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,

Historic Landmark Lightship Overfalls
Lewes, Delaware

The Lightship 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?)

Ship News

• 2015 Membership Renewal

Don't you feel a sense of pride when you see our beautiful restored Lightship Overfalls beckoning to all as she stands proudly in her berth? We hope so, because it is because of your membership, contributions, dedication, and good spirits that she not only is beautiful and a contributor to the City's well-being, but also a National Historic Landmark and thriving museum.

Renew today! You can either print and mail your form or process payment online. While you’re at it, ask your friends to join you in being a member too!

• Donate to Overfalls Through Your Amazon Purchases
When you shop at Amazon, through their AmazonSmile program, Amazon will donate a small percentage of your purchase to the Overfalls Foundation at no cost to you. Learn how to make this no cost donation every time you shop at Amazon or, if you already have an Amazon account, logon to AmazonSmile automatically.

Events & Happenings

• 2015 Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame Nominations
Nominations close May 31, 2015
Click for HOF Introduction & Eligibility Requirements
Click for The 2015 HOF Nomination Form

• Public Speaker & Membership Meeting
Friday March 13, 7:00 pm at St. Peters Hall
Red Moulinier of the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation (click) speaking on the history and restoration progress of our Delaware Bay Lighthouses. Additional details to follow in an email.

• Breakfast with the Mayor
Sunday April 19, 8:30 a.m. at the Lewes Yacht Club
Join us as Lewes Mayor Ted Becker shares his vision for Lewes and his involvement, as chair, of the following commissions: Canalfront Park Marina, Capital Projects and the Mitigation Planning Team and their impact to the Overfalls Foundation. Tickets are $17 and can be purchased here or from Joan Reader @ 645-9290.

• Season Opening Party
Friday May 22, 6-9 p.m. at the Virden Center - Tickets are $45.
Details to follow but clear your calender for this spectacular event!

If you don't receive our emails of events, click here to sign up.
Click here for our Calendar of Upcoming Events and Ship Activities
St. Peters Hall is located at 211 Mulberry Street, Lewes DE

President's Message

My name is Albert Didden Jr. and I would like to thank the Overfalls Foundation membership for the opportunity serve as their new president.

The following is a brief biography which will tell you a little about myself: I was born and raised in Washington DC and am now living in Maryland and Lewes, Delaware (weekends). Currently, I work full time as the President and CEO of Virginia Management Inc., a Virginia-based real estate management company, celebrating our 25th year. Recently, I served as the President of the Northern Virginia Apartment Association located in Arlington, Virginia. Our family includes my wife-Andrea, son-Jason, daughter-in-law - Amy and their two children - Justin and Peter. We enjoy many Lewes activities including sailing, boating, swimming and fishing.

The Lightship Overfalls is fortunate to have a great membership of highly dedicated volunteers. I am honored to join those volunteers by serving on the Overfalls Foundation Board as its President and as a guide soon to serve my eleventh year giving lightship tours during the 2015 season. This next year will see more exciting opportunities to present the story of our lightship, the sailors who served her and the maritime life they experienced. As our museum continues to grow in stature we will see more visitors and have many exciting experiences to offer them.

As President, my goal is to continue the outstanding tradition of dedication and volunteerism that has guided the restoration and preservation of this National Historic Landmark. Every volunteer and every contributor forms part of the strong anchor chain that holds the ship in place for future generations. Every link is critical to our overall strength and success. I hope you will join me in continuing these traditions that have made our story unique in the field of maritime historic preservation. We are indeed fortunate to be associated with this National Historic Landmark, a vital link to our nation’s maritime history. I look forward to meeting and working with many of you in the year ahead.

Albert Didden Jr.

Planned Giving Program

At the April 14 2013 Annual Breakfast meeting, Dave Bernheisel and Tracy Mulveny introduced the new Planned Living program. Learn more.

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