Northern Lighthouse Board fleet
Compiled by Captain W. L. Hume, M.N.I.(Retd:)
This page is aranged in date order.
You can jump to a chosen date using the links in the panel below. Alternatively there is an alphabetical index which links back to the relevant entry on this page.
On this page
Names were re-used, sometimes many times, and the numbers shown in brackets after the names of some vessels are for reference only – they were not carried on the vessels as there was only one vessel of a given name at any one time.
Wooden Sloop built at Elie, Fifeshire, for the NLB 1799.
Dimensions 48-ft x 18-ft x 8-ft.
Sold to Leith Merchant 1810. Sold to Archibald Young 1814.
Scrapped at Leith 1923.
The Lighthouse Yacht
Wooden Sloop built at Leith for the NLB 1807.
58-ft x 18-ft x 10-ft.
Sold to Alex Houston, Haddington 1820.
Vessel reported lost 1823.
Wooden Sloop built at Leith 1807 for the NLB, for construction work of the Bell Rock Light House as a stone carrier and Tender.
55-ft x 16-ft x 9-ft.
Sold out of service 1817.
Sir Joseph Banks
Wooden Sloop purchased on stocks at Arbroath, 1808 to assist Smeaton in construction of Bell Rock Light House.
56-ft x 17-ft x 10-ft.
No further information.
Wooden sloop purchased on stocks 1843, White of Cowes.
To J.Baikie, Kirkwall 1852. To J.Seatter, Westray 1871.
39-ft x 13-ft x 7-ft.
Scrapped 1883, Westray.
Wooden sloop purchased 1809 at Kirkcaldy, to assist Smeaton in construction of Bell Rock.
56-ft x 10-ft x 10-ft.
No further information.
Lightship. Ex Dutch fishing lugger, purchased and used as a floating Light Vessel, with three masts, a light was hoisted on each mast, this craft was also used as an accommodation ship during the entire time of construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, towed to Leith when Lighthouse became operational in 1912, and subsequently sold out of service.
Wooden Sloop, Built by Morton at Leith 1816,for the Commissioners and based at Leith as tender to Bell Rock Lighthouse.
45-ft x 14-ft x 8-ft, 38 Registered Tons.
Sold to Archy MacQueen of Broadford, Skye, 1842,registered at Inverness, name unchanged
Sold to James Finlay & John McGregor, Lochalsh, 1858, name unchanged
Wrecked in Sound of Mull, 1859.
Built by Robert Davey, 1820 at Topsham for the Board and based at Leith.
66-ft x 21-ft x 11-ft, 107 Registered Tons.
Sold to John Crabbie, Leith, 1846, name unchanged
Sold to Thomas Mackie, Leith, 1850, name unchanged
Sold to D R MacGregor, Leith, 1852, name unchanged
Sold to Thomas Reddie, Charlestown, Fife, 1859, name unchanged
Lost at sea 1863.
Wooden Paddle Steamer, Built by Robert Menzies & Sons, Leith 1839, and based at Hynish, Tiree in connection with the construction of the lighthouse on Skerryvore.
88-ft x 18-ft x 10-ft, 129 Gross Tons; 48 Net Tons
Sold to Liverpool Steam Tug Co, Liverpool, 1847,name unchanged.
Sold to John Houghton, Liverpool, 1850, name unchanged
Sold to William M Jackson, Liverpool, 1851, name unchanged
Sold to John Barnet, Liverpool, 1853, and reduced to a brigantine, 215 reg, name unchanged.
Prince of Wales
Wooden Sloop, Built by Robert Steele & Co, Greenock 1841, and based at Leith as tender to the Bell Rock Lighthouse.
16-ft x 9-ft, 51 Registered Tons.
Sold to William Hay, Lerwick 1852, as fishing vessel, name unchanged
Owners now George H B Hay, Arthur J Hay & William Irvine, 1866.
Owners now George H B Hay & Arthur J Hay, 1883.
1896: Sold to Danish owners 1896, – no further details available.
Wooden Sloop, : Built 1842, by Thomas White, Cowes, Isle of Wight for Thomas & John White, Cowes
39-ft x 13-ft x 7-ft, 24 Registered tons.sss
1843 – 1852
Sold to John H Baikie, Kirkwall, 1852, re-rigged as dandy, name unchanged.
John H Baikie declared bankrupt 1871, and sold to John Hewison, Kirkwall, name unchanged.
Sold to James Seatter of Westray, 1871, re-rigged as a schooner, name unchanged.
Broken up 1883, at Westray, Orkney Islands.
Iron paddle steamer, Built by Wm Fairbairn & Son, Millwall Works, London, 1846, and based at Leith.
143-ft x 22-ft x 15-ft, 270 Gross tons.
Sold to Aberdeen, Grimsby & Hull Steam Packet Co, 1861, name unchanged.
Lengthened to 171.6 feet, tonnage now 328g 243n.
Vessel scrapped at Barrow-in-Furness 1877.
Wooden Sloop, Launched but not apparently registered.
38-ft x 10-ft x 5-ft, 16 Registered tons.
Rebuilt by Denny & Rankin, Dumbarton 1845, for Robert Mitchell, Leith, name unchanged.
Sold to John McLean of Kylerhea, 1851, registered at Inverness, name unchanged.
Sold to John McLachlan of Kilfinnan, 1874, name unchanged.
Sold to Peter McIntyre of Rothesay, 1881, name unchanged.
Vessel scrapped 1881.
Wooden Sloop/Schooner, Built by Robert Menzies & Sons, Leith, 1852.
48-ft x 12-ft x 7-ft, 32 Registered tons.
Sold to David Watson of Ardour, Mull, 1867, name unchanged.
Transferred to John C Watson of Ardour, 1870, name unchanged.
Sold foreign, now registered at Montego Bay, Jamaica, 1876.
Vessel wrecked 1879.
1854 – 1874
Iron Paddle, 182.0 x 25.3 x 14.8 feet, 524 Gross Tons, 296 Net Tons
Compound, 2-cyl by builders, 120hp
Built by Tod & McGregor, Yard No. 74, Glasgow 1854, and based at Leith.
Sold to George A Key, Kinghorn 1874, but retained registered Leith
Renamed VALETTA prior to conversion to sailing barque, 1875,registered tonnage 464
Sold to James W Robertson, Dundee, 1876, name unchanged
Sold to Thomas Law & Co, Glasgow, 1880, name unchanged
Sank after collision with the Glasgow steam tug FLYING SERPANT (260/86), 23/3/87, off the Tuskar Rock, Ireland, while on passage from Point de Galle, Ceylon to Liverpool with a general cargo.
Wooden Sloop, 46 x 16 x 8 feet, 29 Registered Tons
1867: Built by Archibald McMillan, Dumbarton, 1867, and employed as tender to Skerryvore Lighthouse, registered at Glasgow.
Sold to Edward Whiteway, Glasgow, 1875, name unchanged.
Sold to Thomas Stove, Lerwick, 1876, converted to a dandy, name unchanged.
Sold to Edward Whiteway, Glasgow, 1875, name unchanged.
Sold to Duncan MacKenzie of Skye, 1880, name unchanged.
Vessel scrapped 1893
Wooden smack, Built by Alexander Hall & Co, Aberdeen (255), 1867, and employed as a tender at Lerwick
39-ft x 12-ft x 6-ft, 15 Registered tons.
Built by Alexander Hall & Co, Aberdeen (255), 1867, and employed as a tender at Lerwick.
Sold to Angus Mathieson of Glasgow, 1898, name unchanged.
Sold to Thomas McShamrock of Portrush, Co. Antrim, 1899, name unchanged.
Sold to John A Henitton of Londonderry, 1899, name unchanged.
Sold to John Johnstone of Kindrum Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, 1901, name unchanged.
Vessel scrapped 1917.
Iron Paddle, Built by Wigham, Richardson & Co, Newcastle, Yard No. 50, 1868, and employed in the construction of the Dhuheartach lighthouse.
Built by Wigham, Richardson & Co, Newcastle, Yard No. 50, 1868, and employed in the construction of the Dhuheartach lighthouse
Sold to W H Crocker of Fleetwood, 1876, name unchanged.
Sold to H Hall, Fleetwood, 1884, name unchanged.
Sold to S Auberstin, Cardiff, 1886, name unchanged.
Sold to S Lord, Fleetwood, 1887, name unchanged.
Sold to Christopher Furness, West Hartlepool, 1887, name unchanged.
Sold to Direct Acting Jet Propulsion Co Ltd, West Hartlepool, 1890, name unchanged.
Sold to John Wigham & Thomas Colling, Sunderland, 1894, name unchanged.
Sold to Thomas Maughan, Sunderland 1895, and renamed STARTFORTH.
Sold to Skinningrove Iron Co, Middlesbourgh, 1896, name unchanged.
Sold to Archibald Stewart, Glasgow, 1900, name unchanged.
Title of owners became Forth Steam Ship Co (Buchan & Hogg Managers) 1905.
Purchased by Buchan & Hogg whilst lying at Port Glasgow, 1908.
Laid Up at Alloa, 1914.
Sold to Weymouth Diving & Towing Co Ltd, Weymouth, 1915, name unchanged.
Sold to Samuel W Oakley of London, 1917, name unchanged.
Sold to Edward T Murphy of London, 1921, name unchanged.
Sold to E Parker of London, 1921, name unchanged.
Sold to Woodruff & Co Ltd of London, 1921, name unchanged.
Sold to Thomas E Hill of Birkenhead, 1922, name unchanged.
Sold to Southampton Shipping Metal & Shingle Co Ltd, 1923, name unchanged.
Vessel scrapped 1924 in Holland.
1869 – 1881
Iron Paddle Steamer, 129.8 x 19.4 x 10.7 feet
181 Gross Tons, 86 net Tons
Lever, 2-cyl by builders, 70hp
Built by Hepple & Co, North Shields 1865, for Joseph Ostens, North Shields.
Purchased, 1869, name unchanged , registered at Greenock, and based at Oban.
Broke from moorings in Erraid Sound, Mull, 1881, driven ashore and became a total loss.
Iron Twin-Funnelled Paddle, Built by R Napier & Sons, Glasgow, Yard No. 329, 1874.
205-ft x 27-ft x 15-ft. 574 gross tons.
Sold to Samuel Galbraith of Glasgow, 1911, name unchanged.
Sailed from Granton for Glasgow for overhaul prior to sale to Brazil, 1911. Sale not completed and used as an accommodation vessel on the River Clyde.
Requisitioned 1915, as a Royal Navy accommodation vessel at Loch Ewe, West Scotland.
Sold to the Admiralty, 1919, name unchanged.
Sold to Burntisland Shipbuilding Co; 1920, for use as accommodation vessel at Burntisland during construction of the new yard and renamed FAIROSE.
Vessel scrapped at Grangemouth 1923.
Steel Paddle steamer, Built by Caird & Co, Greenock, Yard No. 233, 1883, and based at Oban, registered at Greenock.
160-ft x 25-ft x 12-ft, 345 gross tons.
Wrecked on Mull of Kintyre while on passage from Greenock to Oban on 28 September, 1895.
Steel Twin-Screw Steamer; Built 1898, by Hawthorns & Co Ltd, Leith Yard No. 77, based at Granton,
116-ft x 22-ft x 12-ft, 242 gross tons. Official Number 109593.
To release name for new replacement Tender, renamed DUNDRENAN, 1937.
Sold to P & W McLellan 1937, for £1,000 and scrapped at Bo'ness.
Steel Twin-Screw Steamer, Built 1909, by Wm Beardmore & Co Ltd, Glasgow, Yard No. 496.
206-ft x 31-ft x 15 feet, 921 gross tons. Official No. 125500.
To release name for replacement Commissioners Tender, vessel renamed 1955,AVONTOUN.
1955: Arrived at Vessel towed to Charlestown, Fife 1955, for scrapping.
Pole Star (II)
Steel Twin Screw Steamer, Built 1930, by Wm Beardmore & Co Ltd, Glasgow Yard No. 663.
196-ft x 31-ft x 15-ft. 750 Gross Tons, 328 Net Tons. Offical Number 161823.
Converted to burn oil fuel 1950.
To release name for new Tender, renamed MAY (IV) 1961, base transferred to Granton.
Sold to P & W MacLellan Ltd, 1965,Glasgow for breaking up.
Steel Twin-Screw Motorship, Built 1937, by A & J Inglis Ltd, Glasgow Yard No.991P. Based at Granton.
148-ft x 29-ft x 12-ft., 491 Gross Tons; Official Number 164372.
To release name for POLE STAR (III) vessel renamed MAY, 1961.
Laid up at Leith pending disposal 1962.
1963: Sold to William J Sutton, London 1963, for North Sea gas/oil search operations and renamed SURVEYOR.
Sold to Overseas & General Brokerage & Finance Co Ltd, London, 1966.name unchanged.
Sold to Shackleton Aviation Ltd, London, 1969, name unchanged.
1969: Sold to Gardline Shipping Ltd, London, 1969, name unchanged.
1977: Sold to P & W McLellan Ltd, 1977, scrapped at Bo'ness.
Steel Twin-Screw Motorship, Built 1939, by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Dundee, and based at Oban
203-ft x 35-ft x 14-ft, 844 Gross Tons. Official Number 167021.
Transferred to Granton, 1964 to replace scrapped May IV.
Sold to Cosag Marine Services Ltd, 1974, of Great Yarmouth and renamed SPERUS.
1982: Sold to Hydrosphere Ltd of London, 1982, name unchanged.
1984: Sold to Sunderland to Liguria Maritime Ltd, 1984, of Sittingbourne, Kent on authority of Admiralty Marshal, name unchanged.
1985: Vessel scrapped 1985, at River Medway.
Built 1952 by William Weatherhead of Cockenzie, on the lines of an MFV, used as a relief Tender to the Barra Head Lighthouse.
Later replaced by helicopter relief Bernera was further deployed as work vessel during the construction of a permanent unattended lighthouse on the Vee Skerries rock, eventually sold out of service as being surplus to requirements, converted to a yacht, renamed Berneray.
Steel Twin Screw Motorship, Built 1955, by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Dundee Yard No.507, based at Granton.
257-ft x 39-ft x 13-ft, 1712 Gross Tons, 592 Net Tons.
Damaged severely 1963 by fire whilst undergoing overhaul in drydock at Troon.
Bottom plates extensively damaged after grounding on rocks 1976, at Hyskier Lighthouse during relief work, returned to Oban for survey and assessment, then taken to Troon for repair work.
Sold 1988 to Windjammer Cruises, Freeport, Bahamas for service as a cruise ship for 80 passengers and mother ship to a flotilla of yachts and renamed ORIENT EXPRESS
Sold to Amazing Grace SA (R.G Garza Inc, managers), Panama and renamed AMAZING GRACE (94 passengers)
Sold to Shower Holding Inc (International Maritime Resources Inc, managers), Malebo.
Owners now International Maritime Resources Ltd, registered at Port of Spain, 2007 still in service.
Up-date on ex Pharos of 1955, after running aground in a shallow Carribean harbour which tore open most of the bottom plates, Amazing Grace settled The Owners have indicated the ship is a write off, a sad end to a once proud Granton ship.
Pole Star (III)
1961 – 1993
Steel Twin-Screw Motorship, Built 1961, by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Dundee, Yard No. 531, based at Stromness.
236-ft x 40-ft x 13-ft, 1328 Gross Tons; 396 Net Tons.
Sold 1993 to Barefoot Rogue S.A. (International Marine Resources Inc, managers), San Lorenzo, Honduras and renamed ROGUE.
Whilst lying at Port of Spain, 1995, under going conversion suffered severe overall damage during hurricane.
Sold 1997, to Jean Baptiste, Belize, name unchanged.
1998: Whilst being hauled up on a slipway at Port of Spain, 1998, the rails of the cradle buckled and collapsed resulting in vessel sustaining immense structural damage.
Vessel remained stranded on slipway for a considerable time while legal responsibility was sorted out, demolition appeared to have commence around 2004, no further information.
Steel Twin Screw Motorship, Built by Blythswood Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Glasgow, Yard No. 140, the last ship to be built by Yard, based at Oban.
239-ft x 40-ft x 19-ft, 1342 Gross Tons.
Transferred to Stromness 1994.
2000: Sold to Tamahine Investments Ltd of Hong Kong, (JCB UK Ltd), registered London and renamed WINDSOR CASTLE, still in service.
Steel Twin-Screw Diesel Electric, Built by Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd, Port Glasgow, 1993, based in Oban.
Length O A 79.58m Beam 14.0m, Draught 4.0m – 1986 Gross Registered Tonnage
Diesel-electric, through two conventional main propelled aft and gill-jet bow thrusters, Service Speed 12 kts, 20 tonne crane,200 square metre Buoy Working Deck, Helicopter Deck.
Sold 8 September 2006 to Byron Marine Ltd to work in the Falkland Islands, South Atlantic as a fishery patrol and logistic support vessel.
Pole Star (IV)
2000 – still in service
Diesel-electric power, through two azimuthing thrusters and two tunnel bow-thrusters. Length O.A. 51.5m, Beam 12.0m, Draught 3.2m 1174 Gross Registered Tonnage, Service Speed 12 kts, 12-tonne crane, 200 square metre buoy working deck, dynamic positioning.
2000: Built by Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd, Port Glasgow, based in Stromness.
New vessel launched 2007, impression of completed ship, to be based at Oban, the only remaining Northern Lighthouse depot, and photographs of vessel following commissioning.
North Carr Light Vessel
The only Lightship operated by the NLB, built 1933 by A. J. Inglis, 250 tons.
Withdrawn from service 1975, now a museum item at Dundee.