On 22 April 1988, the 172-year history of manned lightships came to an end in the Elbe estuary off Cuxhaven. As "floating lighthouses", these showed international shipping the safe way through the sandbanks into the Elbe estuary or out to sea. The crews were not only necessary to operate the lightships, but they also helped people in distress at sea or radioed for help, observed shipping traffic, wind, water and weather and passed on messages. A lightship had to maintain its position at all times under all circumstances.
The "ELBE 1" is named after her position. Her actual ship's name is BÜRGERMEISTER O'SWALD. Today's ELBE 1 was put into service on 7 November 1948 as the successor to its predecessor, which capsized in a heavy gale on 27 October 1936 and sank with 15 crew members.
After being decommissioned, the ship was acquired by the city of Cuxhaven and is now moored in Cuxhaven's Old Harbour. It can be visited there at certain times. It is looked after by members of the "Feuerschiff-Verein ELBE 1 von 2001 e.V." Cuxhaven. The accommodations with chambers, galley, crew's and officers' mess are open to visitors, as is the impressive engine room and, of course, the bridge. All nautical and technical equipment is in working order, which sets the Cuxhaven lightship apart from many other museum ships. Visitors explore the ship with the help of a "guide", available at the ticket office, via a tour of 30 stations with functional equipment such as radar and radio installations as well as nautical, meterological and technical equipment. The ongoing shipbuilding restoration work is also worth seeing. Today, the officers' fair serves the Cuxhaven registry office as a wedding room. After making an appointment with the registrar, bridal couples can "enter the harbour of marriage" here.
Mooring in summer: Cuxhaven, at the "Alte Liebe".
to reach by bus: KVG - Bäderbus line 1006