The Light

What is a lightship?

A lighthouse that floats, it serves the same function such as:

  • A light to aid navigation at night
  • A horn to warn mariners in fog
  • A radio beacon for longer range identification

Lighting the way
The Overfalls main aid to navigation was a 375 mm dual electric lantern located 57 feet above the water line. Rated at 15,000 candle power, (approximately 1,000 watts), it flashed every 3 seconds from dusk until dawn. On a clear night it could be seen for 12 miles.

The ship also had a dual diaphone fog horn with a range of 5 miles that sounded every 30 seconds in foggy weather.

A radio beacon with a range of 25 miles transmitted the call letters of the ship (NMJF) in Morse code. In foggy weather it was synchronized with the horn and broadcast every 30 seconds.

Click here to see Overfalls' full specifications.

Click here to read the about the history of lightships.

We've Made It!

This site tells the story of the eleven-year project to save and preserve one of America’s maritime treasures.  It’s a story of tens of thousands of volunteer hours of dirty work bringing one of the few remaining lightships back from the brink of ruin and all of the behind the scenes tasks that made it a reality.  It’s a story of community support that maintained the momentum when any rational person would have thrown in the towel.  And, it’s how this infectious community support spread farther afield raising the $1.2 million necessary to complete the project,


Historic Landmark Lightship Overfalls
Lewes, Delaware

The Lightship Overfalls is one of only 17 remaining lightships out of a total of 179 built from 1820 to 1952.  Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011, it is one of seven lightships in this country still open to the public.  (What is a lightship, you ask?)

Ship News

• Come visit the Overfalls! 
We are opened for guided tours above and below decks on a seasonal schedule. Learn more about tours and our seasonal schedule .

Events & Happenings

• Lewes Boat Parade
Saturday July 4, 1 p.m. at the Ship
See it from the Ship, including tour, $5
Award ceremony on Ship at approximately 3:15 p.m.

• BBQ at the Ship
Wednesday July 22, 6:30 p.m. at the Ship
Tickets are $15 per adult and $6 for children under 12.
Tickets on sale beginning 7/6 at the Ship's Store or by calling 593-7962 (no online sales for this event).

• Indian River Seafood & Arts Festival
Saturday July 25, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the Indian River Marina
39415 Inlet Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Come visit our display.

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Click here for our Calendar of Upcoming Events and Ship Activities
St. Peters Hall is located at 211 Mulberry Street, Lewes DE

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(click on Members below to visit their web site)

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