The North Carr Lightship is the last remaining Scottish lightvessel and one of only two lightships to have served in Scottish waters. The other being the Abertay Lightvessel.
The Lightvessel was established just over a mile and a half from Fife Ness at North Carr Briggs, marking the turning point for ships entering the Forth or Tay estuaries.
The first vessel was a wooden ship loaned from Trinity House. She was first stationed in position in 1887, around a mile off the North Carr beacon.
Following her establishment, the Isle of May Low Light was decommissioned in 1887.
The Trinity House vessel was replaced by a timber ship built in Dundee in 1889. Reliefs were carried out by a tender sailing from Granton, which arrived every fortnight with relief crew and stores.
The current lightship was built in 1933 in Glasgow by A & J Inglis Ltd.
On 8th December 1959, tragedy struck when the North Carr Lightship broke adrift during a storm. The lightvessel itself survived the storm when the crew could get an emergency anchor to hold—the crew eventually being airlifted off by helicopter. The lightvessel managed to anchor off St Andrews’ coast and was eventually towed back to Leith before returning to the station in March 1960.
The Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Mona was launched to assist the crew of the North Carr Lightship. Tragically the lifeboat capsized, and all hands were lost.
At the nearby Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Station, there is a memorial tablet to the crew of the lifeboat Mona.
After having been refitted following the disaster, the North Carr LIghtship was returned to station off Fife Ness.
The ship remained in service until 1975 when she was decommissioned. In 1975 the lightvessel was permanently discontinued when the Fife Ness Lighthouse was established.
The following year she was sold to North East Fife District Council acquired her, and she was moved to Anstruther for several years, where she remained in the harbour as a floating museum. She was the third and final lightvessel to carry the name, North Carr.
By 2002 the vessel had been relocated to Victoria Dock in Dundee where she was used as a base for the Maritime Volunteer Service.
In 2010 the lightvessel was bought by Tay Maritime Action (Taymara) for refurbishment. However, funding has yet to be forthcoming, and currently, she is in a very sorry state and urgently needs repair.
The following video is a tour of the lightvessel, taken in 2014.
In 2023, Taymara announced their intention so scrap the vessel in 2024.