Spurn Lightship

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The River Humber was one of the most difficult estuaries to navigate with sand banks and shoals. The ship was built in 1927 and decommissioned in 1975 when a system of automatic lights was introduced. The Spurn Lightship was part of a network of lighthouses, lightships and floats marking safe passage up the river. It was stationed 4.5 miles east of Spurn Point.

It is a small vessel with a tall light in the centre and a foghorn for use in poor visibility. The light was powered by acetylene and was visible for eleven miles. There was a lifeboat fro emergencies.

The crew spent one month on the lightship and one month on the shore. They had one week’s holiday a year. They spent four hours on duty and four hours off. On duty they recorded the weather, kept a record of the names of passing ships and were responsible for any repairs. Off duty they slept, played cards, amde model boats or fished to eke out rations. The provisions were sent out weekly on a Wednesday, except in bad weather. The crew were allowed to send messages home from the wireless room. At 2.5d a word they needed to be kept short.

Conditions below deck were cramped. The crews quarters contained bunks, stove and a bath. The Captain shared his quarters with the first mate. These were more comfortable with a coal fire and inside toilet.

The boat is anchored at the mouth of Hull marina in Humber Dock. I had to admire from the outside. The boat is run by volunteers and only open in the summer months. Entry is free, but there is not suitable for wheelchair users or those with mobility problems.


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