Memorial lightships overseas

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Memorial lightships overseas

Almost all the major marine powers that maintained lightship fleets retain a few lightships as their maritime heritage. You may find them in museums or in private posession.

 

In Britain where the modern lightships came from, numerous lightships of the Trinity House fleet have so far survived. Some decommissioned lightships where purchased by the private persons, there are those opened the public admission.  

In the United States some 15 vessels survived. Many of them are open for the public. The USA may boast of the largest memorial fleet of lightships worldwide, that also include freshwater lightship that served on the Great Lakes.

By early XX century Germany posessed the third-largest fleet of lightships. Some of the survived vessels were converted into restaurants and museums. You may have a sea ride aboard one of them.

A few lightships survived in France, Belgium and Netherlands

An unmanned automated lightvessel is kept in a museum collection in Australia.

Some nations, however, have already lost or are about to lose all of their lightships. Both survived lightships in Ireland may face a bitter fate. The only surviving lightship in Canada was converted first into a training vessel, then to a yacht. In Norway no lightships that were previously stationed along the country's coastline have survived.

German lightships that were stationed near the present-day coast of Poland and Latvia were all lost. A British lightship stationed by the entrance to Bosphorus (Turkey) and a Russian one stationed near Gorgan (Iran) have also gone for good. Barely survived hull of the only lightship that marine powers maintained in their colonies and dominions may be still seen in Suriname (S.America). 

You may visit memorial lightships in Finland, that once maintained 14 lightship stations in its waters. One of them is Hyoky that welcomes visitors in Hamina, S.-E. Finland. She was built in 1912 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, for a position in Libava (now Liepaja, Latvia). Another memorial lightship Relandersgrund is moored by the market square in Helsinki. She was delivered in 1888 in Turku, Great Duchy of Finland. She served as lightship till 1937, then she was an auxillary vessel on lake Saima until 1978 when she was bound to be scrapped, but in 2009 a private enterpreneur saved her as a restaurant and shop.

Relandersgrund in Helsinki

Since 1831 till 1972 Sweden maintained a fleet of 37 vssels for 24 lightship stations. Vasa museum in Stockholm exhibits one of surviving vessels, Finngrundet that was delivered in 1903 in Sweden. This vessel was overhauled a few times (last one in 1957) until it was replaced with a lighthouse and preserved as a memorial lighthsip.

Finngrundet in Stockholm

Opposite to Finngrundet another lightship, "Fladen" is moored. She was built in 1892 in Malmo and served until 1965. Since 1968 she was converted multiple times into different sorts of vessels and shifted from port to port, until 2010 when its renovation begins. The vessel receives new lantern mast and engine, and in 2015 she makes a maiden voyage in her second life.

Fladen in Stockholm

National Museum of Denmark posesses Gedser Rev lightship that was built in 1895 and in service until 1972. Upon retirement she was purchased and renovated on private donations. You can see her at Nyhavn in the historical centre of Copenhagen.

Gedser Rev in Copenhagen

Another lightship that may be seen in the capital of Denmark is Fyrskib №XI built in 1878. Having served for 99 years she must be a lightship of the world's longest career. In 1978 she was purchased by a private owner and converted into a boathome.

Fyrskib №XI" in Copenhagen

These are just some lightships that you may still see and visit. A map of lightships that were maintained by the Western European nations is available here.