Lightship Overfalls

219 Pilot Town Rd
Lewes DE 19958

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The Lightship Overfalls, known to the men who served aboard as LV-118, was the last lightship built for the U.S. Lighthouse Service (USLHS). She was only one of the two lightships built in the 20th century for which the Congress made a separate appropriation for a lightship to serve on a specific station. She was built in East Boothbay, Maine in 1938 and incorporated the latest features of lightship design at the time, including steel bulkheads to compartmentalize the ship. She was the last lightship commissioned by the USLHS and the last built with a riveted construction. All subsequent lightships, and ships in general, were and are built using welded seam technology. One year after the Overfalls was commissioned, the USLHS and all of its assets (lightships, lighthouses, etc.) in 1939 were merged into the U.S. Coast Guard, so for almost all of the ship's service life she was a Coast Guard ship with uniformed Coast Guard crews aboard. In 1973, the Coast Guard donated the ship to the Lewes Historical Society (LHS) to serve as a floating museum in Lewes, Delaware. LHS brought her to her current location on the canal in downtown Lewes and painted on a new station name, OVERFALLS, in honor of the lightship station closest to Lewes. The Overfalls station is in the mouth of Delaware Bay where lightships had served as a mid-channel marker from 1898 to 1960 when the station was discontinued.