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Life Boats - Crutches - Piggins Bailing Buckets - Brass Lanterns

Ashmore's Life Boat

Photo:, clinker construction

Lifeboats were hung by davits which were capable of swinging out over the water against an adverse heel of 20º with a trim of 10º. The Ashmore's lifeboats were made of iron pillars fitted on the deck. Some Captains were known to put misbehaving crew or passengers into a lifeboat which they swung out over the water for days at a time, without any food. The boats were lowered and hoisted by two sets of tackles, one from each davit, also known as falls.

During the journey on the Ashmore, the lifeboats were kept in the stowaway position over the deck. They were covered in old sail canvas waterproofed with tar (called canvas). This is also what waterproof gear (oilskins) were made of.

Inside each lifeboat were numerous items including lanterns and oil, fishing lines, wooden bailing buckets called Piggins, food supplies, corked life vests, navigational equipment and first aid tins.

Port and Starboard lanterns

Photo: Carebearslexi on ebay

Ships traveling towards each other knew that the red or port light should pass the oncoming vessel on the port side (left) which has the visible red light. Ships always pass oncoming vessels in a port to port manner. This prevents confusion. The green light is used on the starboard side (right) and simply means the ships do not pass starboard to starboard when they approach each other.

In the unusual circumstance a ship desires to pass starboard to starboard, the ship will signal the approaching craft with two blasts of its horn or rings of its bell. The other ship acknowledged the signal with the same two blasts/rings.

If not acknowledged, the ship requesting the starboard to starboard pass, has to "give way" and maneuver to avoid collision.

Piggins Bailing Buckets

Photo: Angela Curtis:Pinterest

Primitive wooden bailing bucket kept in lifeboats of tall ships.


Photo: Sea

The crutch, also known as a rowlock, was the U-shaped swivel mounted on the lifeboat's gunwales to hold the oars.

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