Coasters, deep-sea cargo vessels, passenger liners and warships were grateful for her
presence at the Mersey Bar, guiding them into and out of the channel, and providing a
radio DF calibration service.
She and her predecessors must have witnessed a great deal in their lifetimes, especially the convoys assembling during the war, before their dash across the Atlantic and around the world.
The first ever "Planet" was built by R&I Evans and Co., of Birkenhead, in the 1870s.
The light-vessel "Alarm" manned the Mersey Bar from 1913, and in 1961 the last "Planet",
built in Dartmouth by Philip & Son, took her place. She was probably one of the last
riveted ships to have been built.
The Planet was manned by a crew of seven who spent two
weeks at a time on board. She had no engine and had to be towed to her position, being
held in place by a four ton wrought iron anchor.
When she was taken off-station in September 1972, the "Planet" was replaced by a 55ft diameter unmanned LANB (Large Automatic Navigational Buoy), that has a radar beacon as well as a navigational light. After 1972 the "Planet" saw service in the Channel - off Guernsey - until 1983. She was narrowly saved from being scrapped and is now berthed in the East Float Dock, Birkenhead.
It is important that the Planet is preserved as an historic ship. She was the last
manned light-vessel in UK waters and her original home was in Merseyside, a part of
Britain which has long been associated with the Merchant Navy and provided a large
proportion of its crews.