Lightship Ambrose LV 87 / WAL 512
Built: 1907 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, NJ
Length: 136ft. (41.5m)
Beam: 29ft. (8.8m)
Draft: 13ft. (3.9m)
Original Illumination Apparatus: three oil lens lanterns
This lightship was stationed in the Ambrose Channel since 1906, guiding vessel traffic through the main shipping channel just below the Verazzano Narrows bridge, into New York and New Jersey Harbor until 1967. She was given to South Street Seaport Museum by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1968. A light tower replaced it, was hit by ships a few times too many, and, now, the channel is marked by lighted buoys.
Now at the new! improved! South Street Seaport Museum under the fertile wing—nurturing wing?— of the City of the Museum of New York this lightship was painted in March, and is now being restored and is open for visiting at Pier 16.
The wings of the seaport museum are alive: a new exhibit is up, nautical pieces from another museum I love, the American Folk Art Museum.
And true to the harbor’s spirit, the active gem of the museum, Pioneer, is sailing. Go onboard to sail in the harbor or go and volunteer and learn how to handle lines and many other things that may always serve you well…!
one black ball:
two black balls:
“Not under command. Underway, but no way on. Adrift.”
Unable to follow any rules.
three black balls:
“Aground. Displayed aloft.”
two black balls, two diamonds:
“Vessel engaged in underwater work. Pass on diamond side; avoid ball side.”
Another beauty tip from Capt JJ: “You know how I remember it? girls love diamonds, so go for the diamonds. Or, you have to have balls to pass on the side with the balls. But the girls and diamonds one is easier, for me.”
ball diamond ball:
“Restricted in ability to maneuver. Working vessel.”
And, Capt JJ had to go there—“This is no good, either:”
— thanks, Capt JJ. I think.
If hungry for more, the COLREGS International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, published by the IMO, spells out in exhaustive detail the rules for lights, shapes (dayshapes like these), and sound signals.
Note: *No vessel ever has absolute ‘right of way’ over other vessels.* You can be the ‘give way’ (burdened) or the ‘stand on’ (privileged) vessel.