March 1, 2016

UPDATE: Coast Guard working on repairs,
while lighthouse remains 'stuck'


Despite a fix on Monday that kept the light turning for several hours on Monday night, it appears that the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is stuck once again, and will continue to be “stuck” in one direction for at least another night.

According to Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn, of the 5th District Public, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse appears to have a broken spindle motor, and U.S. Coast Guard crews are continuing to troubleshoot to see what specifically is wrong.

Crew members from Aids to Navigation Team in Wanchese are looking for a potential replacement motor and parts at this time and report that there does not seem to be any problem with the light itself – just with the mechanism rotates the light.

"The light itself remains turned on and points out to sea," Littlejohn said, "though the light might not be visible to mariners, depending on what direction they are approaching from."

Because the light is still be used for navigation, the Coast Guard has been issuing an hourly Safety Marine Information Broadcast (SMIB) to notify mariners about the problem.

Littlejohn added that the lighthouse does not have a lens. It is lit by two back-to-back, 1,000-watt rotating lights. The lights, he said are serviced once a year or as needed.  It was last serviced on Aug. 9 of last year when the bulbs were replaced.

As of this time, there is not an estimate of when the repair will be complete, but it is actively being worked on.

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