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Last Lighthouse Tender

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Postby island » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:34 pm


The first lighthouse tender was the schooner Rush acquired in 1840. Subsequently about 200 vessels served as tenders until the Coast Guard years when the later vessels became known as buoy tenders.

The CG-80004-D was the last ship to serve as a true lighthouse tender in the 1st. District and possibly the last of any. The "80-D" was based at South Portland and was used as a lighthouse supply ship, not necesarily for routine supplies but for specifc equipment for repair and upgrade projects at Maine lights and on occasion for repair of fixed aids.

This ship was formerly the Maine built 80-ft fishing schooner John Hathaway and served as such until the opportuniy soon arose for a much more profitable busisness. It was in conducting this business that the Hathaway had a chance meeting with the former Navy destroyer CG Cutter Wilkes out in the Gulf of Maine in June, 1929, thus abruptly ending this new business venture, that of transporting bottles of liquid refreshment to Maine from Nova Scotia and for having been made profitable by the disapproval of such by the 18th Amendment.

Following Admialty Court proceedings the Hathaway was turned over to the Coast Guard and converted for use as a lighthouse supply vessel. The "80D" then served many lighthouses for 27 years until retired in 1956.

I had the opportunity go along on a couple of supply trips on the "80D" when my father was temporarily officer-in-charge. One was to Monhegan and there overnight followed by a rather rough 40 mile trip in near gale force winds to Saddleback Ledge the next day and returning to the base in Rockland. The next was a day trip to Heron Neck, Goose Rocks and Browns Head. Treasured memories.
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Postby BMR » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:47 am


Oh those "chance" meetings ...

Dave, how was this duty, this assignment, viewed by those assigned?
There are two pips in a beaut, four beauts in a lulu,
eight lulus in a doozy, and sixteen doozies in a humdinger.
No one knows how many humdingers there are in a lollapalooza.
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Postby island » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:56 pm


Interesting question you ask. Would suggest my presence did not detract from the relationship of the four or five guys on the crew with the captain of this craft. There was a reaction of sort at Heron Neck when my father put me in the peapod in the boathouse and sent it running freely down the ways into the cover for me to attend to while unloading equipment at the boathouse. The assistant keeper at Heron Neck was shocked but my father told him that I often rode down the ways at Matnicus Rock. Not quite true. It was Whitehead where my grandfather had taught me how to launch, land and row such a craft. If my grandmother had known of this at the time she likely would have had a fit.

Before this adventure on the "80D" I had spent much time at the Burnt Island Lifeboat Station where my father was officer in charge. I had learned how to steer the 36 foot lifeboat when standing on a box to see out the windshield and had spent all day in it regarding a medium size oil tanker that had grounded on a ledge. And was I sick from the odor of that oil slick.
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Postby MontaukPoint » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:04 am


Thanks for this David. Very interesting.
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Postby CaptRandy » Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:43 pm


When I was stationed on Brandywine Light and 14 Ft Light in the Deiaware Bay we were serviced weekly by a 44 MLB(44362). For water and fuel the CGC Sassafras ( a 180 buoy tender)delivered our supplies. Toward the end of my time on Brandywine we were able to hitch rides on a helo from Cape May, we had both a dock and a safe harbor. Have to admit it was a chore to get 3 Onan gennys off the 44 and stow in the basement but we got it done. Of course that meant we had to get the Hercules gennys out and returned to the 44.
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Postby MontaukPoint » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:30 pm


Hi Randy,

Welcome to the forum! I received your email last week and activated your account. I tried to replying, but it got bounced back by your email server. Glad to see that everything worked out.
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Postby island » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:43 pm


Onan Genny? Might this be an Onan generator?

The next MLB manufactured after the 462 was the 44463 lost during a rescue operation on the Oregon coast. Only one of the four crewmen survived.

MLB photo-- number not known.
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Postby CaptRandy » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:54 pm


Onan generator, no that would be an oxygen depleater.
The 44362 was the one with V6-53's in it. Stationed in Cape May, NJ
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Postby island » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:37 pm


After retired and replaced by the 47 MLbs the 462 and eight others were transfered (sold) to Uruguay. The 44's began service in 1962 to replace the long serving 36 ft MLBs, most noted the Chatham 36500 regarding the rescue event in Feb. 1952.

CaptRandy. Any service at lifeboat (small boat) stations?
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Postby CaptRandy » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:13 pm


Group Cape May for a year on 40's and 44358 and 44362 '72-73
Before that Alert WMEC630
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Postby island » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:33 am


On 40's. Familiar with these from Scituate, Point Allerton and Merrimac River. Got a saltwater bath in the 40 at Merrimac when crossing the bar to enter the river. For reasons of that bar this is now a surfman station. The station on Plum Island was discontinued. It is now up river, Station Newburyport

I have been posting the photos so others might know what we are talking about.

This photo is the 40 off the shore at Merrimac River, a staged p.r. photo. BMC Gamage at the helm.
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Postby CaptRandy » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:29 am


As I remember ours was 40452 and I hated Helo Ops at night.
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