Can you imagine climbing inside the mast of the Portsmouth Lightship to service the beacon when it would have been swaying at sea? One false move could have meant death.
Lightships were stationed in areas where it was too dangerous or too expensive to build a lighthouse. Regardless of the weather, they were required to remain on station. Duty onboard a lightship was considered the most dangerous assignment in the U.S. Lighthouse Service and later in the Coast Guard.
Launched nearly 100 years ago, the Portsmouth Lightship LV101 served off Cape Charles, Virginia; as the Overfalls Lightship in Lewes, Delaware; and as Stonehorse and Cross Rip stations in Massachusetts. The Portsmouth Lightship is now on exhibit on the waterfront in Portsmouth, Virginia. (Photographs by Bruce Robie.)
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 2012 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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