Monday, June 22, 2015

Huron Lightship

Lightships on the Great Lakes

Lightships were used as lighthouses on the Great Lakes in places where it was not feasible to built regular lighthouses.  The Huron Lightship was one of these ships and it was the last one that operated on the Great Lakes. It operated for 50 years and was retired in 1970.  Today it serves as a museum in Port Huron.

I took a tour of the lightship and was fascinated to hear about how the crew lived aboard this ship in small quarters for months at a time to keep the ships safe as they traveled the shipping lanes of the Great Lakes.  During the early days of the lightships, animals such as goats and chickens were kept aboard the ship to supply food while the ship was stationed away from shore.  They also had their own washing machine to clean their clothes and clotheslines hung in the ship.  There is a small galley for cooking and room for several sailors to sleep.
For  36 years the Huron Lightship was stationed at Corscia Shoals a sandy area 6 miles north of Port Huron Michigan.  The photo below shows the lantern that sits atop the mast of the ship.

Photograph of Huron Lightship taken from across the river in Canada