First lightvessel relief by helicopter
The Smith’s Knoll became the first lightvessel to have its crew changed by helicopter.
The lightvessel was specially adapted and fitted with a helicopter platform at the yard of Swan Hunter Ship Repairers (Tyne) Ltd. The actual transfer is carried out by winching individual crew members to and from the platform, and it is planned to continue the experiment at fortnightly intervals for the next six months, to test the suitability of the operation under Winter conditions. The first crew members to take to the air were: Mr. Frank Harrison, the incoming Master, and Lightsmen Mr. Jack Akester and Mr. John Griffin.
The experiment was part of a review into the most efficient and economical means of servicing aids to navigation.