Lightship 116 - now called Chesapeake - was built for the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1930. For the next 40 years, she served as a floating lighthouse, landfall and communications platform. Her first duty station was Fenwick Island, Delaware. In 1933, she first assumed the name Chesapeake, from her new position off the coast of Virginia at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. She was redesignated WAL 538 in 1939, when the Lighthouse Service was absorbed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Museums - Sea, Sea - Lightships
In 1942, shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, Chesapeake was given light armament, painted battleship gray and moved to Sandwich, Massachusetts to serve as an Examination Vessel. After the war, she returned to the Chesapeake station. She ended her service at the Delaware Bay station in 1970.
After retirement, she was transferred to the National Park Service, and began a new career as a seagoing environmental center in Washington, D.C. In 1981, as Chesapeake, she joined the Baltimore Maritime Museum's collection of historic ships.
Lightship 116 is a National Historic Landmark