Not all lighthouses were planted in the ground. From 1820 to 1985, Americans used lightships as a way to mark dangerous moving sandbars, shoals, low water, harbor entrances, mouths of rivers or a spot where a lighthouse could not be built.
There were only 179 of them built in the United States. One of them happens to be dry docked in Portsmouth, Virginia, and is now a museum. Visitors can go inside and get a sense of how life was for the crew who used to live onboard.
The Lightship Museum is free and open to the public on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. For more information on the Lightship Museum, visit http://www.portsmouthnavalshipyardmuseum.com/lightship/.