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Royal Sovereign Light Platform

The Royal Sovereign Light Platform - some seven or eight miles off Eastbourne - is as old as I am. That means it too, is probably falling apart and needing an overhaul; I hope not.

The Sovereign shoals are a hazard because of their relatively shallow depth such a distance from the shore. They are named after the Royal Sovereign that floundered there in a storm.

Until 1963 the Sovereign Shoals were marked by a manned lightship. These eventually became expensive to maintain and an alternative was sought.

Built in Newhaven and floated out to its final location, the platform was jacked-up on the concrete column. The concrete column has a conrete pad (or 'foot') at the bottom, secured into the sea bed. The pictures on this page are how it looked in 2010. The offset lighting tower provided room for helicopters to land with supplies and change over crews.

The 'stubby bits' on the sides originally supported a walkway around the outside. Access is possible via a ladder to a door in the column. It is here that, on a few trips out to it in the 1970s, the crew would be passed a copy of the newspaper and some chocolate bars, etc., Now unmanned and completely automated the platform no longer has the foghorn that could be heard all along the coast - with modern navigation equipment, it is no longer necessary. Bunded fuel tanks adorn the helipad and a yellow 'torpedo-like' device hangs from one side - this is sent to the depths to sample the sea floor around the base of the column.

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