Lightship LV-112 Mystery of Oyster Bay
After serving 39 years at Nantucket Shoals, Nantucket Lightship LV-112 has been bounced around New England and New York exchanging ownership seven times like a Yankee privateer ship escaping a British sea hunt (2).
In 1936, the British government paid $300,956 to build the largest American Lightship after their SS Olympic White Star liner sank the Nantucket Lightship LV-117 on May 15, 1934. Four men sank with the ship, three survivors later died of exposure, and four men survived the British ramming.
The current mystery began on December 7, 1975, when “The Dirty Dozen” of Nantucket rescued their Nantucket Lightship from Atlantic City, New Jersey officials who bought the Lightship at a government surplus auction. Atlantic City exchanged the Lightship for a surplus Boston Lightship. For 9 years, the historic Lightship was a floating museum in Nantucket Harbor.
Before we fast forward to the present mystery, Nantucket Lightship LV-112 has a colorful exchange of tours and ports until 2006 when Oyster Bay of Long Island received a notice to terminate the illegal occupancy of the Trespass Vessel, Nantucket 112 from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The National Lighthouse Museum originally planned to use the Lightship as their flagship to be docked next to the museum at Pier One On Staten Island. In 2003, Nantucket Lightship LV-112 sailed to Oyster Bay for the annual Oyster Festival and has been in Lightship Limbo ever since.
Nantucket Lightship LV-112 has been temporarily berthed at the Jakobson Pier in Oyster Bay for the past four and half years. Last year, Jerry Roberts, a National Lighthouse Museum board member, announced the sale of the “First Light of America“(1) for $1 to any nonprofit group able to repair, maintain, and open the Lightship to the public.
Without skipping a beat or pausing to explain how a evicted ship might be adopted, Newsday published mysterious news claiming Oyster Bay is trying to adopt the ship in Lightship Limbo! Somehow, the trespassing vessel has escaped eviction and the long arm of marshal law! At the same time, Oyster Bay must establish a nonprofit corporation before the struggling National Lighthouse Museum will transfer ownership of their beleaguered ship!
No further news online has been published about the Lightship adoption progress since the Newsday article which was published six months ago. In the meantime, the “First Light of America” suffers the indignity of deterioration, rust, and vandalism while overdue restoration continues to be delayed. Maybe, the National Park Service or a government online auction could save this American treasure?
(1) Nantucket Lightship LV-112 was one of many floating Lighthouses that marked the hazardous shallow sea near a busy sea lane. Nantucket Lightship was the only U.S. Lightship stationed in international waters 100 miles out from the mainland and was nicknamed the Statue of Liberty of the Sea because she was the first Light and sign of American civilization seen by European immigrants!
(2) Revolutionary humor for a famous American Lightship (LV-112/WAL 534) built in 1936 with British funds after the British liner, SS Olympic, the sister ship of the Titanic, sank LV-117 on May 15, 1934. LV-112/WAL 534, the Largest Lightship built, 148-feet 10-inches long, was Decommissioned on Mar 28, 1975 and docked at Chelsea, Massachusetts.
List of Ownership Transfers:
1. Atlantic City, N.J. bought the Lightship at a government surplus auction
2. Dec 6-7, 1975 to 1984: floating museum at Nantucket
The Dream Location: Google Map of Nantucket Lightship LV-112
3. 1984 debarked for Maine as a maritime education center
1986: sold Nantucket Lightship Preservation Inc. , Boston
July 3/4, 1986 at Statue of Liberty rededication ceremony
4. 1987-1988: On display at several Maine Ports, docked at Portland, Maine
5. 1988-1997: Intrepid Air-Sea-Space Museum -daily Public Tours in New York City
6. 1997-2002: The HMS Rose Foundation in Bridgeport, Conn and docked at
Captain’s Cove Seaport – not maintained and fell into disrepair
7. 2002 Mar 30: National Lighthouse Museum, Staten Island New York City
The Proposed Location of Nantucket Lightship LV-112: Google Map of Nantucket Lightship LV-112
8. 2003-2008: In Lightship Limbo at Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York
The Present Location of Nantucket Lightship LV-112: Google Map of Nantucket Lightship LV-112
Posted on March 17, 2008, in History, Politics, Preservation News, Relocation and tagged History, Lightship LV-112 Mystery, Politics, Preservation News, Relocation. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.