United States lightship Ambrose (LV-87)

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United States
Name: LV-87
Operator: United States Coast Guard
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Company of Camden, New Jersey
Cost: $99,000.00 US
Completed: 1907
Decommissioned: March 4, 1966
Refit: 1932-1933
Nickname(s): Ambrose
Fate: Donated on August 4, 1968 for use as floating exhibit at South Street Seaport, New York City.
General characteristics
Type: Lightship
Length: 135 ft 5 in (41.28 m)
Beam: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Draft: 12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Depth of hold: 15 ft 4 in (4.67 m)
Installed power:
  • As constructed :
  • One compound steam reciprocating engine
  • Bore: 16 in (410 mm) & 31 in (790 mm)
  • Stroke: 24 in (610 mm)
  • 325 IHP
  • Two 9 ft 3 in (2.82 m) diameter by 16 ft 4 in (4.98 m) long boilers
  • After 1932-1933 refit:
  • Repowered with a Winton diesel engine
  • 300 HP
  • As constructed:
  • 7 ft 9 in (2.36 m) diameter propeller
  • After 1932-1933 refit:
  • 5 ft (1.5 m) diameter propeller installed
Speed: 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
  • Signal lights
    • As constructed:
    • Cluster of 3 oil lens lanterns on each masthead
  • 1908 through 1922
Ambrose (LV 87)
United States lightship Ambrose (LV-87) is located in New York City
United States lightship Ambrose (LV-87)
Location Pier 16, East River, Manhattan, New York City, New York
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NRHP Reference # 84002758[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP 7 September 1984[1]
Designated NHL 11 April 1989 [2]

The United States Lightship LV-87/WAL-512 (Ambrose) is a riveted steel lightship built in 1907 and served at the Ambrose Channel lightship station from December 1, 1908 until 1932, and in other posts until her decommissioning in 1966. In 1921, the first radio beacon in the United States was installed in the ship's radio shack. This addition greatly assisted ships navigating the congested Ambrose Channel in dense fog. LV-87 would also be the last steam-powered vessel to hold the Ambrose Channel post.

After the end of her Ambrose Channel assignment in 1932, LV-87 underwent a major refit, most significantly switching from steam propulsion to a direct drive Winton Diesel engine, as well as the removal of her anchor burton on her bow and a reorganization of her deck structures. Afterward, the ship was assigned to various posts which included being used as an examination vessel during World War II. Although her final post was at the Scotland Station she is commonly known by the name of her most famous station, Ambrose.

LV-87 was decommissioned on March 4, 1966 from the Coast Guard after 59 years of service. In 1968 she was given to the South Street Seaport Museum in Lower Manhattan. Currently she is moored at Pier 16 on the East River and is used as a floating exhibit.[3] In April 1989, the lightship was declared a National Historic Landmark.[2][4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "LIGHTSHIP NO. 87 "AMBROSE"". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Lightship No. 87 "Ambrose" National Historic Landmark Study". Retrieved 2008-10-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Kevin Foster (5 August 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Lightship No. 87 "Ambrose"" (pdf). National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> and Accompanying 5 photos, exterior and interior, from 1908-1988 PDF (540 KiB)

External links

Media related to Ambrose (ship, 1907) at Wikimedia Commons