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

• Monomoy Lifeboat & Stephanie Anne pilot house Highlighted by CapeGazette
The August 31, September 4 & September 11 CapeGazette editions highlight the Stephanie Anne pilot house conversion to an artifact museum, the Monomoy lifeboat's trip to its permanent display shed from its renovation location in the old Lewes power house and the dedication ceremony.

• Overfalls Helps Teachers! 
As part of the Lewes Education Coalition, a day is set aside each year to provide teachers with field trip ideas they can take back to their schools. Click here to read how Overfalls played a role.

• 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

• Annual Membership Meeting
Friday October 9th, 7:00 - 9:00pm at St. Peters Church Hall.
Annual membership meeting, election of Board of Directors and presentation by Dr. Suzanne Thurman of MERR.

• Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame Induction Banquet
Saturday October 17th, 5:30pm - 9:00pm at the Lewes Yacht Club.
Franklin Daiber, Mike DiPaolo, Willis Hand, Jacob Jones and Elaine Simmerman will be inducted that evening.
Make your banquet reservations here.

• Presentation Open To The Public
Friday November 13th, 7:00 - 9:00pm at St. Peters Church Hall.
Dr. Ray Glick speaking on travels in Cuba today.

• Annual Membership Holiday Party
Friday December 11th, 7:00 - 9:00pm at the Inn at Canal Square.

If you don't receive our emails of events, click here to sign up.
Click here for our Calendar of Upcoming Events and Ship Activities
St. Peters Hall is located at 211 Mulberry Street, Lewes DE

President's Message

Summer season 2015 for the Overfalls Lightship is in full operation. The Dirty Hands Gang had the ship in sparkling condition for the opening of tours that have been excellent.

The Opening Gala held at the University of Delaware’s Virden Center was a great success attended by over 350 guests and supporters. This outstanding event is truly one of the great social events of the year. If you missed this year’s opening please mark your calendar for next year!

Many visitors have been registering for tours at the ship’s store that is offering new items for sale. Adjacent to the ship’s store is the museum rich with many artifacts reflective of the Lightship service with a substantive collection of historical maritime items.

Restoration of the Monomoy boat is complete with the unveiling presentation scheduled for late summer. The Monomoy has a history dating back to 1740.

Several safety enhancements have been made this year including safety treads on the gangway and fall prevention screens along the gangway walk.

There were 11 entries in the July 4th boat parade with awards presented on the Lightship by Mayor Ted Becker. Large crowds enjoyed the festivities as the decorated boats motored down the canal.

Please join us for our Beef and Brew social on Friday, August 14th, 6-8PM. at the Lightship. Tickets go on sale the week of August 3rd and all are welcome. Music provided by Buffalo Chip and the Heard.

Lightship tours will continue until October 11, 2015.

The Overfalls Foundation thanks all of our visitors, members, volunteers and supporters for a successful season. Your continuing support is vital in allowing the Foundation to continue our work in maintaining and preserving this National Historic Landmark for current and future generations. We cannot succeed without you.

We sincerely thank you,

Albert Didden Jr.

See all our Business Members by Clicking here
(click on Members below to visit their web site)

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