U.S. Coast Guard Lightships

& Those of the U.S. Lighthouse Service



An 1895 photo of LV 54 on the Boston station.

"BOSTON LIGHT-VESSEL, NO. 54, MASS."  Scanned from the 1901 Light List, Plate V.  Photo by N. L. Stebbins, 1895.

Office of the Lighthouse Board. List of Lights and Fog Signals on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. Corrected to June 30, 1901. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1901. 


BUILT AT: West Bay City (MI)



CONTRACT PRICE: $53,325 ($213,300 for 4 ships)


DESIGN: Iron hull and fastenings; 2 masts with spencers, 2 daymarks; stack ahead of mainmast; flush decked aft to foremast; hawsepipe thru stem, aligned with center line

LENGTH: 1190" (loa); BEAM: 266"; DRAFT: 120"; TONNAGE: 375 displ, 310 gross

PROPULSION: Steam screw-single compound condensing engine, 14" & 24" bores x 16" stroke; 150 IEP; 2 Scotch boilers 8'dia x 9'lg; 90 psi; max speed 6 knots; coal capacity 52 tons; also rigged for sail carried on spencer masts

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: 2 lanterns, each with 8 oil lamps and reflectors

FOG SIGNAL: 12" steam chime whistle; hand operated 1000-lb bell


One of the first group of 4 lightships to have hawsepipe through the stem
1893: 25 tons pig-iron ballast added
1910: Equipped with submarine bell signal
1914/15: Masts removed; replaced with single short lantern mast topped with incandescent oil-vapor (IOV) lens lantern; repowered with diesel main engine.
1915: Fog signal changed to air siren
1919: Equipped with radio
1921: Illuminant changed from 107 to acetylene
1923: Equipped with radio-beacon transmitting Morse "N" every 15 seconds
1929: Acetylene lens lantern converted to electric operation
1945: Fitted with detection radar
Radio & Visual Call Sign NNGQ (1940-1946)


1892-1894: Nantucket New South Shoal (MA)
1894-1940: Boston (MA)
1940-1943: Relief (MA)
1943-1946: Boston (MA)

(1892: Nov l3, Nantucket position moved 10 mi SW of former position)
(1900 Boston position moved 1 mi northerly from former station)
(During the period 1892-1894 some sources indicate that the vessel remained on the Nantucket station only a short time, and that Relief LV 9 and/or Relief LV 39 may have marked the station. Since no conclusive evidence is available showing this, dates of assignment above are taken from the Annual Reports)
(1943-1946 Although no absolute proof has been found, it is very probable that this vessel was assigned to the Boston station during this period. Light Lists of the time give information in line with the characteristics of LV 54, and the vessel regularly assigned to Boston station (LV 81/WAL 507) was in the Fifth District during 19421945


1892: Oct 5, delivered to Woods Hole MA by contractor; "alterations" made; fitted out and supplied
1892: Nov 13, placed on Nantucket New South Shoal; repositioned 10 mi SW of former station. (Relief LV 9, marking former station since Jun 14, withdrawn)
1893: Apr-Jun 21, off station for repairs; 25 tons pig iron ballast installed; new propeller installed; considered unsuitable for such an exposed station
1894:Sep 15, withdrawn and repaired (replaced by LV 58)
1894: Oct 1, placed on Boston (MA) showing 2 FR lights; 42-19-23N / 70-45-04W in 84 feet
1894/1895 Appropriations totaling $105,000 approved for new vessel for the Boston station; contract awarded
1896: Jul 15-29, relieved (by LV 39) for bottom painting and repair
1897: Dec 8-20, ditto
1898: Nov 27, dragged off station in gale; steamed back to station 2 days later
1898: May 10-25, hauled for bottom work and engine repairs
1900: Jan 9, position moved 1 mi N (6 mi E 1/2 5 from Boston Light) in order to better mark deeper water access to Boston harbor
1901: May 31-Jun 25, relieved (by LV 58) for boiler work and engine room repairs.
1902: Aug 1-15, relieved (by LV 58) for repair
Same entry for 1903 May 11-20; 1904 May 8; 1905 Jun 14-30
1906: Aug 31-?, Relieved (by LV 53) for repair (LV 53 had been brought from Charleston SC on temporary loan to 1st and 2d Districts)
Up until 1906 there were newspaper accounts of the lightship being bumped, butted and scraped by passing vessels, apparently without serious damage.
1915: Apr, Rammed by steamer QUANTICO
1935: Dec 20, rammed by British steamer SEVEN SEAS SPRAY, which had just dropped the pilot and when 800 feet from the lightship, steering gear jammed causing collision. LV 54 was holed at water line, crew stuffed bags of coal into gash and remained afloat until towed to drydock by tender ARBUTUS.
1940: Mar 8, withdrawn from Boston station and assigned relief duty, stationed at Woods Hole. Served again on Boston station 1943-1946



Decommissioned Jul 23, 1946; sold Sep 15, 1947


1892-1894: David B Ray, Master
1892-1894: James C Remsen, Mate
1894: James Jorgensen, Master (Jan-Sep)
1894: Albert W Matthews, Master (Sep-Oct)
1895: Alexander F Snow, Mate (Mar-Apr)
1896-1897: Alexander F Snow, Mate
1897-?: Alexander F Snow, Master
1906-1913: Charles E Acorn, Mate
1907-1913: Harry D Nickerson, Mate
1913-1915: Manuel T Chantre, Mate
?-1915: Hermann Lack. Master
1915-?: Walter H Warnock, Master
1915-1917: William G Collins, Mate
1917-1921: Benjamin F Chase, Mate
1923 -1923: Lars. 0 Johnson, Mate
1923-?: Charles S Parsons, Mate
1937-?: Lewis E Woodman, Master

Download Plug-Ins
Download Plug-Ins: Some of the links on this page require a plug-in to view them. Links to the plug-ins are available below.
Click Here to Download Adobe Acrobat Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF)
Last Modified 2/29/2012