Lightship Frying Pan

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Frying Pan on its last day at station (replaced by light tower)
Name: Frying Pan
Builder: Charleston Dry Dock and Machine Co.
General characteristics
Displacement: 630 tons
Length: 133 ft 3 in (40.61 m)
Beam: 30 ft (9.1 m)
Crew: 15
Lightship Frying Pan is located in New York City
Lightship Frying Pan
Location Pier 63, Chelsea, New York, New York
Coordinates 40°44′59.57″N 74°0′36.7″W / 40.7498806°N 74.010194°W / 40.7498806; -74.010194Coordinates: 40°44′59.57″N 74°0′36.7″W / 40.7498806°N 74.010194°W / 40.7498806; -74.010194
Built 1929
Architect Charleston Dry Dock and Machine Co.
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 98001615
Added to NRHP January 28, 1999[1]
In New York

Frying Pan (LV-115) is a lightvessel moored at Pier 66a in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It served at Frying Pan Shoals, off Cape Fear in North Carolina, for over 30 years.

Frying Pan Shoals Station[edit]

In 1854, because of complaints from mariners that the height of the existing Bald Head Lighthouse was inadequate, and the light of its Third-order Fresnel lens wasn't bright enough to warn mariners of the shallow waters of the treacherous Frying Pan Shoals off the coast of Cape Fear in North Carolina, United States, the first lightship was stationed on the shoals,[2] in lieu of a proposal to improve Bald Point Lighthouse. Lightships remained on station for 110 years.

On July 29, 1944, Lieutenant (jg) Clarence Samuels became the first Hispanic-American of African descent to command a lightship when he assumed command of the Frying Pan.[3] The Bald Point lighthouse, and others, were turned off during the Civil War to avoid aiding the Northern ships.

The ship was replaced by a lighttower in 1964. Naval Records The lighttower, a Texas tower, was manned until 1979, is a great diving spot and still stands.

This ship, LV-115, was the last of nine ships that served in succession, with some alternation, at the Frying Pan Shoals station during and since the American Civil War.[4]

Construction and features[edit]

LV-115 was built in 1929-1930 by Charleston Drydock and Machine Co. for a contract price of $274,434. [5] [6]


Frying Pan served at Frying Pan Shoals from 1930 to 1942, and again from 1945 to 1964. During World War II the ship was used as an examination vessel, as part of training.

Frying Pan was retired from duty at Frying Pan Shoals in 1964. It served briefly as a relief ship at Cape May, New Jersey, and then was decommissioned in 1965. The ship sank in 1986.[6] It was raised in 1987, then resold and eventually restoration began in 1988.[7] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

Frying Pan is one of about 13 surviving American lightships, out of about 100 built. Three other lightships, Ambrose at South Street Seaport, Nantucket at Oyster Bay, Long Island, and Chesapeake at Baltimore Inner Harbor became National Historic Landmarks and are open to the public as museum ships.

Party ship[edit]

"Unlike the staid Ambrose lightship at the South Street Seaport Museum, the Frying Pan lightship is now used basically as a bar." - Blog of Brian. Frying Pan can be rented for events and functions. It became known as a party site in New York.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^, accessed 2007-09-15
  3. ^ LT Clarence Samuels, USCG (Ret.)
  4. ^ "Frying Pan Shoal Lightship Station History". United States Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association, Inc. 2007-09-15. 
  5. ^ "USCG LV-115 / WAL 537". United States Coast Guard. 2007-09-15. 
  6. ^ a b "Frying Pan Shoal Lightship Station History: LV-115 WAL 537". United States Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association, Inc. 2007-09-15. , includes photos of the sinking in progress, and a description of its history
  7. ^

External links[edit]