Around the Mersey Bar lie shifting sandbanks, numerous wrecks and fierce tidal currents. The navigation of large vessels into Liverpool, or out into the Irish Sea, demands detailed local knowledge and expert seamanship. A job for a qualified Pilot, in fact.
This passage can be so dangerous that pilotage has been compulsory for over two centuries. “Beyond the Bar” plots the changing fortunes of the Liverpool Pilot Service as it transformed from a discordant group of part-time fishermen into the modern high-tech service which today handles more tonnage than ever.
The book charts the evolution of the station-keeping cutter system from the sloops and schooners of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the steamers and motorships of the twentieth. The rigorous apprenticeship system is described in detail and illustrated with rare contemporary photographs from private collections.
Today the cutter stations are gone and the lightship is no more. The Service now operates using radar, GPS and fast shore-based launches and the way of life Mr Youde describes has passed into history.
Appendices contain a list of all vessels known to have operated in the Service and a roll of all the men known to have served, together with their dates of service.
“Beyond the Bar” is the result of ten years work by the author, himself a former Pilot, into the history and workings of this vital but often overlooked aspect of our maritime heritage.
by Barrie Youde
Foreword by Sir Malcolm Thornton MP.
Paperback size 24 x 17.5 cm, (approx 9½”x6¾”) 96pp
with 42 black & white photographs.
ISBN 0 904825 34 5