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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10 Responses

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  1. tugster said, on 2011/10/30 at 05:00

    great story. cheeky red ship. i saw Nan Tucket in the parade on friday. is it the one that wintered in north cove a few years back? you made me wonder what other occupations affect the way people working there talk and recalled a guy i worked with once who was a radio announcer with a booming voice. the smoothness and confidence of his voice made his ideas–quite crackpot sexist ones–initially believable. give my best to Nan and Win.

  2. Michael said, on 2011/10/30 at 08:13

    A light ship just sits there, yes? Weighs anchor, lights it’s light, and beeps? Does not sound exciting, though “light ship” sounds so benevolent and nice.

  3. o docker said, on 2011/10/30 at 12:53

    Maybe there’s another side to that ‘doghouse’ story we’re not hearing.

    When anxious crew returned home to their sweeties, one wonders what else may have been interrupted every two minutes.

  4. Mage Bailey said, on 2011/10/31 at 11:18

    Lovely doodle. I finally broke down and framed one of mine. Yours has more pazzaz. 🙂

  5. Guillermo Cerceau said, on 2011/11/04 at 12:21

    Great post and beautiful blog!

  6. Vagabonde said, on 2011/11/06 at 13:14

    That is a funny story. Your red ship has a lot of character. It looks happy.

  7. Capt. Mike said, on 2011/11/18 at 19:46

    Back in 2002 I took my boat BIANKA into the Erie Basin for a look see. I was heading up to Canada via the Erie Canal so I wanted to check out were the Erie Canal barges use to end up. There was a sunken Lightship there at the time with just the masts sticking up out of the water. Do you know if it is still there?

    • tugster said, on 2011/11/18 at 20:12

      as the damage was being done in erie basin to accommodate ikea, that lightship was scooped up when no one was looking except those who WERE looking. scrap? scuttled for reef making? i’ve never been able to find out.

  8. said, on 2014/03/01 at 20:32

    Love your sense of humor!

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