Most visits by the U.S. Coast Guard to perform maintenance at a lighthouse do not require using a helicopter.
But such was not the case this January when the U.S. Coast Guard was forced to make helicopter visits to two remote Lake Michigan lighthouses to get things working again after some wild December storms.
Although both the White Shoal Lighthouse, located west of the Straits of Mackinac, and Grays Reef Lighthouse, near St. Ignace, Michigan, are now privately owned, the Coast Guard is still responsible for their beacons as aids to navigation.
The visits required risky work by the Coast Guard’s Air Station Traverse City and the Aids to Navigation Team from Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie to get the lighthouses operational again.
A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter lowered technicians and equipment down to both of the lighthouses and then returned later, when the work was done, to hoist the team members back up to the helicopter. The Coast Guard said they completed twelve hoisting revolutions between the two lighthouses. The only big problem was that the entryway door to the White Shoal Lighthouse was covered with ice and frozen shut, requiring the crew to chop away at the ice to get it open, which was not an easy task.
The Coast Guard personnel who participated in this project are to be saluted for a job well done.
This story appeared in the
May/Jun 2023 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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