December 2014

In this issue
Season's Greetings!
LV-112 remains open
USLM Nantucket/LV-112
advances "Candelpower" educational programming
The true spirit of giving
Lead, Kindly Light
(sailor's version)
builder's plaque comes home
Memorial service held on Nantucket/LV-112
Become a USLM Member




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Proudly made in USA


Lighthouse Lovers!


Brant Point LIghthouse

If you love lighthouses and want to learn about these guiding lights and navigational aids all over the world, then The Lighthouse Directory is the website for you. It provides an astounding amount of information, linking to more than 17,200 of the world's lighthouses. Russ Rowlett, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, compiled the directory with the assistance of hundreds of lighthouse fans around the world who have enriched this site with their own information and suggestions. For a long time, Rowlett tried to maintain a list of lighthouses from his many friends and contacts, but it had grown too long (and too out of date) to display on the comprehensive site. Rowlett offers special thanks to Michel Forand for his suggestions and editing, touching essentially every page of the directory, and Jeremy D'Entremont, Ted Sarah and Klaus Huelse, each contributing in vital ways.

The Maine
Lighthouse Museum

Another unique educational resource for U.S. Lighthouse history, Lifesaving and Lightship Services is the Maine Lighthouse Museum (MLM), located in Rockland, Maine, the heart of the Midcoast. Last October, the U.S. Lightship Museum presented a PowerPoint presentation at the MLM about U.S. lightships and Nantucket/LV-112.

The mission of the Maine Lighthouse Museum is to educate the public regarding the longstanding traditions, heroism and progress of America's Lighthouse and Lifesaving Services and the U.S. Coast Guard through the conservation and interpretation of the nation's most significant collection of lighthouse and lifesaving artifacts. From sparkling lenses to heartwarming stories of the keepers and their families, the Maine Lighthouse Museum is truly America's lighthouse museum. For more information, log on to the Maine Lighthouse Museum or call 207.594.3301.  



We Salute Our Donors


Amex Industrial Services, Inc.
Association of Public Safety Communications Officials - Atlantic Chapter

Bluefin Robotics

Boston Forge & Welding Corp. 

Boston Harbor 
Shipyard & Marina
The Boston Foundation
ThreeBees Fund

California Public Safety Radio Association 

  Cameron International Corporation


Claflin & Son

Nautical Antiques


Crandall Dry Dock Engineers


Capt. Robertson P. Dinsmore Fund

Donahue, Tucker &

Ciandella, PLLC 


East Boston Foundation


BAE Systems   


Eastern Bank Charitable

Egan Maritime Institute,

Nantucket Shipwreck &

Lifesaving Museum

Fitzgerald Shipyard


Foss Maritime


J. Hewitt Marine

Electrical Services 


Kelly Automotive Group   


H.F. Lenfest Fund


McAllister Towing &
Transportation Co.


Joe and Pepette Mongrain

National Trust for    

Historic Preservation

New England 

Lighthouse Lovers 

New London Maritime Society and Custom House Maritime Museum 



Industrial Marine Coatings Division
T & M Services

 Town of Oyster Bay, 

Long Island, NY

 U.S. Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association 

 West Marine

U.S. Lighthouse Society 

 USLM Members  

Verizon Foundation


Zuni Maritime Foundation

USS Zuni / USCG Tamaroa  

 Individual Donors




USLM is a Member
of the Following Organizations


CAMM Logo 


HNSA Logo     


The flag of the United States Lighthouse Service



What did lightship sailors eat at sea in the
19th century?

LV-1 (Nantucket New South Shoal No.1), 1891

"Forward on the berth-deck is the cooking-stove and beyond it is the mess-table. The lightship version of "dinner under difficulties," familiar to every ocean traveler, is, if anything, a little livelier than the original. The method of keeping the table service in place is, however, somewhat more primitive than that in use on the ocean greyhounds. There are holes in the table into which pegs are fitted, and around each dish and cup is a little fence of these pegs. Sometimes, however, a plate will clear the fence on a running jump and deposit its contents in a dish of quite a different character, the result being a conglomeration mysterious enough to puzzle even a person who has solved the most profound problems of the culinary art.




The mainstays of life aboard a lightship are scouse and duff. Scouse is a wonderful commingling of salt beef, potatoes, and onions, with varied trimmings. Duff seems substantially like dumplings served in Yorkshire pudding with a sauce of melted brown sugar. Plum-duff-with-raisons is a great luxury; but often the plums are nothing more than "Nantucket raisons"-- in plain English, dried apples. Now it is easy to imagine the result if a rolling sea causes the scouse and the duff, with its sugary sauce, to fraternize. The cook's duties on the South Shoal are performed under similar difficulties..."


"Life on the New South Shoal Lightship," The Century IIlustrated Monthly Magazine, Volume 42, 1891

Teach children about lightships with the book,


Editorial From School  
Library Journal 

Kindergarten-Grade 2: Lightships were anchored where lighthouses could not be built. They protected our ocean harbors as well as points along the Great Lakes. The last one (Nantucket/LV-613) was decommissioned in 1983, so this fascinating picture book is a piece of nautical history. Brian Floca's watercolor drawings depict daily life aboard one of these vessels, cooking, sleeping, working, all the while rolling with the rhythm of the waves. Many hazards were involved. Big ships came too close, anchors lost their mooring, and weather caused many problems. But when the fog rolled in, the lightship sprang into action. Lights flashed and horns sounded, allowing ship traffic to make it "through fog and night, past rocks and shoals, past reefs and wrecks, past danger." The drawings are very detailed. Some pages are collages of small scenes. Many are full spreads. The sailors' facial expressions are amusing to watch, and the resident cat appears on almost every page. The front and back endpapers show a cutaway view of one of the vessels. This fascinating, little-known slice of history should prove interesting to every child who loves big boats.
-- Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI (review originally published by Reed Business Information, Inc.) 

The book Lightship, by Brian Floca, can be purchased on For more information about lightships, click on Brian Floca's blog.

For more information about the U.S. Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association and the U.S. Lightship Service, click on logo
Lead, Kindly Light
By John Henry Newman (1801-1890) 

"Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th'encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life."

Poem posted on LV-112 while in service on Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station

"When a sailor gets to thinking
He is one of the best
Let him ship out on a lightship
And take the acid test.
And if he feels like bragging
I don't think that all of his tales
Will be of deep sea sailing
But of the ship that never

Provided by Peter Brunk,
USCG-Ret., Commanding Officer,
Nantucket/LV-112, 1970-71
Season's Greetings!
Nantucket LV-1 during a winter storm on Nantucket Shoals station: "Life on the New South Shoal Lightship" Credit: The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Volume 42, 1891
'Tis the season for ice, snow and the fierce bite of the wind. With winter's onslaught, just imagine yourself on the isolated Nantucket Lightship in 1891, anchored in the transatlantic shipping lanes 100 miles off the U.S. mainland -- the most remote and treacherous lightship station in the world -- during a furious and blinding Atlantic winter storm in the darkness of night and at risk of being struck by other ships.

LV-1 crew hoisting light beacon during storm conditions Credit: The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 1891

There is no onboard electricity or ship-to-shore radio equipment. Everything must be operated manually, including lighting the oil-fired light beacon lamps. The crew's only warmth is furnished by coal-burning stoves, always at risk of breaking loose from their deck and bulkhead mounts, spilling their hot coals during fierce storms that churn up horrific mountainous seas, crashing over the ship.  

LV-1 crew member ringing fog bell Credit: The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 1891 
The turbulent seas form tons of thick jagged ice that stick to the hull and rigging, requiring removal during the storm before the top-heavy weight of the ice causes the relentlessly pitching and rolling "floating lighthouse" to capsize. The crew is thrashed around like beads in a baby rattle and stricken with seasickness. The ship is not allowed to leave its anchored station, regardless of the weather conditions. A specter looms: Will the groaning wood hull break up and dump you into the bone-chilling sea? When so far from land, virtually no lifesaving services are available during such violent storms. This was the perilous life of sailors assigned to U.S. lightship stations, men who risked their lives to help guide others to safe waters.

So every time that you retire for the evening in the comfort of a nice warm bed in the protected environment of a secure, cozy and dry house on land, with the comfort and warmth of heat that can be controlled at your fingertips on a stormy winter night, think of the lightship sailors who served on Nantucket Shoals Station and other offshore lightships.
Although the winter season can be challenging, it also creates many picturesque scenes suitable for framing. It also gives us something to look forward to...spring!
LV-112 remains open year-round



Family from Greater Boston visits LV-112
Visiting students familiarizing themselves with LV-112's compass in the pilot house

Although, LV-112's regular visiting hours have ended for the season (will reopen April to November 2015), we are still offering tours and group programs by appointment during the winter months. In addition, our ongoing restoration, educational and fundraising projects continue throughout the winter.

Young visitors trying out one of LV-112's crew bunks
Young visitors from the Boys & Girls Club of America trying out one of LV-112's crew bunks
Students turn on a macramé lamp handcrafted by Peter Brunk (USCG Ret., Commanding Officer on LV-112, 1970-71) while stationed on Nantucket Shoals
Curious children examining LV-112's radio beacon equipment

USLM LV-112's "Candlepower Program" to be enhanced by collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Artist's rendering of Alvin, operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), exploring the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1986, the first manned expedition on the wreck site. The ship that sank Nantucket/LV-117 in 1934, RMS Olympic, is the sister ship to the RMS Titanic Photo credit:
Alvin, a deep ocean submersible, being lifted out of the water; for more information about Alvin's exploration of the RMS Titanic, click here  Photo credit: World Navies Today, Andrew Toppan

Our mission is twofold: restore Nantucket/LV-112 as a national Historic Landmark/National Treasure and operate as a floating educational center open to the general public. Although we continue to tackle the remaining restoration work, we are presently devoting more time and effort to developing Part 2 of our mission: education. A new collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic institution (WHOI) will significantly enhance our Candlepower educational program.
Established in 1930, WHOI is a global leader in the study and exploration of the ocean. As a commissioned U.S. Coast Guard lightship (1936-75), LV-112 also functioned as a marine research laboratory in conjunction with WHOI, in addition to 12 other lightships along the East Coast: Portland, Boston, Nantucket Shoals, Ambrose, Barnegat, Five Fathom Bank, Winter Quarter, Chesapeake, Diamond, Frying Pan, Savannah and St. Johns. One of the unique research programs included in WHOI lightship activities was dropping hundreds of sealed drift bottles offshore with a message to help study ocean currents. Click here for more information about WHOI's drift bottle program.
WHOI oceanographic research equipment supplied to U.S. East Coast lightships to study the environment of fish; equipment in photo was assigned to Winter Quarter Lightship  Photo credit: WHOI
WHOI winch boom on LV-112 stern in foreground, used for raising and lowering research instruments in seawater; at center is Bernie Webber, the USCG hero featured in the book The Finest Hours  Photo Credit: R. Gubitosi, Sr., 1959
The USLM Nantucket/LV-112 has reestablished a working relationship with WHOI to help share and educate selected oceanographic research, observations and discoveries with students and the general public. Once again, Nantucket/LV-112 will be able to replicate some of the research and observation activities once conducted in conjunction with WHOI during LV-112's commissioned service as a USCG floating lighthouse. But rather than being conducted on the former Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station, these activities will be conducted at LV-112's Boston Harbor location. In addition, the USLM Nantucket/LV-112 will be offering other unique marine ecosystem research and discovery activities. In fact, the USLM/LV-112 is currently working toward participating in a teacher workshop offered by WHOI that will introduce teachers to some of WHOI's extraordinary resources, educational activities and research programs, imparting information that can be taught to K-12 students.

Presently, WHOI and the USLM are arranging a loan of different types of research instruments, several formerly utilized on U.S. lightships, for an exhibit we are creating for the general public and educational demonstrations.


Schoolchildren examining plankton samples
Most offshore lightships made regular weather reports every six hours to the National Weather Service (NOAA) via Coast Guard radio stations. These included wind direction and speed, barometric pressure, humidity, cloud cover, sea temperature and wave heights. In addition, selected lightships made and reported oceanographic observations. These varied between locations but usually included seawater samples and subsurface temperature measurements. On the East Coast, these were coordinated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Cape Cod, MA), and on the West Coast by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (La Jolla, CA).

LV-112's galley being used as classroom for students 

Because of its offshore oceanic location, while commissioned as a USCG vessel, Nantucket Lightship participated in frequent marine science programs. These included net tows for biological sampling and bathythermograph casts. The bathythermograph, or BT as it was called, is an instrument, which when lowered into the sea, produces a plot of temperature vs. depth. Developed during World War II, the BT was used to adjust ship's sonar's against submarines, and conversely, by submarines to evade attacks. Peacetime research applications focused on global climate, fisheries and ocean currents. The Nantucket Lightship made BT observations to measure night/day and seasonal changes. These results were transmitted to the National Oceanographic Data Center via the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The true spirit of giving: Volunteers and donors help advance our restoration and education efforts

Volunteer John Oliver examines LV-112 Engine Order Telegraph (EOT) prior to removing control lever to be duplicated at a bronze casting foundry; two of LV-112's EOT control levers are missing and are going to be replaced

The USLM is extremely grateful to our generous and committed volunteers and donors who have been contributing funds, time and effort to help restore and maintain LV-112 since we acquired the historic ship in late 2009. Our financial contributors include individuals, private nonprofit foundations, maritime and special-interest groups, historic preservation organizations and corporations, which all have been extremely instrumental in helping save an important U.S. National Historic Landmark and National Treasure.   

"I'm on top of the world," says volunteer Will Lacey on foremast light beacon platform, taking structural measurements prior to restoration
Volunteer Steve Russell repairing wiring in LV-112's radio beacon room
Most of our volunteers do not live close to LV-112 and drive long distances and fight traffic to get to the ship. That's commitment! In fact, some of our volunteers live as far away as New York City and Portland, Maine. Our volunteers have helped save the USLM tens of thousands of dollars as a result of time and effort spent on LV-112's restoration and helping with USLM administration, marketing, education and fundraising projects. Due to everyone's kindhearted contributions, our cause continues to advance. This is truly the spirit of giving. Thank you all!
Credit: Central Press Association, photo taken March 11, 1936

Lead, Kindly Light

(sailor's version)


The copy below is a caption on the back of original press photo (above), Central Press Association, March 11, 1936. The headline is the same as the title of the poem written by John Henry Newman (see poem in left column).


"With the candid camera ever watchful in the background, two members of the crew of the Nantucket Lightship wave a greeting to a passing ship, bound for New York...Contrary to popular belief, the gigantic skyline of New York is not the first sight of the United States enjoyed by the incoming voyager, but the shining twin beacons of the Nantucket Lightship, situated 100 miles off the mainland in Latitude 40.37 North; Longitude 69.37 West. The Nantucket Lightship, most isolated one in the world, is the most important guide for westbound liners en route to New York or Boston. The first Nantucket, established in 1854, bore only a light for guidance of mariners. The present one, thanks to the progress of science, is a marvel of mechanical ingenuity. In addition to powerful twin lights, the present Nantucket has a radio beacon that works automatically for 24 hours a day and can be heard for 1500 miles; it also boasts a submarine oscillator, audible for 60 miles. When fog, the mariner's worst foe, blankets the Atlantic, the Nantucket turns on air (compressors) to send warning blasts over 35 miles of ocean. So powerful are the vibrations set up by this instrument, every 15 seconds that the ship trembles in every rivet and sleep for the crew of 11 men becomes impossible. The present lightship is anchored fore to the ocean grave of her predecessor, which was sunk by the liner Olympic in May 1934. The crew does a three-month "trick" (duty) on board, following which one-month's shore liberty is allowed."


Note: "Lead Kindly Light" was a poem originally written by

John Henry Newman (1801-1890), who was 33 years old when he found himself on a boat from the Sicilian city of Palermo to Marseille, France. Newman, who was recovering after being dangerously ill with a fever, was on the boat to return to his native England when he penned the lyrics to "Lead, Kindly Light." The context that Newman was recovering from a frightening illness in the middle of the sea gives insight to the lyrics. 

Nantucket/LV-112 builder's plaque comes home

Loren Peters, LV-112 volunteer, discovered the 1975 newspaper article at the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's office in Washington, D.C., that helped locate the missing LV-112 builder's plaque
One of our volunteers, Loren Peters, who recently retired as an electrical engineer from NAVSEA/Bath Iron Works, traveled to the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's office and National Archives in Maryland to help with locating LV-112 construction and 1960 refit blueprints. While there, he discovered a 1975 newspaper article about "missing" builder's plaque. As a result, 39 yearslater, we located it and were able to bring it back to its original home, LV-112. Former crew member Dick Mack (1956-57) also
Lisa McCandless, Assistant Director and Curator of the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum presents LV-112 builders plaque to Robert Mannino, Jr., President of the U.S. Lightship Museum  Photo credit: Ron Janard
helped facilitate the search process. Dick is a resident of Nantucket and interpreter at the Nantucket Shipwreck & Livesaving Museum (NS&LM), Egan Maritime Institute. 

When decommissioned in

1975, LV-112 was sent to Nantucket island as a museum ship and the U.S. Coast Guard awarded the builder's plaque to the NS&LM. We contacted the museum and they kindly agreed to give it back to LV-112. We are sincerely grateful to the NS&LM for their assistance and support. The builder's plaque will be remounted on its original location on LV-112.

Memorial service held on Nantucket/LV-112

Robert Gubitosi, Jr. and his sister carry a floral wreath to LV-112's starboard side rail to toss into the sea, commemorating Robert Gubitosi, Sr.'s (Bob) life and service in the U.S. Coast Guard, 1957-61. Bob virtually served his entire four years in the USCG, on LV-112. For more background about Bob, click here
Become a USLM Member Today
For a gift of $1,000 or more, donors will receive a limited-edition, fine-art print of the SS United States passing Nantucket/LV-112, signed by marine artist Gerald Levey
When you become a member of the U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM), you will be helping rescue and preserve Nantucket Lightship/LV-112, a National Historic Landmark and National Treasure that is an important part of our nation's maritime heritage. Plus you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are a contributing partner in the legacy of the world's most famous and largest U.S. lightship ever built. The USLM is a member of the Council of Maritime Museums (CAMM) and the Historic Naval Ships Association (HNSA). All USLM members will be granted reciprocal privileges (free admission) at participating CAMM institutions. For more information about the benefits and the USLM Membership program, click on USLM Membership.


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We thank all our volunteers and contributors for their commitment and support 

The United States Lightship Museum 

The U.S. Lightship Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue and preservation of Nantucket Lightship/LV-112, a National Historic Landmark and a National Treasure. LV-112 is a museum and floating learning center, open to the general public - a place for people of all ages to learn about our nation's seafaring history and the technologies that advanced the nautical and marine sciences.