North Carr
Ship Number
Vessel Type
Pointhouse Yard, Glasgow, of A.&J. Inglis
Slip Number
Launch Date
December 2, 1932
February 27, 1933
Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses
268 grt
BP Length
101 feet
25 feet
No. of Screws
Speed (approx)
Official No.
 North Carr

Her hull and superstructure are painted red and the name North Carr is painted on both sides of the hull.
It has been suggested that the wooden lightship should be replaced by a lighted buoy and automatic fog gun but the suggestion has been dismissed on account of their being considered too weak in power and range to be effective for such an important situation. Since taking up her position the lightvessel, has done yeoman service sharing with the Abertay Lightship the distinction of being one of the only two such vessels in Scottish Waters.
 During the war her place was taken by an automatic lightbuoy while she herself did duty at a point between the Mull of Kintyre and the Mull of Galloway. With one notable exception her only absences have been for routine overhaul every third year. She has no motive power of her own, so has to be towed whenever she is required to move. This means, of course, more space available for the generators and other installations with which she does her job. Her engine-room, for instance, is given over to three Diesel Generators and three Diesel Air-Compressors together with large fuel storage tanks and containers or "receivers" for compressed air - all catering for the requirements of the light and fog signal. The chain locker is another distinctive department, housing two spare cables, as well as the "slack" left over from the one now in use. The links of this are studded and made of metal 15/8 inches thick. The anchor weighs 3 tons; two spare anchors, of 30cwt apiece, are also carried. Up on the deck, the dominating feature is the lighthouse tower, surmounted by its lightning conductor 40 feet above the sea. At one time a fixed white beacon was shown. But now, from sunset to sunrise, the signal is two flashes in quick succession every half minute - a beam of half a million candlepower visible for over ten miles. The source is a 1,000 watt electric bulb, magnified by the usual prismatic lenses which are rotated around it by a small electric motor. In the event of a power breakdown, a paraffin lamp can be substituted, while the lenses can be turned manually. Naturally enough, the whole system has got to remain vertical, despite any movement of the ship in rough weather, from stem to stern or from port to starboard. This problem is solved on the pendulum principle, the lamp and its adjuncts swinging on a set of gimbals, with a weight attached below. The fog signal, with it two blasts every minute and a half, can be turned to any point of the compass, and is very similar to its counterparts on dry land. But it does have a special enemy to contend with - marine growths, which must be prevented from growing near the all-important sea-water injection valves. Here the remedy lies in a pressure boiler, which blows out hot steam and keeps the passage clear. Sea-life also presents another kind of difficulty, for limpets and barnacles take up residence in prolific number on the ship's bottom. To deal with this as far as they can, the crew make use of an elephantine back-scraper, like an out-size garden hoe. But even in spite of these exertions, about six tons of barnacles have to be dislodged when the vessel comes into port for her periodic overhauls. The only regular visitor is the lighthouse tender from Granton, which arrives every fortnight with mail, stores, rations, newspapers and reliefs. The lightship crew consists of eleven men:- 1 Senior Master, 1 Assistant Master, 3 Senior Enginemen, 3 Assistant Enginemen and 3 Seamen, of whom 1 Master, 2 Senior Enginemen, 2 Assistant Enginemen and 2 Seamen are on board at the one time. The two Masters spent alternatively two weeks afloat and two weeks ashore and the other members of the crew spent, in rotation, a month afloat with two weeks ashore. The occasion referred to earlier, on which she moved off station, took place on 8 December 1959, during a severe gale when the Lightship broke adrift from her moorings and the Broughty Ferry Lifeboat, Mona, which went to her assistance, capsized and was lost with all hands. The Lightship managed to anchor about 900 yards off the rocky shore at Kingsbarns, near St Andrews and the crew was taken off by two Bristol Sycamore helicopters from Leuchars on 9 December, after an attempt to tow the Lightship had failed. The rescue was made in extremely adverse conditions. A full gale was blowing and the Lightship was rolling and pitching heavily. To assist in the rescue operations the crew cut away the 40ft aftermast, which allowed the helicopters to fly as low as 5ft above the lantern and pick up members of the crew from the chart house roof. The Lightvessel was eventually taken in tow by the Admiralty tug "Earner" on 11 December, repaired at Leith and put back on station on 16 March 1960.
May 1976 The North Carr Lightvessel was sold to the North East Fife District Council in July 1976 and was used as a floating museum based in Anstruther harbour.
Jan 2002 The North Carr Lightvessel is based in Victoria Dock, Dundee and used by the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) as a base for unit meetings and training.
She was purchased from the scrapyard in 2010 for £1 and funds were sought by the Taymara charity to restore her as an exhibition space on the Dundee waterfront.