LIGHTSHIP CURRICULUM AND READING RESOURCES

A curriculum guide from Simon & Schuster is here. (PDF)

 

From Professor Myra Zarnowski and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing (PDF): Launching Nonfiction Author Studies: A focus for teaching the Common Core State Standards with books by Brian Floca — including Moonshot, Lightship, and Locomotive. (The full Launching Nonfiction Author Studies guide, featuring a dozen S&S nonfiction authors, is here.)

 

A YouTube trailer for Lightship is here. here.

 

Read more about lightships at the U.S. Coast Guard's web site, here, and at the web site of the United States Lighthouse Society, here.

 

The U. S. Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving existing lightships, the history of lightships, and the stories of lightship sailors. The L.S.A.'s collection of historical objects and documents is on display at the Coast Guard Heritage Museum at Barnstable Village on Cape Cod, MA. General information about the museum is here, and information about lightships is here.

 

"Making the Sea Lanes Safe," a two minute British Pathé newsreel about the Nantucket lightship. More newsreels related to lightships are here.

 

Men of Lightship "61", a British WWII propaganda film depicts the German bombing of the East Dudgeon lightship in January, 1940. Not for very young viewers, but it offers a glimpse of life on a lightship and a sense of their special significance to sailors. More background on the film is at the British Film Institute, here.

 

A Radio Boston/WBUR audio tour of LV-112, a former Nantucket lightship, from is here, along with photos of the ship.

 

Some nice drone footage of  LV-118, the Overfalls lightship in Lewes, Delaware, is here.

 

VISIT!

 

There are lightships afloat and open to visitors in California, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington. Climb the gangplank, walk the decks, peer through the portholes, and imagine months on board! (Call and confirm before you go. Some ships are in the process of being restored, information is subject to change, plus anyone can make a typo.)

 

Seattle, Washington: Lightship Vessel No. 83, or LV-83, for short, which formerly served as the Blunts Reef, San Francisco and Relief lightships was renamed the Swiftsure lightship and is docked at the Historic Ships Wharf at Lake Union Park. She is a National Historic Landmark vessel and operated by the nonprofit organization Northwest Seaport.

 

New York, New York: LV-87, which marked the Ambrose Channel into New York Harbor, the Scotland station off the New Jersey coast (where the wreck of the SS Scotland once posed a threat to other ships), and the Vineyard Sound, is docked now at the South Street Seaport Museum. Visitors to the Museum can climb aboard and roam around. LV-87 is the model for the ship in Lightship.

 

Portsmouth, Virginia: LV-101, which served off Cape Charles, Virginia; as a Relief ship; at the Overfalls station off of Delaware; and at Stonehorse Shoal in Massachusetts, is today painted as the Portsmouth lightship and can be visited at the Portsmouth Lightship Museum in Portsmouth, Virginia. (In fact, there never was a Portsmouth lightship station, but don’t let that interfere with your visit.)

 

Port Huron, Michigan: LV-103, the Huron lightship, can be visited at the Port Huron Museum.

 

Jersey City, New Jersey: LV-107, which served off the shores of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey, is now used as office space for the Liberty Landing Marina. (I don’t know if you can visit it or not, but it’s there.)

 

Boston, Massachusetts: A former Nantucket lightship, LV-112 survived near death in Oyster Bay, Long Island, where she was for a time docked and awaiting completion of the National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island, New York. When the new museum fell behind schedule, LV-112 was put on the block for the sum of $1.00. Things looked bleak. Happily (surprisingly!), she is today docked at Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina, undergoing restoration, and can be visited. More information here, and a Radio Boston/WBUR audio tour of LV-112, a former Nantucket lightship, from is here, along with photos of the ship.

 

(Formerly) New Bedford, Massachusetts: LV-114 served as the Portland, Pollock, and Diamond Shoals lightship. Until the summer of 2007 she was labeled New Bedford and moored in that city, which had owned her since 1971. After years of promising a renovation — while at the same time allowing deterioration and vandalism — the city stripped the ship of items of historical significance and in December, 2006, put her up for auction on eBay. That didn’t work, and in June, 2007, New Bedford negotiated to sell the ship to a firm which planned to convert the ship to scrap metal. By the end of the month she was in pieces.

 

New York, New York: LV-115, the Frying Pan lightship served at the Frying Pan Shoals off North Carolina and is now docked at Pier 66a (at 26th Street) in the Hudson River, where it does duty as a bar.

 

Baltimore, Maryland: LV-116, which served on the Chesapeake and Delaware stations (and which I had the pleasure of touring while working on the book Lightship) is well maintained and open to the public as part of the Baltimore Maritime Museum. She is docked at Pier 3 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Details here.

 

Lewes, Delaware: LV-118 served on the Boston, Cornfield, and Cross Rip stations but today is painted as the Overfalls lightship. She is being beautifully restored by the Overfalls Maritime Museum Foundation. Some nice drone footage of the ship is here.

 

Astoria, Oregon: Lightship WAL-604 served at the mouth of the Columbia River off the coast of Oregon. Today she’s open to visitors as part of the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

 

Oakland, California: WAL-605 served at the Overfalls station off of Delaware, then at Blunt's Reef off the coast of California, before being used as a Relief ship all along the West Coast. She is now docked and maintained at Jack London Square in Oakland by the United States Lighthouse Society.

 

At sea: A former Nantucket lightship, WLV-612, has been converted into a private yacht (!), complete with comforts undreamt of by lightship sailors. WLV-613 is under the same ownership and is undergoing restoration. More about both ships is here.

 

Brooklyn, New York: And, finally, there is LV-84, a former Relief lightship. This ship was purchased by private owners with a renovation in mind, but while docked in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn the ship was allowed to deteriorate, until it sank. (The story made the New York Times, here.) For years only the ship's masts stuck out from under the water, visible even in satellite view on Google Earth, down off the pier at the end of Richards Street. Sometime during January, 2007, though, LV-84 disappeared. Was she raised and sold for scrap? Was she towed to deeper waters and abandoned? No one seems to know. The ocean holds many secrets! The history of LV-84, or as much of it as is known, is in a PDF from the U. S. Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association, online here.

 

 

Finally, below is a photo from August 23, 1967 of WLV-613, successor to LV-87, the lightship in the book Lightship. In this photo, "Ambrose Lightship (WLV-613) makes farewell departure as new Ambrose Offshore Light Structure is placed in operation." (Photo by PH2 Dorwin Douglass, USCG, via this Coast Guard web page.) The caption of an additional photo of WLV-613 on that page notes that the "farewell signaled the end of a succession of red lightships that guarded the New York Harbor entrance since 1823."