May 29, 2018

Lighthouse Goes Dark Over Memorial Day Weekend


The skies on Hatteras Island became a little darker over Memorial Day weekend, as the light within the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stopped working. Reports started to trickle in on Sunday that the familiar and rotating beacon was missing, and efforts are underway to assess the problem.

Though the lighthouse itself is managed by the National Park Service, the light within the structure is maintained by the Coast Guard, which is responsible for the repairs.

Boone Vandzura, the National Seashore’s Chief Ranger for the Cape Hatteras Group, said that the National Park Service has already been in touch with the U.S. Coast Guard, and a local USCG technician is being sent to the lighthouse on Tuesday morning to examine the light and determine the problem.

“We don’t yet know the cause of why it went out, but we know they are headed out there to look at it first thing in the morning,” said Vandzura.

This is the second time in 2018 that the lighthouse has had an unexpected break in operations.

In mid-January, the lighthouse was damaged by a series of storms that impacted the island, and replacement parts needed to be created from scratch in order to get the light up and beaming again. Because of the intricate parts that were crafted for the complex malfunction, the lighthouse remained off for more than a month.

A similar issue popped up in February of 2016, when the lighthouse became stuck, with its beacon fixed towards the neighborhoods of Buxton. During the January repairs, the lighthouse was turned off to avoid a constant light shining into the homes of Buxton residents. 

As of Tuesday morning, there was no timeframe yet for the repairs, and it was unknown as to whether the issue was related to the January damage. The Island Free Press will post updates on the repair timeline as soon as they are available.

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