The Light

What is a lightship?

A lighthouse that floats, it serves the same function such as:

  • A light to aid navigation at night
  • A horn to warn mariners in fog
  • A radio beacon for longer range identification

Lighting the way
The Overfalls main aid to navigation was a 375 mm dual electric lantern located 57 feet above the water line. Rated at 15,000 candle power, (approximately 1,000 watts), it flashed every 3 seconds from dusk until dawn. On a clear night it could be seen for 12 miles.

The ship also had a dual diaphone fog horn with a range of 5 miles that sounded every 30 seconds in foggy weather.

A radio beacon with a range of 25 miles transmitted the call letters of the ship (NMJF) in Morse code. In foggy weather it was synchronized with the horn and broadcast every 30 seconds.

Click here to see Overfalls' full specifications.

Click here to read the about the history of lightships.

We've Made It!

This site tells the story of the eleven-year project to save and preserve one of America’s maritime treasures.  It’s a story of tens of thousands of volunteer hours of dirty work bringing one of the few remaining lightships back from the brink of ruin and all of the behind the scenes tasks that made it a reality.  It’s a story of community support that maintained the momentum when any rational person would have thrown in the towel.  And, it’s how this infectious community support spread farther afield raising the $1.2 million necessary to complete the project,

Home of the Lightship Overfalls in
Historic Lewes, Delaware

The Overfalls is one of only 17 remaining lightships out of a total of 179 built from 1820 to 1952.  Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011, it is one of seven lightships in this country still open to the public.  (What is a lightship, you ask?)

Come visit the Overfalls! 

We are opened for guided tours above and below decks five days a week (Thursday through Monday) seasonally. Check out the tour information and seasonal schedule here.

2014 Hall of Fame Nomination

Click HERE For The 2014 HOF Nomination Form

days left until nominations close!

Click HERE For a HOF Introduction & Eligibility Requirements

News and Events Summary

Season Opening Party and Auction
Tickets, $45, Available OnLine by Clicking HERE!
Or By Calling 302-593-7962
Friday May 23 at The Virden Center 6-9 pm
University of Delaware, 700 Pilottown Road Lewes, DE 19958

Maritime Day at the Cape May - Lewes Ferry Terminal
Saturday May 17 - Visit us at our booth!

3rd Annual Maritime Celebration at Zwaanendael Museum
Saturday May 24 - Visit us at our booth!

Grand Opening Dedication!
Stephanie Anne Pilot House and the Lightship Museum Wednesday June 4 at the Overfalls Lightship 4 pm

5th Annual Seafood and Art Festival at the Indian River Marina
Saturday July 26 - Visit us at our booth!

“Sundowners” at the ship
June 25, July 23, August 20

In the News with WBOC
Click here to see the WBOC Overfalls video

In the News with the Cape Gazette
Click here for coverage of the 2014 anchor drop!

Click HERE For a complete listing of Upcoming Events

St. Peters Hall is located at 211 Mulberry Street, Lewes DE

Membership Message from Tracy Muveny

Paint the Town Big Red!

The Overfalls Foundation and its American Lightship Museum is proud to announce the support of Community Bank Delaware for the 2014 event “Paint the Town Big Red” (Big Red being the Lightship Overfalls), the Opening Party and Auction to be held on Friday May 23rd from 6-9 PM at the Virden Center on the University of Delaware Lewes Campus. There will be both live and silent auctions offering bargains galore. Back by popular demand is the expanded “wine wall” lottery where guests can purchase a chance to win wine at a bargain price. This is THE EVENT to open the 2014 summer season in Lewes and the Foundation is thrilled to once again have the support of Community Bank Delaware!

Located on the canal front in Lewes, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011, the Lightship Overfalls is a perfectly restored example of a now extinct fleet of floating lighthouses. Through their continued sponsorship of the Foundation’s efforts, Community Bank Delaware has been a major supporter of the restoration and preservation process. In appreciation for this support the Bank was recently presented with a framed banner celebrating the 75th anniversary of the launch of the lightship in 1938.

Following the May 23rd event the Lightship and museum will open for visitors on Saturday May 24th at 10AM. Tours will continue through the summer until October 12. Hours of operation can be found online (click here).

Tickets are $45 each ($50 at the door) and include lively music, delicious food and beverages as well as live and silent auctions. Tickets for the event may be purchased online (click here), from any branch of Community Bank Delaware, the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, Kid’s Ketch and Puzzles/Gourmet all in Lewes or by calling 302-593-7962. This is often a sold out event so guests are encouraged to get their tickets early.

New Planned Giving Program Introduced

At the April 14 2013 Annual Breakfast meeting, Dave Bernheisel and Tracy Mulveny introduced the new Planned Living program. Read about it here.


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