The Ambrose Lightship LV 87/WAL 512 as it appeared in March of 1921. Gustav A Lange was captain of the lightship from 1910 to 1932. Because lightships were never allowed to leave their positions, regardless of the weather conditions, lightship duty was considered the most dangerous duty in the old U.S. Lighthouse Service and later the Coast Guard, which took over the Lighthouse Service in 1939.
However, on February 20, 1927 Captain Gustav A. Lange was forced to override that rule. He wrote in the ships log book, “Snowy NE gales with hail and snow. At 10:30 am, seas broke over mid-ship.” With the wind blowing at over 50 mph, as the ship rocked and rolled in the waves, the anchor chain broke, causing the lightship to drift wildly in the high seas and equipment was washed overboard. Capt. Lange had no choice but to start the lightship engines and flee to the Lighthouse Depot on Staten Island, New York
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