Lightship Overfalls is Reborn: From a Rust Bucket to a Landmark

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Bow Lewes Del

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Bow Lewes Del

In 1999 the Lightship Overfalls (LV-118) lay rusting to pieces in a muddy hole in Lewes, Delaware. The community seemingly had lost hope of restoration and attempts to give her away were unsuccessful. Then, a small group of local citizens took ownership of the ailing vessel to save her from the ship breakers. The group put together a comprehensive plan to bring her back from the brink of oblivion. The plan, even with the extensive use of volunteer labor, had a capital budget of $1.2 million and the group had scant resources and no credibility.

The presentation discusses the project’s 13-year history including how the funds were raised and how the group stayed right on budget. Today, the museum ship is an award winning, National Historic Landmark, designated in 2011, and is featured in a park setting worthy of the vessel and the crews who served aboard.

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Park Lewes, Del

David Bernheisel, Honorary Board member of the Overfalls Foundation, is a retired Federal employee and a self-proclaimed “life-long river rat.” He has been actively involved in the Overfalls Foundation since 2000, serving on the Board of Directors and in the roles of President, Vice President, and Out-reach Chair. For three years he served as a crew member of Delaware’s tall ship, Kalmar Nyckle, and completed the America’s Great Loop cruise in his own boat. He has also had international assignments with the USAID funded Farmer-to-Farmer program and as an election observer.

The Center for Wooden Boat is co-hosting event and graciously provides their boathouse as the evening’s venue.  Directions

— Lightship Work Party in the afternoon before talk. —

One thought on “Lightship Overfalls is Reborn: From a Rust Bucket to a Landmark

  1. CWO4 Ed Juratic USCGR Ret.

    She was never on the Overfalls station.. She was the Cornfield, decommissioned then recommissioned as the Cross Rip in !959. I was stationed on her in 59.


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