Lewes Lightship Being Restored in New Jersey - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lewes Lightship Being Restored in New Jersey

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 6:54 PM Updated:

DORCHESTER, N.J.- A piece of Lewes, Delaware's history is missing. But when she's back, she'll be better than ever. 

The Lightship Overfalls is currently across the bay in New Jersey, receiving a restoration likened to cosmetic surgery.

"It’s kind of like a spa treatment. It's basically preservation," says Overalls Foundation Administrative Director Tracy Mulvaney. "Just like getting a facial for a woman, the skin gets a little wrinkly, well that's what her paint job is right now."

The Lightship has been blasted down to her hull with forty pounds of grit. Those at the shipyard estimate fixing up her fire engine red exterior has cost three to four coats of paint and 2,000 hours of manpower. 

The Overfalls is one of only 17 existing light ships in the country, and one of only eight that's accessible to the public. Lightships served as floating lighthouses off the Atlantic coast in the 1800s. Four were off the coast of Lewes, and the closest was the Overfalls. She's held her current post as a floating museum in Lewes since 1973. Those who love her say keeping her at her best and open to everyone is critical for preserving maritime history.

"If you've ever been navigating at night, you know the importance of lights on the water," says Donald Gansauer, a member of the "Dirty Hands Gang" that maintains the ship. "[Lights] tell you where you're going and let you know exactly where you are. We are losing that now with GPS."

The Overfalls is set to return in March, after nearly four months of work in New Jersey. It will cost about $300,000, but those with the Overfalls Foundation say it's well worth it.

"She will look better than she did the day she came off the waves in 1938," Mulvaney says with a smile.

For more on the lightship, click here

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