ABERDEEN BUILT SHIPS


Name
ABERDEEN PONTOON DOCK NUMBER 1
Type
PONTOON DOCK
Date
1955
Description
Yard Number: 249

Length overall 180 feet, length over keel blocks 160 feet, breadth overall 42' 6". Height of side wall 29' 6". Maximum draught 26' 4". Maximum draught above keel blocks 16' 0".

Dock designed to lift a vessel of 600 tons displacement drawing 15 feet within a time of 30 minutes or to lift a vessel of 700 tons displacement and 16 feet draught in a corresponding longer time. Freeboard at centre at ends 6".

The Pontoon Dock was situated at the top of Point Law, Albert Quay along with Dock No. 2. It was used mainly to lift the trawlers out of the water to get the bottoms cleaned and repainted and other underwater tasks entailed in the early days before power washers.
When the pontoon was lifting the trawler out of the water 2 squads of men in 2 punts would scrub the hull with hard bristle sweeping brushes to get rid of the barnacles and mussels attached to the hull. The pontoon worked by opening valves to let the water into the tanks to sink the pontoon. Once the pontoon was sunk and vessel positioned in place the water was pumped out and the pontoon and vessel came out of the water.
The pontoon was broken up at Dales Drydock in the early 2000s? When Albert Quay was being refurbished and the fishing industry was in decline and was no longer needed.

Glasgow Herald, 11/4/1953:
AHC accept a tender of £74,850 for an all welded replacement No. 1 Pontoon.

Aberdeen Evening Express, 18/3/1955:
New Pontoon Dock - Preparations are being made for the new pontoon dock which will take the place of No. 1 dock at Albert Quay. Uprights are being put in the berth, and a dredger has been busy.
It is understood that the old dock will take her last lift about the twenty-second of this month. Thereafter she will be removed so that the berth will be cleared for the new dock which, I understand, will be launched early next month from the yard of Messrs John Lewis and Sons, Ltd., Torry.
While on the subject of pontoon docks, I understand that the next one which will require attention will be No. 3, the large one at Footdee.
The suggestion here is that it should be replaced by a graving dock somewhere about Pocra. This would require certain alterations being carried out at that part of the harbour.
If a graving dock is built in the course of time it will not be the first. Many people will remember the old graving dock situated where the deep-water berth is today.
That dock gave yeomen service for many years and it was so well built that it took much longer to remove than was anticipated.

Aberdeen Evening Express, 06/05/1955:
New Pontoon Dock - The new pontoon dock at Albert Quay is now in commission, the first vessel to go on being the trawler Dandara which was having her hull repainted. The old pontoon dock has been removed to the sandy beach at Old Torry where it is being broken up. This task is not expected to be completed until about the end of this month.
Shipbuilder
John Lewis and Sons
Owner
Aberdeen Harbour Board
Dimensions
Length: 180'5"
Breadth (entrance): 42'7"
Depth on sill: 16'
Lifting Capacity: 700 tons.
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