Digest>Archives> June 2008

Is Barnegat Lightship in its Final Days?


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The Barnegat Lightship is shown here in a state of extreme deterioration at the Pyne Point Marina in Camden, New Jersey from recent photographs taken by Brian Seeman.

Over the years there were a number of different plans to make the vessel into a floating museum and many promises were made to restore and save the historic vessel. None of those plans ever materialized.

There are very few lightships left in existence in the United States. For those of you just getting interested in lighthouses, a lightship is basically a floating lighthouse. Lightships were stationed in areas where it was either too dangerous or too expensive to build a lighthouse. Lightships were never allowed to leave their station, regardless of what the weather was. Lightship duty was considered the most dangerous of all assignments for members of the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. In fact many lightship sailors lost their lives in the line of duty.

Although the Barnegat Lightship is on the National Register of Historic Places, the entitlement of that honor does not provide for any protection or saving of the vessel. In fact, even the exact ownership of the vessel seems to be in question. It appears that another slice of America's lighthouse history could soon disappear, especially if it gets sold for scrap as did the New Bedford Lightship.

This story appeared in the June 2008 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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