Beach Access and Park Issues
September 22,  2009

Bodie Island and Ocracoke lights will be turned off for renovation work

The National Park Service will temporarily turn off the familiar blinking lights of Bodie Island and Ocracoke lighthouses in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, beginning Monday, Sept. 28, until renovation work at the two sites is completed.  

Bodie Island Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 2001, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) transferred its ownership to the National Park Service, which maintains the operation of the light as an aid to navigation.  

Now, the Park Service has received project funds for restoration of both the Bodie Island Lighthouse and its 1871 first-order Fresnel lens.  The lens was manufactured by Barbier & Fenestre, in Paris, France in 1871 and is one of the few remaining original lenses of this type.  The inside diameter of the lens is 6 feet, 9/16 inches.  The beacon was first lit on Oct. 1, 1872, and continues to operate as an active aid to navigation.  

The two Bodie Island projects involve several phases which are expected to take at least 18 months.  Repairs include:

•    The 344 glass prisms will be removed from the tower for cleaning.
•    The metal catadioptric panels that hold the prisms and the metal pedestal that supports the lens will be cleaned and restored in place.
•    Strengthening the support of 10 flights of the lighthouse’s spiral staircase and replacement of 21 cracked stair treads.
•    Removal of lead paint and repainting the lighthouse interior.
•    Replacing electrical lines, conduit, interior lights and lightning protection.
•    Installing a fire detection and suppression system.

In 2000, the USCG transferred ownership of the Ocracoke Lighthouse to the Park Service, which maintains it as a functioning aid to navigation.  The NPS funded renovation of Ocracoke Lighthouse is expected to take approximately four months.  The lens will remain in place but be temporarily extinguished and protected while the renovation is underway.  The repairs will include:  

•    Renovation of metal work on the interior and exterior.
•    Correcting the lightning protection measures.
•    Painting the interior of the lighthouse.

A broadcast notice to mariners will be issued by the USCG to all mariners of the temporary interruption of the lights and will provide updates to mariners until the lights return to normal operations.

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