941

COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 70
1897-1904: Julius Huebner, Mate
1898-1900: Abner I Lowell, Master
1905: Henry C Pierotti, Mate
1906-1914: George A Murk, Mate
1914-1916: Harry C Grimm, Mate
1916-1917: John B Sorenson, Mate
1917-1918: August Nilson, Mate
1918: Owen F Fisher, Mate
1918-1920: Peter E Henriksen, Mate
1920-1927: Rudolph Smith, Mate
1928-?: Erich R C Hesse, Mate

1930-1942: LV-83 / WAL-508

YEAR BUILT: 1904

BUILT AT: Camden (NJ)

BUILDER: New York Shipbuilding Co

APPROPRIATION: $90, 000

CONTRACT PRICE: $85,000

SISTER VESSELS: LV 78,79,80,81,

DESIGN: Steam screw; steel hull; 2 steel masts with wood spencers; stack amidships

LENGTH: 129'0" (loa); BEAM: 28'6"; DRAFT: 12'6"; TONNAGE: 668 displ

PROPULSION: Steam - one compound reciprocating engine, 16" and 31" bores x 24" stroke, 325 IHP; 2 boilers 9'3" dia x 16'4" long, 100 psi; propeller 79" dia; max speed 9 knots; also rigged for sail

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: Cluster of 3 oil lens lanterns raised to each masthead

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

CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 83-
1906: Submarine bell signal installed-
1906: Fitted with special submersible mooring buoy (see LV 69 for earlier use)-
1918: Equipped with radio-
1922: Equipped with radiobeacon-
1930: Illuminating apparatus converted to electric operation-
1930: Submarine bell discontinued-
1932: Fog signal changed to steam diaphragm horn (Leslie 17" typhon)-
1934: Fog signal changed to air diaphone; radiobeacon synchronized with fog
signal for distance finding-
1945: Fitted with detection radar-
Radio and visual call sign NMGF (1940-1960)

STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV 83/WAL 508
1905-1930: Blunts Reef (CA)
1930-1942: San Francisco (CA)
1942-1945: Examination Vessel, WWII
1945-1951: San Francisco (CA)
1951-1960: Relief (West Coast)

(1942-1945: during WWII withdrawn from station and based at San Francisco as examination vessel. Classed as "YN" - net tender during the period.)

To See a picture of the Ship with armament.

HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 83-
Delivered late 1904 or early 1905 (date not found)-
1905: Feb 14, cleared New York for San Francisco in company with LV 76. Capt
Robert Quinton commanded LV 76, Capt E.M. Trott commanded LV 83 and designated
senior Master for the voyage. Each Master "was furnished instructions,
credentials, and means for prosecution of his voyage to the Pacific Coast."
(Date of arrival at San Francisco not found)-
1906:Placed on Blunts Reef (CA) off Cape Mendocino-
1906: Dragged off station in heavy storms Nov 3-7, Dec 9„11-
1907: Dragged off station in heavy storms Jan 6„8, Feb 24„27, Mar 22-25,
Jun 19-28; off station for repairs during April-
1915: Jan, during a storm registering 110 mph winds, dragged 2 mi off station-
1916: Jun 15, between 0145 and 0330, 155 people were taken aboard the lightship;
being the passengers and crew of the steamer BEAR, stranded in dense fog nearby;
people later transferred to other vessels in the vicinity-
Remained assigned to Blunts until i929-
1929:Assigned to San Francisco until 1942 when withdrawn during WW II

 


1945: Reassigned to San Francisco station until 1951, then assigned Relief duty
until 1960

RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1960; AGE: 54

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Decommissioned Jul 18, 1960; donated Oct 1, 1963 to Northwest Seaport, Seattle WA for use as floating museum, marked RELIEF; currently being restored; one of 3 oldest surviving lightships and the oldest on the West Coast; retains original steam propulsion system

COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 83 / WAL 508

1905-?: E M Trott, Master
1905-1906: Nicolas Lawrence, Mate
1906-?: Thomas Jobson, Mate
?-1915: Owen F Fisher, Mate
1915-1917: August Nilson, Mate
?-1917: Henry C Pierotti, Master 1917-19i8 John B Sorensen, Master
1917-1918: John J Coleman, Mate
1918: Herman Arendt, Mate
1918-1920: Herman Arendt, Master
1918-1919: Ole S Christensen, Mate
1919: James J Kleher, Mate
1919-1920: William Canrinus, Mate
1920-?: Olaus Strom, Mate
1920-?: Peter E Henriksen, Master
1935-1941: Thomas Curtis, Master

1945-1951: LV-83 / WAL-508

See Above

1951-1969: WLV-612

YEAR BUILT: 1950

BUILT AT: Curtis Bay (MD)

APPROPRIATION: ?

BUILDER: USCG Yard

CONTRACT PRICE: $500,000

SISTER VESSELS: WLV 613

DESIGN: Diesel propelled; steel hull and deckhouses; breakwater on foredeck; 2 masts; stack amidships

LENGTH: 128'0" (loa); BEAM: 30'0"; DRAFT: 11'0" TONNAGE: 617 displ

PROPULSION: Diesel - 550 HP

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: Duplex 500mm electric lens lantern on foremast only; l5,000cp each light

FOG SIGNAL: Twin F2T diaphones mounted aft of pilot house

CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: WLV 612-
Same general plan and features as WLV 189-
Used all-welded construction; transverse bulkheads carried to weather deck level; hawsepipes carried to weather deck before leading to chain locker; alternating current electrical system throughout-
Designated WAL 612 when built; designation changed to WLV in 1965-
1971: High intensity light installed on mainmast; using 24 locomotive headlights arranged in groups of 6 on each face of a four-sided revolving lamp housing; duplex lantern retained on foremast-
1982: RACON installed-

Radio/visual call sign NMDN (1950-1983)

STATION ASSIGNMENTS: WLV 612
1951-1969: San Francisco (CA)
1969-1971: Blunts Reef (CA)
1971-1975: Portland (ME)
1975-1983: Nantucket Shoals (MA)

(designated Nantucket I in 1979; thereafter WLV 612 & 613 alternated on the Nantucket station, relieving each other approximately every 21 days from 1979-1983)

HISTORICAL NOTES: WLV 612-
1951/1971: Service as indicated under station assignments-
1971: Made West Coast to East Coast transit; transferred to 1st District-
1983: The lightship served as a radar platform for Vice President George Bush when he resided in his vacation home.  Vice President Bush was visiting aboard the lightship when Soviet fighters downed Korean Airlines Flight 007 in the Sea of Japan on 1 September 1983.  He departed quickly to return to Washington, D.C.*
1983: Dec 20, relieved by WLV 613 at 0230 and departed for Boston. (WLV 613 then marked the Nantucket station briefly until approximately 0800 when replaced by LNB)-
1983/84/85: After leaving station, WLV 612 remained officially designated as a lightship although performing duty as a cutter, participating in various law enforcement, security and public relations missions-
1984 (September 26) - 1985 (February 2): proceeded to southern waters and participated in exercises to evaluate her suitability as a support vessel for surface effect ships and patrol cutters engaged in law enforcement operations. While conducting these exercises, she towed a disabled Coast Guard surface effects ship to safety after the former drifted close to Cuban national waters.  She was relieved of the tow just outside of Miami harbor.*  Despite this success, however, the extent of modifications required for the lightship to perform as a support vessel were not considered cost effective and the vessel returned to Boston.

WLV 612 (Nantucket I) was the last US lightship in commission

More notes:

RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1983; AGE: 33

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Decommissioned Mar 29, 1985; sold to Boston Educational Marine Exchange Jul 7, 1985; to be given pseudo name "Boston". Returned to GSA due to financial problems. Acquired by Boston MDC, to be placed on display at Georges Island, Boston Harbor.

COMMANDING OFFICERS: WLV 612

1950: BOSN-1 Fred L. Finlay commanding officer upon commissioning of the ship 18 September 1950 at the Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, Maryland.
1950: LT James E. Flemming relieved BOSN Finlay as voyage commander on 3 October for the trip to the West Coast.  BOSN Finlay remained on board as executive officer.
1950: Upon completion of the voyage, LT Flemming departed and BOSN Finlay resumed command on 5 December 1950 at CG Base Yerba Buena Island, San Francisco, California
1950: 5 December CHBOSN Fred L. Finlay
1952: 15 January BOSN Edwin H. Baird
1955: 26 October CHBOSN Fred L. Finlay
1958: 30 December CHBOSN William H. Blaylock
1960: 1 June CHBOSN James B. Gill
1962: 28 December BOSN James C. Sawyer
1964: 24 October BOSN A.K. Fenne
19??: 1967 logbooks missing; CHBOSN Francis A. France
1968: 20 September CHBOSN W.W. Croft
1969: June CHBOSN Koenig
1970: 24 June CHOBSN R.W. Goodrich

[The above information was provided to the Historian's Office by J.B. Gill, USCG (Ret.) and we are grateful for his assistance.]

1971: CWO R.W. Minzy [Information provided by John Fridge]
1972: LCDR Jack E. Arrington, CO (voyage commander, San Francisco-Boston)
1972-1973: CWO Richard D'Entremont, CO
1975: CWO Richard E. Rainville, CO
1975-1977: CWO J. P. Allwein, CO
1977-1979: CWO Donald W. Cowell, CO
1979-1981: CWO Larry A. Everman, CO
1981: CWO H. W. Davis Jr, CO
1981-1983: CWO Robert C. Collins, CO
1983-1985: CWO Dana P. Lewis

1969-1971: LV-100 / WAL-523

YEAR BUILT: 1929

BUILT AT: Portland (OR)

BUILDER: Albina Marine Iron Works

APPROPRIATION: ?

CONTRACT PRICE: $228, 121

SISTER VESSELS: LV 113,114,115,116,117

DESIGN: Diesel„electric screw; steel hull and deckhouses; 2 masts; smokestack amidships

LENGTH: 133'3" (loa); BEAM: 30'0"; DRAFT: 13'3"; TONNAGE: 630 displ

PROPULSION: Diesel-electric; one 350 HP electric motor driven by any or all of four 75 KW diesel engine-generator units; 350 SHP at 300 rpm; max speed 10 knots average 9 knots

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: 375mm electric lens lantern with 1000 watt lamp at each mast head

FOG SIGNAL: Air diaphone via 4-way cast iron horn; hand operated bell

CONSTRUCTiON NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 100-
First US lightship built with diesel-electric propulsion system; reported as
representing a savings of 100 tons relative to a similar steam propelled vessel-
Delivered and placed in commission 1930-
1930: Equipped with radio and radiobeacon when built-
1933: Radiobeacon synchronized with fog signal for distance finding-
1945: Fitted with detection radar and sonar-
Radio and visual call sign NMGP (1940-1971)


STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV 100 / WAL 523
1930-1942: Blunts Reef (CA)
1942-1945: Examination Vessel, WWII
1945-1969: Blunts Reef (CA)

To Picture of LV 100 as Relief Lightship.>
1959-1969: Relief (West Coast)

1969-1971: San Francisco (CA)

(1942-1945: During WWlI, withdrawn and assigned to NOWESTSEAFRON, stationed at Eureka CA and used as examination vessel; no armament provided. Classed as a "YN" net tender during the period)


HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 100 / WAL 52:3-
1929: Jun 17 launched on Portland Oregon's "Marine Day" with large celebration-
1929: Oct 21/22, builders trials; Oct 23 departed for San Francisco in advance
of being assigned to duty on Blunts Reef-
1930: Commissioned at San Francisco and placed on Blunts Reef station off
Cape Mendocino (CA)


RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1971; AGE: 42

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION ION: Decommissioned May 12 l~7l; transferred to US Navy
Aug 6, 1971 for further transfer to Vietnam

COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 100 / WAL 523

1937-?: Alfred J M Prien, Mate

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