Our Story

​In the highly trafficked seas between New England and Nova Scotia, sand bars and rocky ledges lie in wait just a few feet below the surface, ready to ambush the unlucky sailor.  Lightships were sturdy, two-masted vessels moored alongside dangerous shoals, sometimes miles off the coast where a point of land did not exist to support a lighthouse.  Equipped with a strong light beam and an ear-shattering fog horn, lightships served as a sentry, alerting passing vessels to the proximity of hazards.
Manned with a crew of 11, no doctor on board, and two months’ duty before shore leave, heavy seas and monotony were the crews biggest enemies.  It’s been said that the severe pounding of fierce storms pitched and rolled a lightship so intensely that even an experienced old whale man felt squeamish.  But on calm days, nausea gave way to tedium.  The crew performed their chores to make things shipshape within a few hours, leaving the rest of the day to read, play cards, or make rattan baskets to sell ashore.  In fact, it was aboard the early lightships stationed at the South Shoals off Nantucket that “basket making” emerged as a cottage industry.
When on duty each lightship received the name of the hazardous region it protected, including the “Nantucket” outside Boston Harbour and the “Lurcher” along the Lurcher Shoals off the coast of Yarmouth.  As the years passed, technological advances and economic considerations replaced lightship service in favour of automated buoys or offshore towers.  In 1969, the Lurcher was the last of Canada’s lightships to be retired.  At Lightship Brewing Company we raise a glass to those lonely sentinels of the sea lanes and all the sailors she protected.

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