Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2011

A Worn Out Life-Saver


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Long past its glory days of saving lives at sea, the Lightship Umatilla WLV-196 now rests in silence in Alaskan waters.

Decommissioned in 1971, it operated for a while under the name Marine Bio Researcher but was reportedly last used as a barracks for logging crews.

The vessel once served on the east coast as the Pollack Rip Light Vessel Station and at Nantucket Shoals before coming to the Pacific coast in the very early 1960s. A lightship was basically a floating lighthouse and would be stationed in areas where it was too dangerous or too expensive to build a lighthouse.

There are no longer any lightships used in the United States, however a few of them have been preserved as museums. (Photo by Ron Foster.)

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2011 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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