For Sale/Rent

You Can Live Inside the Big Red Nantucket Lightship

The historical vessel docked in Boston Harbor is on the market for a mere $5.2 million.


Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Every so often, a good houseboat hits Boston’s residential real estate market. But the one that went up for sale this week is the Mother of All Houseboats.

Behold the big red Nantucket lightship, now on the market for a mere $5.2 million. Docked in Boston Harbor, the 128-foot-long ship is one of the only Nantucket lightships still in existence.

What is a lightship, exactly? It’s a vessel equipped with lights that’s meant to keep other boats from sailing too close to shallow waters. According to the Wall Street Journal, some Nantucket lightships were immigrants’ first glimpse of the United States before approaching the Statue of Liberty.

The historical vessel was transformed into a stunning six-bedroom residence by former state senator Bill Golden. Back in 2000, he won the ship in an eBay auction for $126,100, saving it from being ripped apart into scrap metal.

“The ship had been known as the guardian angel of the North Atlantic,” Mr. Golden told the Journal. “To me, that tradition was worthy of preservation.”

Since then, he’s decked out the boat with nautical accents galore. Oil paintings of ships adorn the living spaces, porthole-style windows look out to the ocean, and dark wood paneling covers the walls. The floating mansion is complete with a 12-seat dining room and a library, not to mention six and a half bathrooms and a gourmet kitchen.

The boat, in a word, is huge. Its two interior levels comprise 4,000 square feet of living space, while a 2,000-square-foot deck makes plenty of room for lounging.

Long before it was renovated as a houseboat, the lightship was used by the U.S. Coast Guard. It was built in 1950, and traveled form San Francisco to Maine via the Panama Canal. Eventually the ship ended up off the coast of Nantucket, and served as a lightship there for more than 30 years before it was decommissioned in 1985.

“The Nantucket Lightship is a new model for historic marine preservation,” reads the listing from agents Josie McKenzie, Pamela Cushing, and Haley Cutter at Douglas Elliman. “This unique, private yacht with its bright red steel hull is a show-stopping, luxurious floating residence or commercial property.”

Indeed, this Mother of All Houseboats could take on an entirely new use. McKenzie explains it could be booked for private charters or turned into a maritime museum.

You can see the listing at 55 Commercial Wharf here.

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman