Lightship Barnegat LV 79 . Camden . New Jersey . Watercolor . 12" x 9"
... lightships were first deployed along the Atlantic coast of the United States in 1820. Their purpose being to mark navigation in areas too far from land based lightouses to be visible or useful. The 1st American lightship was stationed in the Chesapeake Bay. Barnegat LV 79, a 129 foot long, 668 ton lightship, was laid by the New York Shipbuilding Company in Camden, New Jersey, commissioned in 1904 and anchored at Five Fathom Bank, 15 miles off the coast of Cape May. With her twin light masts, a radio beacon, submarine bell and a fog horn, LV 79 moved to Barnegat in 1927 and was anchored 9 miles east of the Barnegat Lighthouse. She was continuously manned on station, only interrupted between 1942 and the 1945, as she served Coast Guard intercept and search duty for incoming freighters off Edgemoor, Delaware during World War II. Following decommission in 1967, Barnegat LV 79 was displayed at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum, Maryland, then sold in 1970 and publicly berthed at Philadelphia's Penn’s Landing. She received no further care and was sold into private hands and moved across the Delaware River with hopes for stabilization, restoration and museum status. Funding has not materialized and this has not happened. She has survived everything nature and man could throw at her... except neglect. Lightship Barnegat LV 79 presently sits, rusting away in the shallows on the Delaware's muddy bottom... back home in Camden. She may soon be completely lost.