Almost a dozen volunteers gathered in Oyster Bay, last Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, to help survey the condition of the Nantucket, click for more info.
Robert Mannino,, on the right, and a marine surveyor,
after making an inspection of the interior of the lightship, took out a dinghy, guided by ropes from the Nantucket's deck above
and paddled around the entire hull of the lightship, assessing the condition of its waterline.
Beginning on the port side, the surveyor tapped the steel hull with a ball-peen hammer.
Previously, that morning, the crew pumped a huge quantity of rain water from the ship. Pumping the water out of the bilge
lifted the hull, and thus revealed the previous waterline, which better exposed it for the surveyor. It also righted the ship which had been listing slightly to port.
They worked around the lightship,
as they were guided and kept from floating out into the harbor,
by William Perks, on the deck.
so that the volunteers in the dingy could examine the starboard side of the hull.
Perks throws the guide rope to the dinghy at the conclusion of the inspection.
Volunteers cleverly brought the dinghy up to the waiting truck above.
It was a wonderful day, cold, but clear, and all went well.
Robert Mannino with a young lightship enthusiast, and a volunteer.
Mr. Mannino mentioned that next month, January, a tugboat will tow the Nantucket to Boston, a trip that will take about 30 hours. This inspection was necessary to comply with Coast Guard rules about transporting the lightship on that voyage.
A narrow metal gangplank was used with an outstretched rope,
which even I mastered several times that morning, the water about 8 or 10 feet below and really cold!