Class: LV-100 Lightship
At: Charleston Drydock and Machine Company, Charleston, South Carolina
Length: 133 feet
Beam: 30 feet
Draft: 13 feet
Displacement: 633 tons
Complement: 5 officers, 1 cook, 10 seaman
Signals: 375mm, 13,000 candlepower electric lens lantern at each masthead; Electric diaphragm horn using 4-way multiple horn F2T; hand operated bell; Radio beacon
Armament: (WW II) two 20mm guns
Baltimore Maritime Museum
802 S. Caroline St.
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Fax: (410) 396-3393
Latitude: 39.285698, Longitude: -76.608784
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Lightship 116 – now called Chesapeake – was built for the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1930. For the next 40 years, she served as a floating lighthouse and communications platform. Her first duty station was Fenwick Island, Delaware. In 1933, she first assumed the name Chesapeake, from her new position off the coast of Virginia at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. She was redesignated WAL-538 in 1939, when the Lighthouse Service was absorbed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
In 1942, shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, Chesapeake was given light armament, painted battleship gray and moved to Sandwich, Massachusetts to serve as an Examination Vessel. After the war, she returned to the Chesapeake station. She ended her service at the Delaware Bay station in 1970.
After retirement, she was transferred to the National Park Service, and began a new career as a seagoing environmental center in Washington, D.C. In 1981, as Chesapeake, she joined the Baltimore Maritime Museum’s collection of historic ships.
Lightship-116 is a National Historic Landmark.