Welcome Aboard the Lightship
Lightship Frying Pan is open for public touring now,
and it can be booked for private events on a limited basis.
Please click on Book Your Event for more info.
The lightship is docked at Pier 66 Maritime,
which has a seasonal Bar & Grill.
They do not take reservations, but for more information,
please visit their website at Pier 66 Maritime.
A BRIEF HISTORY
"Frying Pan" is listed on both the New York State and Federal Registers
of Historic Places, as it is one of 13 lightships remaining from more than
100 built. The US Coast Guard used lightships as floating lighthouses
to guard other ships from running aground on shoals, or submerged rocks,
that were too far from land to be served by a lighthouse on shore.
Many were also used to mark the entrances to harbors. New Yorkers
may be familiar with the Lightship Ambrose, which marked the entrance of
New York Harbor, and it is currently docked at the South Street Seaport Museum.
Built in 1929, Lightship #115 "Frying Pan" guarded its namesake, Frying Pan Shoals, 30 miles off of Cape Fear, NC, from 1930 to 1965. She is 133 feet and 3 inches in length with a 30 foot beam, and she is 632 gross tons. The unique shape of lightship hulls were designed to withstand the numerous storms and even hurricanes that would send other ships to safer harbors. 15 men lived aboard ship to keep the light atop the mast burning and the foghorn sounding regardless of the weather, season, or time of day. The crew were stationed aboard ship for three months, followed by two months of shore leave. It was said to be a job "filled with months of boredom followed by minutes of pure fear".
Frying Pan has led a remarkable life. After being abandoned for 10
years while docked at an old oyster cannery in the Chesapeake Bay, we believe
she sank due to a broken
pipe. She was underwater for three years before being raised by salvors.
Instead of going to the scrapyard, the ship was sold to its present owners.
After tons of silt and shells were removed from the hull, the ship was
outfitted with a new engine and, in 1989, was sailed to New York City. Frying Pan is now docked at Pier 66
Maritime which is located on Pier 66a in the Hudson River Park at West 26th
Street and 12th Ave. in Manhattan, NY. While the outside of the ship has been restored to
her original appearance, the inside retains the barnacle-encrusted, sunken-ship
motif that acknowledges her storied past.
Upper - 1940's linen postcard of the ship on station at Frying Pan Shoals, NC
Lower - 1970's postcard of the ship at the Southport Maritime Museum in Southport, NC - Courtesy of Mary Strickland - Director