This column continues to provide excerpts from the “Lighthouse Service Bulletin,” a monthly publication of the Bureau of Lighthouses, U.S. Department of Commerce. The first was issued in January 1912, and it continued throughout the existence of the Bureau. Unedited quotes from Volume IV No. 1, dated January 1930 follow. The Bulletin had as its object “supplying information that will be immediately useful in maintaining or improving the standards of the Lighthouse Service, and of keeping the personnel advised of the progress of work and matters of general interest in the service and in lighthouse work in general.”
Radio Compass Used to Locate a Vessel in Distress in the Florida Straits – The following story is extracted from the report of the captain of the Standard Shipping Co.’s steamer E.J. Sadler:
Midnight September 28, when this vessel was approximately 30 miles north of Great Isaac, bound for Baton Rouge, the steamship Garnet Hulings sent out a call for assistance, stating she was on the rocks and pounding badly. He stated he was not sure of his position, but expected he was near Sombrero Reef. Arrangement was made for him to send testing signals and by bearings taken from Jupiter and from this vessel, he was located 10 miles south of Gun Key, 110 miles away from his supposed position. The part of the Florida Straits in which the steamship Garnet Hulings was aground had been for some time in the grip of a West Indian hurricane. The center of the storm which was very violent had passed over the spot where she grounded a day and a half previous, and the center was not very far away at the time. The passage of the hurricane had kicked up a strong westerly swell in this region, which combined with the fact that the Hulings was on ground consisting largely of coral, made her position very precarious. September 29 at 1:15 a.m. the following message was received from the Garnet Hulings: “Need to be pulled off. Hitting rocks badly. Tell that man to hurry.” Arrangement was made to have the Hulings send out testing signals every half hour to obtain bearing from him. Shortly after passing Gun Key sighted the Garnet Hulings. At 5:50 p.m. the Hulings floated. Hove in both anchors and towed her out clear of the reefs.
Hours of Fog at Light Stations During the Last Year – The total hours of fog or thick weather recorded at the various fog signal stations throughout the service have been tabulated for the fiscal year 1929. The results show in general that the amount of fog for the entire service has been about 1 percent above the average. The greatest changes, compared with last year, occurred in the first and seventeenth districts; in the first district (coast of Maine) the fog decreased 23 per cent, while in the seventeenth district (coasts of Washington and Oregon) there was an increase of 56 percent compared with 1928.
Stations reporting the maximum amount of fog for the year, for different sections of the service, were: Coquille River Fog Signal Station, Oreg., in the seventeenth district, 1,806 hours (about 20 per cent of the whole time during the year); Moose Peak Light Station, Me., in the first district, 1,562 hours; and Grand Haven Pierhead Light Station, Mich., 1,531 hours. The minimum amount of fog at any station where there is a fog signal was 25 hours, recorded at the Colchester Reef Light Station, Vt., in the third district.
Coal Barge Built at Lighthouse Depot – A wooden coal barge – length, 96 feet; breadth, 28 feet six inches; depth, 7 feet 7 inches; displacement, light, 100 tons; rated capacity, 200 tons – was launched at the Lazaretto Lighthouse depot, Baltimore, Md., in October.
This barge was built by the district force, and is the most ambitious building project ever undertaken by the Lazaretto depot boat shop. The plans were prepared in the fifth district office, the floor timbers extending athwartship are 8 by 10 inches, with 2 keelsons 8 by 12 inches. The labor cost was $6,531, material cost $7,605, total $14,136. The barge will be used for handling coal for tenders and lightships, and for transporting coal to various points in the fifth district.
Unusual Arrangement of Illuminating Apparatus at Turn Point Light Station – The illuminating apparatus at Turn Point on the northwest end of Stuart Island in Haro Strait, Wash., is interesting. Lenses from two 300-millimeter lens lanterns are mounted one above the other, with suitable provisions for focusing the lamp filaments and for ventilation. In one lens is fitted a 150-watt, 110-volt special lightship electric lamp, and in the other a 400-watt, 110-volt, G-30 type bulb electric lamp and red screen, providing a beam candlepower estimated to be 2,500 for each light. The characteristic obtained by flashes from both lamps is white occulting 2.5 seconds, eclipse 3 seconds, white 2.5 seconds, eclipse 3 seconds, red 1 second, eclipse 8 seconds, for every 20 seconds. Occultations are provided by means of a sign flasher. The current is supplied by a 2.8-killowatt generator driven by a 6-horsepower oil engine. An auxiliary generator belted to the fog signal engine is provided, also a storage battery of primary cells consisting of 30 trays of three cells each. Other installations of superimposed lanterns are located at Hospital Point range, Mass., Cape Cod Canal Channel lower range rear, Mass., and Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii.
Wind-Driven Electric Generator at Kalae Light Station, Hawaii – After a test period of more than a year, the wind-driven electric plant at Kalae Light Station on the south point of Hawaii Island has proven its effectiveness. When it became desirable to increase the intensity and improve the characteristic of this light provision was made for changing the installation from a fixed white oil light to flashing white, using an electric lamp as a light source. Kalae is known as one of the most-windy points in Hawaii, the estimated wind velocity being greater than 15 miles per hour.
That’s another sampling “From the Bulletin” Watch this space in each issue of this magazine for more.
This story appeared in the
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