Nantucket Lightship Returns Home After Seven Months in Chelsea Dry Dock

After seven months in a Chelsea dry dock undergoing extensive restorations and maintenance the Nantucket Lightship has returned to its home port along East Boston’s Waterfront near Piers Park. 

Since 2009, Eastie has played host to this national treasure and now the giant red lightship is docked back on Marginal Street at the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina after months of work. 

The historic Nantucket Lightship , also known as Lightship No. 112 or simply LV-112, recently left a Chelsea dry dock after seven months of restoration.

“For the second time since 2011-12, LV-112 was relaunched from the historic Fitzgerald Shipyard in Chelsea after slightly more than seven months of a major and comprehensive $1.4 million structural restoration,” said leader of the ship’s museum, the U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM), Robert Mannino, Jr. “Mostly implemented inside the bow section, the restoration included rebuilding the anchor manger, the forward port and starboard ballast tanks, bulkheads, hull frames, lower forward floor frames, and various other structural sections throughout the ship including the mooring capstan on the bow weather deck. Also, more than a dozen sea-valves from the auxiliary engine room sea-chest were completely rebuilt, in addition to valves and piping associated with the ship trim and bilge pumping system.”

Mannino said routine maintenance also was performed, combined with an updated marine survey and ultrasonic testing (UT) of the ship’s shell plating below the waterline.

In 1989, the lightship was declared a National Historic Landmark (NHL). Since then there has been a push locally to restore the historic Nantucket Lightship, also known as Lightship No. 112 or simply LV-112. 

Mannino, Jr. said the latest phase to historically restore the Nantucket Lightship was jointly funded by grants from the City of Boston’s Community Preservation Act and a National Park Service “Save America’s Treasures” grant. 

“The majority of the funding was generously provided by a National Park Service “Save America’s Treasures” grant, a Community Preservation Act–Boston grant, in addition to individual and corporate donors,” said Mannino. “Because of the large amount of restoration work scheduled, additional specialized marine contractors were hired as part of the team in conjunction with the Fitzgerald Shipyard workers.”

The USLM, the non-profit organization that has been overseeing the Nantucket’s restoration, received a $487,500 grant to restore internal structural components and provide general maintenance critical to maintaining the integrity of the ship’s hull and ability to remain open to the general public for decades to come.

At the time of its NHL designation the Nantucket was the last serving lightship and one of only two capable of moving under its own power.

The ship, which was docked in Oyster Bay, Staten Island at the time, and was purchased for $1 by the USLM under the leadership of Mannino. The ship arrived in Eastie in October 2009.

The USLM’s primary mission is to restore and preserve the Nantucket Lightship as a National Historic Landmark, National Treasure, and operate the ship as a museum and floating educational center in Eastie that is open to the general public.  In addition, the museum provides interactive educational programs for grade school students and under-served youths in Boston, especially in the Eastie.

Mannino said the remainder of restoration will be accomplished at the Nantucket’s berth. 

“Upon completion of this phase, LV-112’s rehabilitation will be approximately 70 percent completed,” said Mannino. “The most critical and comprehensive portion of LV-112’s structural restoration is virtually done. However, there is still a lot of interior restoration needed, which involves mostly cleaning, prep and painting. Also a moderate amount of structural and mechanical restoration work needs to be done.”

Mannino said at this point, based on the unanticipated restoration work that added to the initial dry-docking restoration plan USLM has reassessed the restoration project work that remains to be completed. 

“It is estimated that approximately $2.3 million will be needed to virtually complete LV-112’s restoration and preservation,” said Mannino. “The U.S. Lightship Museum is always seeking potential donors who would like to help support this unique historic cause of preserving this important National Historic Landmark and National Treasure and assist us in achieving Nantucket Lightship/LV-112’s restoration and preservation.”

Mannino said donations can be mailed to: U.S. Lightship Museum, P.O. Box 454, Amesbury, MA 01913, Online donations can be made via the PayPal link in this newsletter or through USLM’s GoFundMe page.

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