Tag: lighthouse

Legacy of Light: Last-of-a-kind lighthouse shines over Chesapeake Bay

The Thomas Point Shoal Light is the last screw-pile lighthouse in its original foundation in the United States and the last lighthouse that Coast Guardsmen served in on the Chesapeake Bay. It represents a shared history with both Aids to Navigation and maritime and Coast Guard ATON crews maintain the aid with the same dedication as the crews that came before them for the last 230 years.

Legacy of Light: Oldest west coast light marks ‘The Rock’

The 22-acre Alcatraz Island is visited by approximately 1,750,000 tourists a year. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena.

The Alcatraz Lighthouse not only guides mariners through the San Francisco Bay but also welcomes tourists to the island that used to house America’s most notorious inmates. Alcatraz Island was first used for a fort and military prison before becoming the most famous and formidable federal penitentiary in the nation. Today, members of Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) San Francisco keep the famous Bay Area light shining.

The Long Blue Line: Minots Ledge Lighthouse – the deadly “Lover’s Light”

A rigid-hull inflatable small boat from the Coast Guard buoy tender Abbie Burgess speeds out to the site of the survey project. (Courtesy of Mr. Brian R. McMahon)

On April 17, 1851, the newly constructed lighthouse at Minots Ledge collapsed into the sea surrounding the ledge killing both its lighthouse keepers. Located off the Massachusetts coast south of Boston, the failure of this state-of-the-art lighthouse had been in the making for years. The lighthouse was rebuilt and has withstood every subsequent gale, but the two keepers lost will remain an important chapter in the Coast Guard’s long blue line.

The Long Blue Line: Lighthouse tender and warship with the heart of a lion

Illustration of the Potomac Flotilla attacking Confederate fortifications at Aquia Creek, south of Washington on the Potomac in 1861. Courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command.

In the early days of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, tenders were vessels equipped with lifting apparatus to deliver heavy cargo and construction materials to lighthouses. Such was the case with Lighthouse Tender Van Santvoort that was later renamed Coeur de Leon, meaning lion-hearted. The tender supported the construction of the famous Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse and aided in the development of hot air balloon technology.

The Long Blue Line: Hawaiian keepers of the light

Travelers visiting Hawaii admire the beauty of the state’s lighthouses and their picturesque surroundings. However, these structures are hollow reflections of the native Hawaiians who stood the watch through good times and bad. As members of the long blue line, they helped build the history and heritage of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Sea Stories: Coast Guard Light Station Five Finger

Five Finger Islands Lighthouse was built 115 years ago and became a part of the Coast Guard in 1939. The light once guided prospectors into southeast Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and currently serves as a weather outpost for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Data Buoy Center, and remains a marine safety sight for the Alaska Marine Exchange. Hank O’Sullivan provides a first-person recounting of life as a member of the four-person crew stationed at the light in 1977.

Honor, Respect Devotion to Duty: Sally Snowman – keeper of America’s first light

America’s first lighthouse, Boston Light, is the only Coast Guard-manned lighthouse in the country. At 300 years old, it takes a special group of people to keep the light shining. Guiding a group of 32 assistant keepers is Coast Guard Auxiliarist Sally Snowman, the keeper of Boston Light.