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A lighthouse tender
is a ship specifically designed to maintain, support, or tend to lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....
s, or lightvessel
A lightvessel, or lightship, is a ship which acts as a lighthouse. They are used in waters that are too deep or otherwise unsuitable for lighthouse construction...
s, providing supplies, fuel, mail and transportation.
In the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
, these ships originally served as part of the Lighthouse Service
The United States Lighthouse Service, also known as the Bureau of Lighthouses, was the agency of the US Federal Government that was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of all lighthouses in the United States from the time of its creation in 1910 until 1939...
and now are part of the Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...
. The first ship constructed as a tender was Shubrick
USLHT Shubrick was the first lighthouse tender steamer constructed by the Lighthouse Board.The ship was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard of "Florida live oak and white oak," left over from the construction of the warship . She was "...topped by a flush deck fore and aft.....
. However, the first American tender of the Lighthouse Service was a former revenue cutter, "Rush", which was acquired in 1840.
The USCGC Fir (WLM-212)
The United States Coast Guard Cutter Fir was the last lighthouse tender built specifically for the United States Lighthouse Service to resupply lighthouses and lightships, and to service buoys. Fir was built by the Moore Drydock Company in Oakland, California in 1939. On 22 March 1939, the U.S....
was the last active representative of the service, and is now a U.S. National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...
- Bibliography, Lighthouses, Lightships, Tenders & Other Aids to Navigation Subjects, U.S. Coast Guard.
- Putnam, George R., Lighthouses and Lightships of the United States, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1933).
- United States Coast Guard, Aids to Navigation, (Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1945).