The “New” Nantucket Lightship

The “New” Nantucket Lightship

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nantucket lightship

Olympic photographed from the deck of Lightship 117 in early 1934, weeks before the tragic collision.

After Olympic (1911) accidentally ran over and sank the Nantucket Lightship (Lightship 117) in 1934, it became necessary to build a replacement.

In 1936, Pusey & Jones of Wilmington, Delaware, built Lightship 112. The vessel, the largest lightship ever built, cost $300,000. It was paid for by Cunard White-Star Line as reparation for the accident.

The newsreel on this page shows Lightship 112 on her “maiden voyage” to her station and describes the vessel’s basic features and operations. The British narrator, however, conveniently avoids mentioning the need for a new lightship.

Lightship 112 was the first symbol of America encountered by thousands of immigrants and visitors. Many legendary liners, including United States, Queen Mary and Normandie depended on her as a navigational aid. She served until 1983 and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

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