At: Pusey & Jones, Wilmington, DE
Length: 101 feet 10 inches
Beam: 25 feet
Draft: 11 feet 4 inches
Displacement: 360 tons
Illumination Apparatus: 500mm lens with six flash panels
Fog Signal: 6″ air siren, submarine bell, hand operated bell
Propulsion: One 200 HP Meitz & Weiss four cylinder two-cycle direct reversing kerosene engine; four-bladed propeller.
521 Middle Street
Portsmouth, VA 23704-3708
Address to Visit:
London Slip (intersection of London & Water Streets)
Fax: (757) 393-5224
Latitude: 36.836977, Longitude: -76.2961719
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Lightship Portsmouth was designated LV 101 when commissioned, but her name changed every time she moved to a new station. She served for 48 years off the coasts of Virginia, Delaware and Massachusetts.
So she was named Charles in 1916 when assigned to Cape Charles in Virginia as in the photo below.
Her hull is of a steel whaleback design, which helps to keep it on an even keel in stormy seas. It was one of only two such rounded-hull lightships ever constructed. The ship’s illuminating apparatus first consisted of a 500 mm lens with six flash panels set in a rotating motion by weight-driven clockwork. The light itself was derived from a kerosene lamp of 24,000 candlepower set inside a cylindrical lantern. LV 101 was equipped with a number of fog signals as well: a 6 inch air siren was on deck, complimented by a submarine bell and a thousand pound bell which was operated by hand. Over time each of these was updated.
In 1964 she was decommissioned and shortly later became a museum in Portsmouth, VA.
Lightship Portsmouth is a National Historic Landmark.