Overfalls Duty Station

The Overalls Shoals is a dangerous section of waterway at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, about mid-way between Cape May, NJ and Cape Henlopen, DE. The Overfalls duty station was located not too far away in order to mark the safe passage past the shoals and the entrance to the Delaware Bay channel. See the map below.

Channel marker buoy which replaced lightship on the Overfalls duty station.

The Overfalls Duty Station was established in 1898 and discontinued in 1960. The duty station marked the junction of traffic lanes leading north and south from the Delaware bay entrance. The last lightship serving the duty station was replaced by a channel marker buoy, the typical fate of nearly every lightship that served in the United States. The last American lightship completed service in 1983 and was decommissioned in 1985.

Over the 62 years the station was active, four different lightships were assigned:

  • 1898 – 1901 LV 46
  • 1901 – 1925 LV 69
  • 1926 – 1951 LV 101/WAL 524
  • 1951 – 1960 WLV 605

The most recent lightship to serve on the Overfalls duty station, WLV 605, is currently designated Relief, the last duty station on which she served. Relief is located at Jack London Square, in Oakland, California and is maintained by the United States Lighthouse Society as a tourist attraction. Click here to read more about the Relief.

The second most recent to serve on Overfalls, LV 101/WAL 524, is now located in Portsmouth, Virginia. After leaving the Overfalls station, she served on Stonehorse Shoal until being taken out of service in 1963. She is now a museum and is painted Portsmouth in honor of her new home at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. Click here to read more about the Portsmouth.