Built by Philip and Son Ltd. in Dartmouth, Devon in 1957 for Trinity House. The vessel was 114' (34.75m), weighed 581 tons and her first anchorage was at Saint Gowan, off the coast of Cornwall in 1958.
Throughout the 1960s LV18 served at various light vessel stations around the English coast with a regular crew of nine people.
In the 1970s she underwent a major refit, including the addition of a helideck at her stern for helicopter transfers of crews.
LV18 was stationed at her final station, Dowsing, off the coast of East Anglia during the 1970s.
In 1994 she was retired from service by Trinity House and used as an offshore support vessel and storage facility, moored on the River Stour at Harwich.
LV18 was sold to Sea Containers Ltd (operators of Parkeston Quay ferry terminal in Harwich) in 1996. Sea Containers Ltd planned to use her as the centre piece of their proposed marina in Harwich, but the development did not take place and the LV18 stayed moored in the harbour.
In 1999 LV18 was chartered for use as the base for a re-
In December 2001, LV18 was conveyed into the ownership of the Pharos Trust to form part of the 'Harwich Lighthouse Experience' Project 2002.
In 2011 LV18 opened as permanent visitor attraction on Harwich Quay.
For more information about LV18 and the Pharos Trust visit:-
LV18 has been used as the base for a number of short-
Radio North Sea International (Restricted Service Licence) from 3rd August to 30th August 1999, from 12th April to 8th May 2000 and from 3rd to 30th June 2001.
Radio Caroline (Restricted Service Licence) from 1st to 28th October 2000.
Radio Mi Amigo (Restricted Service Licence) from 31st March to 26th April 2001; 14th-
Radio Mi Amigo and Harwich Community Radio (Restricted Service Licence) from 8th August to 5th September 2002.
Pirate BBC Essex from 10th to 17th April 2004; 9th to 14th August 2007; 10th to 13th April 2009 and 12th to 14th August 2017.
In 2008 LV18 was also repainted as the fictional station ‘Radio Sunshine’ for the film The Boat That Rocked, Although these scenes were cut from the final version of the film they are available at out takes. on the DVD.
Photo: Offshore Radio Guide
Thanks to Martin van der Ven for allowing us to use some additional information from the Broadcasting Fleet section of the Offshore Radio Guide in this Gallery
LV18 as Pirate BBC Essex
LV18 painted as the fictional ‘Radio Sunshine’ for the film The Boat That Rocked