A lightvessel, or lightship

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A lightvessel, or lightship

Post  jukido on Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:27 pm

A lightvessel, or lightship, is a ship which acts as a lighthouse. They are used in waters that are too deep or otherwise unsuitable for lighthouse construction.[1] Although there is some record of fire beacons placed on ships in Roman times, the first modern lightvessel was off the Nore sandbank at the mouth of the River Thames in England, placed there by its inventor Robert Hamblin in 1732. The type has become largely obsolete; some stations were replaced by lighthouses as the construction techniques for the latter advanced, while others were replaced by large automated buoys.[1]

A crucial element of lightvessel design is the mounting of a light on a sufficiently tall mast. Initially this consisted of oil lamps which could be run up the mast and lowered for servicing. Later vessels carried fixed lamps, which were serviced in place. Fresnel lenses were used as they became available, and many vessels housed these in small versions of the lanterns used on lighthouses. Some lightships had two masts, the second holding a reserve beacon in case the main light failed.
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