Second Go-Around Requesting Your Help
Last year, we asked our readers to write to the U.S. Postal Service to request a series of postage stamps that would feature and honor our nation’s lightships. Many of you did and we thank you for doing so. Unfortunately, the Postal Service rejected the lightship stamps for the current year.
However, they did tell us that if we still wanted to see a series of lightship postage stamps for the next year, we would have to start the process all over again.
So, we are once again asking our readers to write to the U.S. Postal Service at the address below and again request that they issue a series of postage stamps honoring our nation’s lightships.
A lightship is basically a floating lighthouse that was stationed out in the water to mark dangerous shoals or sandbars in locations where it was too dangerous, too expensive, or too impractical, to build a lighthouse. Just as a lighthouse does not move from its location, the crew of the lightship was not allowed to move the vessel from its location, regardless of the weather conditions. Although many considered lightship duty the most boring and mundane of jobs in the U.S. Lighthouse Service and later the Coast Guard, it was also considered the most dangerous.
Ever since President George Washington authorized the first lightship on the Delaware River in 1793, there have been a number of lightship incidents where lives were lost. Some of the more notable ones were: the loss of the Cross Rip Lightship LV-6 and its six- man crew in January of 1918; the loss of the Vineyard Haven Lightship on September 14, 1944 and its twelve-man crew; and the loss of the Nantucket Lightship LV-117, which was rammed by the RMS Olympic on May 15, 1934, killing seven members of its crew.
There are no longer any lightships operating on active duty. Most have been lost to time, but there are still a number of them that remain in private ownership, or repurposed as floating museums, such as the Overfalls Lightship LV-118, the Huron Lightship LV-103, the Relief Lightship LV-605, the Chesapeake Lightship LV-116 and the Nantucket lightships.
Lightships meet all the criteria that the government requires for a series of postage stamps. But, the U.S. Postal Service needs to hear from you, our readers, with your appeal to request that they issue a set of postage stamps honoring our nation’s historic lightships. You can write to them at:
Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501
Thank you for your help. Perhaps together, we can all convince the government of the need to commemorate and preserve this vital part of lighthouse history.
Editor & Publisher
This story appeared in the
Mar/Apr 2022 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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