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

• 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.

• Volunteers Needed as Ship Guides
Join Our Winning Team of Volunteers. Click here for Additional Information.

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

• Ship Birthday & George Elliot Memorial
Wednesday June 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Ship

• Lewes Boat Parade
Saturday July 4, 1 p.m. at the Ship
Award ceremony on Ship at approximately 3:15 p.m.

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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.

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