Digest>Archives> February 2002

Memorial Dedication and Reunion


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Lightship 613, Nantucket.
Photo by: Jerry Radloff

The lighthouses that dot the American landscape are familiar icons to most people but few realize that lighthouses were only one means used to alert sailors to dangerous waters.

Another very important aid to navigation operated by the Coast Guard were the many lightships that served as floating lighthouses. In later years the lightships were also equipped with other aids to navigation such as foghorns and LORAN radio transmitters.

For 163 years Lightships served a very vital function. The last lightship was decommissioned in 1983.

Life on a Lightship was much the same as duty on a lighthouse with on major difference which often produced moments of sheer terror for those who served onboard. Lightships were anchored and incapable of getting out of the way of a ship plowing through the seas in dense fog and bearing down on the Lightship at night.

The USCG Lightship Sailors Association is comprised of 400+ members who served on lightships as well as individuals who are dedicated to the preservation of these unique pieces of our maritime history.

The association will be holding a reunion of lightship sailors from August 1 to 5, 2002 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. As a part of the reunion the association will be dedicating a permanent memorial to the sailors who lost their lives while serving on a lightship.

The association has been working on this memorial for several years now and the names of the lightship sailors lost in the line of duty will be etched on a stone monument at the memorial site. In an effort not to miss any names the association is asking anyone who may have knowledge of individuals who lost their life while serving on a lightship to contact Mr. Marty Krzywicki no later than April 1, 2002 at 1-866-488-6166 or e-mail LightshipSailor@msn.com.

This story appeared in the February 2002 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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