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

• George Elliot (1937-2014)
Sadly we report that George Elliott, Captain, USN retired, passed away at home in his sleep Friday night October 17, 2014. George was a founding member of the Overfalls Foundation and leaves a legacy of leadership and dedication that will guide future generations of volunteers for the Overfalls Lightship Foundation. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family. Click here for the Cape Gazette obituary.

• 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.

• WHYY Overfalls Video
Click to watch WHYY's segment of how the Ship was saved including interviews with Tracy Mulveny and Bill Reader and footage of the Ship's “before” and “after” condition.

Events & Happenings

• New Year's Eve Anchor Drop
Wednesday December 31, 11pm-12:30am at The Ship

• Public Speaker & Membership Meeting
Friday January 9, 7:00 pm at St. Peters Hall
Dr. Gary Wray discussing Ft. Miles, it's historical importance and current projects. Additional details to follow in an email.

• Public Speaker & Membership Meeting
Friday February 13, 7:00 pm at St. Peters Hall
Marvin Barrash book signing and lecture on the disappearance of the U.S.S. Cyclops. Click here to view a utube National Geographic presentation of “Drain The Bermuda Triangle” that includes a segment on the U.S.S. Cyclops at the 27:30 mark. Additional details to follow in an email.

• Mardi Gras Night Fund Raiser
Tuesday February 17, 5-9pm at Irish Eyes Pub & Resturant, 213 Anglers Road Lewes. Irish Eyes will donate a percentage of your meal expense to the Overfalls Foundation and you could be the 50-50 winner.

• Public Speaker & Membership Meeting
Friday March 13, 7:00 pm at St. Peters Hall
Red Molineaux 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.

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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

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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The Big Lift and Beyond
by David Bernheisel
Purchase Here

 

Lightships - Floating Lighthouses of the Mid-Atlantic, by Wayne Kirklin
Purchase Here


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