Lightship "Portsmouth"

Located near Portside at the downtown waterfront
in the City of Portsmouth

[Lightship Museum]

(main deck only)

The landlocked ship has been restored and turned into a museum. The light atop the mast remains active 24 hours a day every day. It is owned and operated by Portsmouth Museums and is a National Historic Landmark. It is open for tours. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 1pm to 5pm. Closed Mondays. Admission: $1.00

More photos of Portsmouth Lightship.

Portsmouth Lightship Museum: (757) 393-8741

Lightship Vessel #101 was launched on January 12, 1916. Her first station was off Cape Charles, Virginia beginning in the Fall of 1916. She was named CHARLES and her home port was Portsmouth. During the next 8 years she sustained 8 collisions with ships passing through the Capes and had spent a considerable amount of time in the shipyard.

In 1924 she underwent an overhaul. The rerbuilt ship was sent to a new station in 1926. Renamed OVERFALLS, she was stationed off Cape Henlopen, Delaware, with Cape May, NJ as her home port. During the next 15 years she was hit about 16 times by ships entering the Delaware Bay. When the Lighthouse Service merged with the Coast Guard in 1939, LV 101 was redesignated WAL 524. She remained on station at Overfalls until 1951 when she underwent another overhaul.

Her next assignment was as RELIEF at the Nantucket Station 25 miles into the Atlantic. Nine months later the "Nantucket" returned to duty and WAL 524 was transferred to Stonehorse Shoals, located halfway between Nantucket and Cape Cod. She was renamed STONEHORSE. Stonehorse Station was discontinued in the Fall of 1963 and the ship was transferred to Cross Rip Shoals in Nantucket Sound. The ship was renamed CROSS RIP.

In the beginning of 1964 she was ordered to Boston for decommissioning. While underway to Boston she broke down and had to be towed in. She was decommissioned on January 12, 1964, exactly 48 years after her launch. The ship was donated upon request to the City of Portsmouth, Virginia on April 24, 1967, her original home port. Since it is the custom to take on the name of the station where standing duty, the ship was renamed PORTSMOUTH.

This information was supplied by the Lightship Museum.


1990 USGS Satellite image of the Portsmouth Lightship
courtesy of Microsoft TerraServer


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