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
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).