1871-1900 Yaquina Head Lighthouse Letter books

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Coast Guard District narrative histories 1945

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LIGHTSHIPS

During the amalgamation of the Lighthouse Service and the Coast Guard in 1939, four lightships, the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP 393, the UMATILLA REEF LIGHTSHIP #88, the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP #92, and the SWIFTSURE LIGHTSHIP #113, were transferred to the Coast Guard. These four lightships maintained only three stations as the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP #92 was used on all stations as relief.

(Photo of Relief Lightship displayed with caption below)

The LIGHTSHIP RELIEF used to relieve the other lighthships

At the outbreak of the war, LIGHTSHIPS No. 88 and 113 were removed from their stations by the Navy and replaced by lighted whistle buoys. the ships were reconverted by removing the radiobeacon and antenna mast, by installing armament, by realtering the radio facilities and by increasing the complement of 30 Coast Guardmen and five Coast Guard Officers. The No. 88 was then placed in the Straits of Juan de Fuca as a Recognition Ship and the No. 113 was sent to Alaskan Waters. The removal of these two ships left only the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP #93 on station at the entrance to the Columbia River with the No. 92 to be used as its relief.

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Last edit over 2 years ago by Wjhoward
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RADIO BEACONS

At the time of the consolidation of the Lighthouse Service and the Coast Guard, the Seattle District operated nine land-based radio beacons and four radio beacons on the lightships. Two beacons were under construction at Destruction Island (completed in 1943) and at Willapa Bay (completed in 1941). Two more radio beacons were authorized in 1942, one at Cape Flattery (Tatoosh Island) and one at West Point. In the middle of 1945, the radio beacon at Ediz Hook was established, bringing the total number of District radio beacons to 18. However, at the onset of the war, the Navy removed the lightships from the Umatilla Reef and Swiftsure Bank thus leaving only 16 beacons in operation. Of these 16, one was maintained by the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP and used alternatively on the Columbia River station.

(Photo inserted here)

Radio beacon equipment at Tatoosh Island

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Last edit over 2 years ago by Wjhoward
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for 16 months before it was decided that the only possible means of returning her to her station was by hauling her overland through the woods and launching her in the Columbia River. The No. 50 was constructed of wood and remained in service only until 1909 when she was replaced by the steel-hulled lightship.

During the amalgamation of the Lighthouse Service and The Coast Guard in 1939, four lightships, the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP 393, the UMATILLA REEF LIGHTSHIP #88, the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP #92 and the SWIFTSURE LIGHTSHIP #113, were transferred to the Coast Guard. These four lightships maintained only three stations as the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP #92 was used on all stations as relief. They were steel-hulled vessels with a displacement of approximately 685 tones and a complement of 3 to 6 officers and 5 to 11 crew. All but one was built around 1908; the SWIFTSURE LIGHTSHIP #113 was the newest and it was completed in 1929. In addition to exhibiting a bright beacon light, the lightships were also equipped with sound signals, [radio]], radio-telephone, and radiobeacons. In addition to their regular duties as lightships, they were also instructed during the early days of the war, to notify the Commandant, 13th Naval District of all vessels passing the Columbia River northbound.

At the outbreak of the war, LIGHTSHIPS NO. 88 and 113, were removed from their stations by the Navy and replaced by lighted whistle buoys. The ships were reconverted by removing the radiobeacon and antenna mast, by installing armament, by realtering radio facilities and by increasing the complement to 30 Coast Guardsmen and 5 Coast Guard Officers. The No. 88 was then placed in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as a Recognition Ship and the No 113 was sent into Alaskan waters. The removal of these two ships left only the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP #93 on station at the entrance to the Columbia River with the No. 92 to be used as its relief.

The use of one lightship as standby only, seemed most uneconomical of ships and men at a time when they were at a premium. The District Coast Guard Officer, with the approval of the Commander, Northwest Sea Frontier, proposed to Headquarters that the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP #93 should remain on station for a month and then, on a clear day with good weather, the ship would leave her station, go to Astoria for fuel and supplies and return before dark. A station buoy would be placed close to the Lightship's position at all times and mark the station when the Lightship itself was absent. Such an arrangement would permit the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP to be used as part of the Offshore Observation Force.

Last edit over 2 years ago by Wjhoward
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RADIOBEACONS

The early conception of the mariners, that all aids to navigation must be received by the normal senses of sight and sound, was radically changed by the development of the radiobeacon system which has, since its inception in 1921, become recognized as a most important innovation for increased safety for mariners. As radio signals are not obscured by fog, wind, rain, snow or temperature changes, and bearings may be taken at great distances far beyond the horizon, the radiobeacon had great advantages over previous types of navigational aids. Proof of its efficiency lay in the fact that since its inception approximately a quarter of a century ago, the radiobeacon system was adopted by all maritime nations and direction finders were developed to fit not only the requirements of large ocean liners, but small pleasure craft and fisherman's vessels as well.

At the time of the consolidation of the Lighthouse Service and the Coast Guard, the Seattle District operated nine-land-based radiobeacons and four radiobeacons on the lightships at Swiftsure Bank, Umatilla Reef and the entrance to the Columbia River. Two beacons were under construction at Destruction Island (completed in 1943) and at Willapa Bay (completed in 1941). Two more radiobeacons were authorized in 1842, one at Cape Flattery (Tatoosh Island) and one at West Point. In the middle of 1945, the radiobeacon at Ediz Hook was established, bringing the total number of District radiobeacons to 18. However, at the onset of the war, the Navy removed the lightships from Umatilla Reef and Swiftsure Bank thus leaving only 16 beacons in operation. Of these 16, one was maintained by the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP and used alternately on the Columbia River station.

In an effort to increase, to even a greater degree, the efficiency of the radiobeacon system throughout the United States, headquarters urged that a monitor system be developed and put into operation in each District. Subsequently, a monitor station was established at North head Radio Station which checked the performance of all District radiobeacons. Between 0800 to 1100 and 1500 to 1900 daily, each radiobeacon was monitored, the time for the check being staggered to insure a truer picture of the various beacons' performance. Outlying stations were notified daily of all failures or defects in the radiobeacons' operation. These reports were a District innovation and were not required by Headquarters but were merely another measure adopted by the District Coast Guard Office for increased efficiency in the District system.

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Last edit over 2 years ago by Wjhoward
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