Category: Heritage-Lightships

York Spit Lightship

The station was established in 1855 and located in the Chesapeake Bay near the entrance to the York River in Virginia. The first lightship to mark this spot is not identified. In 1861 lightship “T” was on station and was sunk, destroyed or removed by Confederate forces during the U.S. Civil War. From 1861 to …

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Winter Quarter Shoal Lightship

Station was located approximately 8.5 miles off Assateague Island, Virginia, 13 miles and 080 degrees from the Assateague Lighthouse. It marked the approach to the Chesapeake Bay from the north. From 1874-1875, LV24 served this station. The ship was built in 1863 by Stephen Andrews of New Bedford, Massachusetts. In November, 1875 LV24 was replaced …

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Windmill Point Lightship

Station was located in the Chesapeake Bay, near the entrance to the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Lightship “U” was assigned in 1834 when the station was established. It stayed on station until 1861 when Confederate forces sunk, destroyed or removed the ship. The station was vacant from 1861-1863. It is not known what vessel was …

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Upper Cedar Point Lightship

Station was located in the Potomac River, approximately 44 miles upriver from the Chesapeake Bay. Anchored on the south side of the channel off the mouth of the Tobacco River, about 2.75 miles from the route 301 bridge. In 1821, the first lightship placed on this station was designated “LL”. It is not known how …

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Thirty-Five Foot Channel Lightship

Located on the lower Chesapeake Bay 10.9 miles and 331 degrees from Cape Henry, Virginia. Station was served by LV45 from 1908-1918. The ship was built in 1887 by Houston & Woodbridge of Lynwood, Pennsylvania. It was a sister vessel of LV46 which served at Tail of the Horseshoe seven miles away. LV45 was originally …

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Tail of the Horseshoe Lightship

Located on the lower Chesapeake Bay 3.4 miles and 331 degrees from Cape Henry, Virginia. From sometime in 1900 until June 22, 1901 the station was served by LV71. LV71 was primarily used on Diamond Shoal in North Carolina. It was built in 1897 by Bath Iron Works, Ltd in Bath, Maine. While on station …

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Wolf Trap Lightship

The first lightship stationed at Wolf Trap Shoal, designated “S”, was built in 1820 and stationed at the shoal in 1821. No record as to how long it was on station or what happened to the ship. The next lightship (“T”) stationed at the shoal was built in 1856 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and was …

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Willoughby Spit Lightship

The Willoughby Spit was a 120-ton wooden hull ship built in 1821. It replaced lightship “C” when it was moved to Craney Island. The station marked the south side of the channel for entering Hampton Roads. This ship served on station from 1821-1847 when it was replaced with a 400-ton iron hull ship. This was …

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Smith Point Lightship

LV23 (designed Smith Point) was stationed off to the south side of the Potomac River entrance from the Chesapeake Bay. The lightship was moored about three miles offshore guarding the shoal area off Smith Point. It served as a reference mark for the southern approach to the Potomac River. It also served as a waypoint …

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Lower Cedar Point Lightship

LV24 (designated Lower Cedar Point) was stationed in the section of the Potomac River referred to as the “narrows of the Potomac”. The narrows lie about 40 miles upriver from the Chesapeake Bay. The lightship was moored off the present Naval Proving Ground at Dahlgren, Virginia, and about one mile south of the Robert Nice …

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Janes Island Lightship

Lightship on station from 1853 to 1867 located east side of the Chesapeake Bay, between Smith Island and the eastern shore of the Bay. Station was disestablished and replaced with Janes Island lighthouse. No photo available.     TIMELINE MAP/DIRECTIONS Geocache GPS:   

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Overfalls Lightship

LV118/WAL539 was built by the Rice Brothers of East Boothbay, Maine in 1938. The contract price was $223,900. The lightship served at the Cornfield Point (1938-1957), Cross Rip (1958-1962) and Boston (1962-1972) stations, but never served at Overfalls. The ship was decommissioned in November, 1972, then donated to the Lewes Historical Society in August of the following year. After that …

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Craney Island Lightship

Only one lightship ever marked this location. Lightship “C” (lightships were designated by a single letter prior to the LV or “Light Vessel” system) served on station from 1820-1859. It was the first U.S. Lightship and was originally placed at Willoughby Spit before moving to Craney Island. It was replaced by the Craney Island Lighthouse. No …

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Hooper Strait Lightship

LV25 (designated Hooper Strait) was built in 1827 in the Chesapeake Bay region. It was a 41-ton wooden hull ship. It was stationed in Hooper Strait beginning in 1827. It was the only lightship ever stationed in Maryland waters, except for the Potomac River. The station was disestablished September 14, 1867 after the Hooper Island …

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Bush Bluff Lightship

LV97 (designated Bush Bluff) was stationed in the Elizabeth River about three miles south of Sewells Point and 1 and 1/2 miles north of Craney Island. It was used to marked Bush Bluff Shoal and served as a guide for approaches to the harbors of Portsmouth and Norfolk. The Bush Bluff first served on station …

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Bowlers Rock Lightship

LV28 (designated Bowlers Rock) was stationed in the upper Rappahannock River, about 34 miles above its entrance into the Chesapeake Bay, and approximately 8 1/2 miles downriver from the town of Tappahannock. The lightship served from 1864 until 1868. Prior to 1867, when LV 28 was assigned, official records identify the vessel as Bowlers Rock …

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Portsmouth Lightship

LV101 was built in 1915 and was first stationed off Cape Charles, VA at the CHARLES light station. She served there until 1924, when she was moved to the OVERFALLS light station off the Delaware Bay. She served at that station from 1925 until 1951, when she was moved to several stations in New England …

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Chesapeake Lightship

LV116 was built by the Dry-dock & Machine Company in Charleston, SC in 1929. The contract price was $274,434. The LV116 was launched on October 22, 1929 and completed fitting out by August 14, 1930. She was considered “the finest afloat”. She was driven by diesel electric propulsion, with one 350 h.p. electric motor turned …

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