Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

so you work on a lightship? wait for the punchline…

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2011/10/29

Lightships were floating lighthouses placed in dangerous areas by the United States Lighthouse Service (later incorporated into the United States Coast Guard.)

In addition to maintaining the light, they had bells or horns which sounded to warn passing vessels of  shoals. One CG chief petty officer told of his days of making deliveries to several lightships, before they were replaced by the large “monster buoys:”

“We would bring food and new crew about every 10 days. They often lived on the fish they caught. Most of those horns were 4 second every 2 minutes—24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

“You know what was funny? when we picked up the guys at crew change, they’d stop while they were talking every few minutes. They were so used to stopping for the horn that the pause ended up in their speech. It would take them awhile to adjust.”

 thank you, again, Capt J.J.!

The yacht Nantucket is in town, in the Morris Canal, across from the full-time, office WinterQuarter. Also, see Brian LaFloca’s children’s book, “Lightship,” which has beautiful illustrations of life aboard a lightship.

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