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You are here: PortCities Southampton > Diversity of Ships > Ships of the steam age > Harbour duties > Other harbour craft
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Harbour duties


Busy harbour, busy work boats

The coming of steam allowed some existing types of harbour craft to work more efficiently. 

Pilot cutters are used to carry pilots whose job it is to navigate ships through the intricate channels of ports and harbours which may be unfamiliar to the ships’ officers.  They will often have sleeping accommodation for pilots who are waiting to join incoming ships or have been taken off ones leaving port.

Buoy tenders are employed to maintain the buoys that mark shipping channels.  They have powerful lifting gear to raise and lower buoys which require repair.

Lighthouse tenders are not technically harbour craft, as they have to venture out into open waters.  Like buoy tenders they carry crews to maintain lighthouses, light vessels and offshore navigation beacons.  They once carried replacement crews to offshore lighthouses and to lightvessels, until helicopters took over this job.  Today, all British light vessels and offshore lighthouses are unmanned, but they still require maintenance and refuelling from tenders.

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