The frequently asked questions below are actual questions asked by visitors touring the Overfalls. If you have a question about the Lightship Overfalls you would like answered, please use the Contact Us link at the top of the page. We will answer your question quickly and consider adding it to our list below.

The total crew was 14 and they were broken into three sections and worked on a weekly rotation. So, the duty was two weeks on and one week off. On average, there would be 7-10 men on board at any given time while on station as sailors would be allowed time off or could be in training or performing other functions ashore.

The ship was the last one built for the U.S. Lighthouse Service (USLHS, a federal civilian agency) in 1938. In 1939, the USLHS and all of its assets (lightships, lighthouses, etc.) were merged into the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). So, for most of its service life, the ship was manned and operated under the direction of the USCG.

Usually the officers would eat at the table back in the wardroom reserved for them but on occasion they would eat at a table in the mess decks.

When the ship was underway, especially in close quarters, the captain would be up on the weather deck above the pilothouse giving orders over a phone to the helmsman. On long voyages in open water the helmsman could stay on course by using the horizon and the compass. On those occasions a lookout would be posted to ensure that they didn’t hit or run over anything.

There were always two people on watch 24 hours, 7 days a week. Those off watch during working hours would be doing maintenance tasks and generally keeping the ship shipshape. The ship carried two cooks with the intent of almost always having at least one aboard. The cooks did not stand watch but their day started at 5:30 am and didn’t end until the galley was squared away after the evening meal, usually about 6:30 pm.

They are longer than they look, a little over six feet. People used to be shorter than they are now; it used to be that a six footer was a tall person.

It was right in the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The ship served as a mid-channel marker; inbound ships went on one side of her and outbound ships went on the other side. This was much closer to the Delaware side than the New Jersey side. (click here for map)

The Overfalls Shoal is so named because there is an overfalls there. Overfalls is a marine term for an “underwater waterfall”. It happens where there is a steep drop off under the water associated with a strong current. As the water passes this drop off it creates turbulence on the surface.

That is the lanyard to toot the ship’s whistle. It won’t work right now because we are not running the air compressor. But, if you come back on New Years Eve, during the boat parade or other festivals, we may have the compressor running and you could hear it.

Click here for the latest listing of the Honored Donors.  A copy is also on hand at the Ship Store when you visit the ship.  (Click here for more information regarding Naming Opportunities)