The Ship's Come In

Photo by Ron Janard


1936 › birth
The “unsinkable” Nantucket/LV-112 is constructed with a battleship’s hull. At 148 feet 10 inches, it is the largest U.S. lightship ever built.

1936–1942 › Work
The Nantucket guides ships through the treacherous ­Nantucket Shoals.

1942–1945 › War hero
Pressed into WWII as a patrol vessel, the Nantucket saves crew members of the USS Eagle-56, which was sunk off Portland.

1954 › Near miss
Hurricane Edna’s 70-foot waves snap the ship’s anchor chain. Crewmen manually deploy a backup.

1975 › Retirement
After 39 years, the Nantucket is decommissioned. GPS navigation renders lightships obsolete 10 years later.

2010 › Restoration
The U.S. Lightship Museum brings the Nantucket to Boston.

2012 › Posterity
Docked in East Boston, the Nantucket is now a floating museum of the ship’s past — and a for-hire party boat. — Steve Holt