Oil lamp for emergency boat.

John Briggs
15th May 2011, 07:33
Do any members remember the days when the No.1 lifeboat (for'd, stbd) was designated the emergency boat? This boat quite often was no different to the other boats on board except that it usually had an engine. On some vessels it was a bit smaller than the other boats.

I am recalling the 1950's when the boat was kept ready for launching at short notice. A boat rope was rigged leading well for'd and secured on the foredeck. Some stores were removed from the boat and stowed on the deck adjacent to the boat. The engine was started and run every week without fail, etc., etc.

An oil lamp was kept burning all night next to the boat and for a period of time it was my job to maintain this lamp. It would have to be kept clean and filled with colza oil. The wick was regularly trimmed and the brass polished. Every evening at sunset I would light the lamp and hang it up next to the emergency boat. At sunrise it would be removed until sunset that evening when it was hung out again. They were extremely efficient lamps and managed to keep burning through even very strong storms.

Anyone else remember this or was it just some thing peculiar to ships I was on?

15th May 2011, 07:39
I take it that it was that round lamp with the sort of cowl over the top, have taken the emergency boat away couple of times but can never remember the lamp being lighted at night,as you say might be a B.I. thing

15th May 2011, 07:44
while on the subject of lifeboats,i cannot for the life of me remember having boatdrill on some ships,but can recall vividly boat drill on others,cannot recall boatdrill on one two year trip as much as i try

John Briggs
15th May 2011, 08:12
Thanks dom. It was very similar to the present day kerosene lamp (paraffin lamp in UK) with the fuel tank on the bottom, a wick with a winder to adjust the height and a glass funnel to protect it from the wind.

As you say it may just have been a BI thing.

Boat drill is another matter. I have never been on a ship where there was a lack of boat drills. Even on the Hong Kong tramps boat drill was religiously practiced. On one ship I joined as Master they had not done a drill for a year or so and the boat falls were rotten. I delayed sailing until new wire falls were fitted to all boats.

15th May 2011, 15:15
The Standard Lifeboat Lantern as described had to capable of fitting in the lifeboat bucket so when lit it could be used for signalling!

Yours aye,


Pat McCardle
15th May 2011, 17:28
On SOMERSET the 'Crash boat' was No.4 portside, again the one with an engine. On one occaision, when mid Pacific for a drill, it became quite crammed with wives, engineers, cadets & cameras. Alas, I never reached the dizzy heights to be on Her when in this situation & the participants soon dispersed when having to recover, by 'steam on deck', the distance from embarkation level to the stowed position. Those photographs would look good today!

B.O.T. Sports were held every friday at sea & every 10 days when in port.............Unless it was raining!!