Northeast End Lightship - Delaware Bay

History | Characteristics | Keepers


Lightships took on the name of the station to which they were assigned. For example, when Lightship #79 was assigned to the Northeast End station, "NORTHEAST END" was painted on both sides of her hull. When she was transferred to the Barnegat station, her hull was repainted to "BARNEGAT". When a lightship was brought into port for repairs, a spare lightship was assigned to the station for the duration of the repairs. These vessels had "RELIEF" painted on the hull to distinguish them from the normal lightship and, no doubt, to say time and money in repainting them. Over the course of time, there would be a number of lightships that served on a station, each bearing the name of the station, but they always retained their original hull numbers.

This lightship station was established in 1882 and takes its name from its position, about eight miles northeast of the Five Fathom Bank Lightship station.

The Northeast End Lightship was built in 1882 by Pussey & Jones in Wilmington, Delaware. She was the first iron lightship built as such in the United States. The Northeast End vessel was described as:

schooner rigged: cagework day-mark surmounted by ball at fore-masthead. Two foremast, red, and one on the mainmast, white, at half-mast high, and lower than red light: (visible) 11 1/2 miles and 10 miles respectively. Moored off the north-end of Five Fathom Bank. Vessels of deep draft should pass to east-ward of this light vessel. The fog signal is a 12 inch steam whistle: blasts, 4 seconds: alternate silent intervals, 5 and 107 seconds.

The Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board for 1881 reports:

Five Fathom Light-ship, northeast end, No. 44, off the entrance to Delaware Bay, New Jersey.--On June 14, 1 5,829 pound anchor with about five fathoms of 1 7/8 inch stud-chain, was lost. The cable parted while sighting the anchor and overhauling the moorings, by the failure of a defective link. The cable had been, however, subjected to the standard test. The spare anchor was let go in time to prevent a material change in the position of the ship. Another anchor was supplied. The vessel is in good order.

Number 44 was stationed on the northeast end of Five Fathom Bank from 1882-1926. She was then transferred to Cornfield Point, Connecticut where she served until 1938. A hurricane in 1938 almost destroyed her. She was damaged so badly that it was uneconomical to repair her and she was sold for scrap.

In 1926, #44 was relieved by Lightship #79 (#79 went on to become the Barnegat Lightship from 1945-1967). Lightship #111/WAL #533 took over the station in 1927 and remained until the station was discontinued in 1932. (LV #111 went on to become the Ambrose Lightship from 1932-1952).

Light Characteristics


2006 NJLHS