Ship Tours: 10-3:30 Thursday-Monday...
Sundowner BBQ Night, July 28 - 6PM...
Sundowner, August 28 - 6 PM...
Fall Fest Closing Party, September 16 - 6 PM...

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

• Part Time Volunteer Needed: Audio/Visual
During the year, the Overfalls Foundation, sponsors a few events where audio/visual equipment is needed. We have both a power point projector and screen but need a volunteer to store these items and make them available when required and/or set them up at a meeting site. For additional Information contact Dr. Ray Glick at

Events & Happenings

• Sundowner BBQ Night
July 28th, 6 PM at the Ship
Details to follow.

• Sundowner Night
August 25th, 6 PM at the Ship
Details to follow.

• Fall Fest Closing Party
September 16th
Details to follow.

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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 - May 2016

The sun is shining today casting its rays on our lightship, leading us from winter and the rainy days of spring into the summer season. We look forward to opening day, May 28th and welcoming new friends and visitors.

All was not quiet over the winter as the Dirty Hands Gang volunteers kept watch and did any needed emergency maintenance repairs. They were especially busy during the January 23rd storm keeping watch on the tightening mooring lines during the flooding tides and gale force winds. The ship weathered the storm as if on official duty station.

Many volunteers are working hard to be ready for opening day. The Foundation curator, charged with the preservation of historical papers and artifacts, has on display many authentic items in the American Lightship Museum adjacent to the ship’s store. The ship’s store, excellently staffed by dedicated volunteers, has an exciting new inventory for sale suitable for all ages.

A special thank you to the Opening Party Committee volunteers who have contributed hundreds of hours preparing for the Opening Party.

We are pleased to announce that Lowe’s Home Improvement of Lewes has made a $2500 grant to the Foundation that will be used to replace the front deck of the store. Lowe’s is providing materials and labor.

The Monomoy lifeboat is currently being introduced to the Broadkill River for the purpose of water tightness testing and will soon be back on display.

The first recipients of the Foundation’s scholarship program have been selected and scholarship certificates will be presented at the Cape Henlopen Senior Awards ceremony on Thursday, June 2 at 6 PM. Two outstanding candidates will each receive a $750 scholarship. Overfalls representatives will be in attendance.

Remember the opening Party is on Friday, May 27th at the Virden Center, University of Delaware, 6-9 PM. This is a great event and a major funding benefit for the Foundation. Food, beverages and auction items will be some of the highlights of the evening. We look forward to seeing you there.


Thank you,
Albert Didden, President
The Overfalls Foundation

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