WLV-605, one of six lightships constructed for the Coast Guard, was built by Rice Brothers Shipyard in Boothbay, Maine, in 1950.
She was commissioned on 15 February 1951 as OVERFALLS, a lightship station off Delaware. In 1960 she was transferred to the BLUNTS (reef) station off Cape Mendocino, California. Finally, in 1969 she became RELIEF, relieving all west coast lightships.
The ship was decommissioned by the Coast Guard in 1975 and given to the city of Olympia, Washington in 1976. Olympia was unsuccessful in making the ship a museum and sold the vessel to Mr. Alan Hosking of Woodside, California in 1979. In 1980, he sailed the ship from Olympia to Oakland California and dry-docked the vessel. After completion of dry-docking, the ship was sailed to Half Moon Bay, California, where she remained anchored off Piliar Point. He in turn donated the ship to the United States Lighthouse Society on 31 December 1986.
In February of 1987, Society volunteers sailed the ship under her own power from Half Moon Bay back to Oakland and docked her at the Ninth Avenue Terminal in the Oakland Estuary.
She remained at that location for a period of 15 years, undergoing maintenance and restoration to her 1951 appearance. The ship was dry-docked in July of 2000 during which time repairs were made and the hull was painted. After the yard work was completed, the ship's topsides were painted and a new non-skid deck applied. The ship was designated listed as a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior in 1990.
In June 2002, the ship finally opened to the public at Jack London Square in Oakland, California. As of that date, over $400,000 and 19,000 man-hours (mostly volunteer) had been expended on the ship. In 2003 the Society was honored to receive the California Governor's Historic Preservation Award for restoring the RELIEF. The WLV 605 is the last known RELIEF lightship remaining in this country. Read the PDF file of the lightship's brochure.