The LV18 lightvessel.

The LV18 is a survivor from the heyday of British shipping. Marriners navigating their way through the dangerous waters around our coast are still protected from running aground by stationary lightships anchored at sea as well as lighthouses on land. However todays light vessels are all automatic and unmanned. This unique, historic vessel is the only surviving lightship not to have been stripped of its accomodation and it has been restored by a dedicated team of volunteers. LV18 still contains the original crew quarters, galley, messroom and six Gardner diesel generators to power the lantern, foghorns and ship’s equipment.

The Pharos Trust

The LV18 is owned by the Pharos Trust which aims to provide:

  • For visitors with a variety of different needs
  • A sensory experience for visitors with hearing or visual impairments.
  • Assisted access and facilities to enable disabled people to visit the vessel.
  • An educational package for a range of community groups.
  • Each visitor with an enjoyable, educational, value for money and unique experience.
  • An ongoing programme of events on board throughout the year.
  • Accredited marine-based courses.
  • Apprenticeship and training schemes in a wide range of areas.

Impact so far

Lightvessel 18 has already attracted additional visitors to Harwich, generating income for local hospitality, transport, restaurants and retail. This has already been proved by the earlier successful Pirate BBC Essex broadcasts and the vessel’s subsequent opening since July 2011 in the new permanent berth on Harwich Quay.


The LV18 was launched in 1958 so in 2018 celebrates its 60th anniversary.