U.S. Coast Guard Lightships

& Those of the U.S. Lighthouse Service


 

LIGHTSHIP WLV-612

NANTUCKET I


YEAR BUILT: 1950

BUILT AT: Curtis Bay (MD)

APPROPRIATION: ?

BUILDER: USCG Yard

CONTRACT PRICE: $500,000

SISTER VESSELS: WLV 613

DESIGN: Diesel propelled; steel hull and deckhouses; breakwater on foredeck; 2 masts; stack amidships

LENGTH: 128'0" (loa); BEAM: 30'0"; DRAFT: 11'0" TONNAGE: 617 displ

PROPULSION: Diesel - 550 HP

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: Duplex 500mm electric lens lantern on foremast only; l5,000cp each light

FOG SIGNAL: Twin F2T diaphones mounted aft of pilot house


CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: 
-
Same general plan and features as WLV 189-
-Used all-welded construction; transverse bulkheads carried to weather deck level; hawsepipes carried to weather deck before leading to chain locker; alternating current electrical system throughout-
-Designated WAL 612 when built; designation changed to WLV in 1965-
-1971: High intensity light installed on mainmast; using 24 locomotive headlights arranged in groups of 6 on each face of a four-sided revolving lamp housing; duplex lantern retained on foremast-
-1982: RACON installed-

Radio/visual call sign NMDN (1950-1983)

STATION ASSIGNMENTS: 
1951-1969: San Francisco (CA)
1969-1971: Blunts Reef (CA)
1971-1975: Portland (ME)
1975-1983: Nantucket Shoals (MA)

(designated Nantucket I in 1979; thereafter WLV 612 & 613 alternated on the Nantucket station, relieving each other approximately every 21 days from 1979-1983)


HISTORICAL NOTES:
-1951/1971: Service as indicated under station assignments-
-1971: Made West Coast to East Coast transit; transferred to 1st District-
-1983: The lightship served as a radar platform for Vice President George Bush when he resided in his vacation home.  Vice President Bush was visiting aboard the lightship when Soviet fighters downed Korean Airlines Flight 007 in the Sea of Japan on 1 September 1983.  He departed quickly to return to Washington, D.C.*
-1983: Dec 20, relieved by WLV 613 at 0230 and departed for Boston. (WLV 613 then marked the Nantucket station briefly until approximately 0800 when replaced by LNB)-
-1983/84/85: After leaving station, WLV 612 remained officially designated as a lightship although performing duty as a cutter, participating in various law enforcement, security and public relations missions-
-1984 (September 26) - 1985 (February 2): proceeded to southern waters and participated in exercises to evaluate her suitability as a support vessel for surface effect ships and patrol cutters engaged in law enforcement operations. While conducting these exercises, she towed a disabled Coast Guard surface effects ship to safety after the former drifted close to Cuban national waters.  She was relieved of the tow just outside of Miami harbor.*  Despite this success, however, the extent of modifications required for the lightship to perform as a support vessel were not considered cost effective and the vessel returned to Boston.

WLV 612 (Nantucket I) was the last US lightship in commission

RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1983; AGE: 33

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: 

Decommissioned Mar 29, 1985; sold to Boston Educational Marine Exchange Jul 7, 1985; to be given pseudo name "Boston". Returned to GSA due to financial problems. Acquired by Boston MDC, to be placed on display at Georges Island, Boston Harbor.  Converted to a yacht with her exterior remaining configured as a lightship.  Still in Boston and is up for sale for $7 million dollars (mid-2006).


COMMANDING OFFICERS:

1950: BOSN-1 Fred L. Finlay commanding officer upon commissioning of the ship 18 September 1950 at the Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, Maryland.
1950: LT James E. Fleming relieved BOSN Finlay as voyage commander on 3 October for the trip to the West Coast.  BOSN Finlay remained on board as executive officer.
1950: Upon completion of the voyage, LT Fleming departed and BOSN Finlay resumed command on 5 December 1950 at CG Base Yerba Buena Island, San Francisco, California
1950: 5 December CHBOSN Fred L. Finlay
1952: 15 January BOSN Edwin H. Baird
1955: 26 October CHBOSN Fred L. Finlay
1958: 30 December CHBOSN William H. Blaylock
1960: 1 June CHBOSN James B. Gill
1962: 28 December BOSN James C. Sawyer
1964: 24 October BOSN A.K. Fenne
19??: 1967 logbooks missing; CHBOSN Francis A. France
1968: 20 September CHBOSN W.W. Croft
1969: June CHBOSN Koenig
1970: 24 June CHOBSN R.W. Goodrich

[The above information was provided to the Historian's Office by J.B. Gill, USCG (Ret.) and we are grateful for his assistance.]

1971: CWO R.W. Minzy [Information provided by John Fridge]
1972: LCDR Jack E. Arrington, CO (voyage commander, San Francisco-Boston)
1972-1973: CWO Richard D'Entremont, CO
1975: CWO Richard E. Rainville, CO
1975-1977: CWO J. P. Allwein, CO
1977-1979: CWO Donald W. Cowell, CO
1979-1981: CWO Larry A. Everman, CO
1981: CWO H. W. Davis Jr, CO
1981-1983: CWO Robert C. Collins, CO
1983-1985: CWO Dana P. Lewis


*Our thanks to MK1 Rick Bennett, USCG (Ret.) for this information.

Photographs: (Click thumb-nail to see full-size image) Original photo caption; description; date & photo number (if known):

Photo of the WLV-612

 No caption; 1950; no photo number; photographer unknown.

 The WLV-612 launching, Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, 1950.

Photo of the WLV-612

 No caption; 1950; no photo number; photographer unknown.

 The WLV-612 launching, Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, 1950.

Photo of the WLV-612

"Launching of Lightship San Francisco at Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, Maryland, on a Saturday morning in late July or early August 1950. It appears that the National Anthem is being played at this moment."; no photo number; photographer unknown.

Photo of the WLV-612

 No caption; 1950; no photo number; photographer unknown.

 The WLV-612 launching, Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, 1950.

Photo of the WLV-612

 No caption; 1950; no photo number; photographer unknown.

 The WLV-612 launching, Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, 1950.

Photo of the WLV-612

 No caption; 1950; no photo number; photographer unknown.

 The WLV-612 launching, Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, 1950.

A photo of the lightship 612

 WLV-612 on Blunt's Reef Lightship Station, circa 1970.

 Taken from slide image, courtesy of former crewman David Luiz.

A photo of the lightship 612

 WLV-612 on Blunt's Reef Lightship Station, circa 1970.

 Taken from slide image, courtesy of former crewman David Luiz.

A photo of lightship 612s ships patch.

 WLV-612's official ship's patch, 1975-1983.

 Provided courtesy of MK1 Rick Bennett, USCG (Ret.), through Doug Bingham.


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Last Modified 6/26/2012