Digest>Archives> January 2000

Historic Cruise of Lightship 613

By Jerry Radloff


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The Lightship 613, Nantucket has been restored by ...
Photo by: Jerry Radloff

The Lightship 613, Nantucket recently made a historic cruise from her homeport of Wareham, MA to New Bedford, MA. The purpose of the cruise was to attend the dedication of the nation's first memorial to lost lightship sailors and lightships.

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The volunteer crew of former lightship sailors ...
Photo by: Jerry Radloff

WLV613 was recently rebuilt and restored by her private owner. She was sailed primarily by former lightship crewmen and preservationists. Her commanding officer back in 1978-80, CWO Norman Lemoine, USCG RET, commanded her return to sea. "I was pleased with her performance after not being to sea for fifteen years and some ten years of lack of regular maintenance. We had no major failures. Riding out the hurricane in New Bedford brought back memories; the wind whistling on the bridge, logging high winds and sea conditions. The grin on my face will last a long time."

Built in 1952, the 613 was stationed at Ambrose Channel 1952-1967; Relief 1967-1979 and Nantucket Shoals from 1979 to 1983. On December 20, 1983, she relieved Lightship 612, Nantucket at 0230, remaining on the Nantucket Station until approximately 0800 when it was replaced by a lighted navigational buoy. Therefore, the Lightship 613 was the last U.S. Lightship to mark Nantucket Shoals station.

With only 15 lightships remaining in existence in the United States, all being historic and out of commission and many being in danger of being lost forever, it is a special moment when one goes out to sea. The last time a lightship previously sailed under her own power was February 9, 1997 when Lightship 112, Nantucket sailed from New York City to her new home at Captains Cove in Bridgeport, CT.

This story appeared in the January 2000 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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