Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Lighthouse Keeper's Duties

The following excerpt is taken from "Instructions to Light-Keepers," from the Lighthouse Board, July 1881. There are 94 "General Instructions to All Light-Keepers," as well as instructions to keepers of light ships; instructions for management of fog-signals, sirens, steam-whistles, and fog-bells; regulations for painting the tower, purifying water, managing provisions, and establishing salaries...more than 200 instructions in all.

Below is Instruction Number 16:

"Keepers must be courteous and polite to all visitors who conform to the regulations, and show them everything of interest about the station at such times as it 
will not interfere with their light-house duties. Keepers must not allow visitors to 
handle the apparatus or deface lighthouse property. Special care must be taken to 
prevent the scratching of names or initials on the glass of the lanterns or on the windows of the towers. No visitor should be admitted to the tower unless attended by a 

Photo by Eakin Howard

After Ocracoke lighthouse was electrified and automated keepers were no longer required. However, the National Park Service still sometimes opens the lighthouse during summer months so visitors can step inside. The spiral stairs are not open to the general public, and climbing  the lighthouse is not allowed. More information, including photos of the inside of Ocracoke Lighthouse, can be viewed here: https://www.ocracokenavigator.com/ocracoke-lighthouse.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092116.htm.


  1. Anonymous8:07 AM

    On Tybee Island I had the chance to wait in line and climb up the spiral stair way to the top. Did I mention it is narrow and steep and it was during the Summer. Did I forget to mention there were many many other people ahead of me and as many that wanted to exit and descend the stairs at the same time I was ascending the stairs. It was hot and breathtaking for many of the visitors inside the stairwell. When one got to the top and stepped out for a bit of fresh air and to take in the vista, the knowledge of returning to terra firma would be as challenging as the previous 20 minutes caused me to put on my cheerleading hat and spoke with encouraging words to those ascending with looks of resolve upon their face. Positive reinforcement is priceless. Plus it amused me and made the time fly.

  2. Anonymous4:27 PM

    this is a side bar, what ever happened to the 2 kids that videoed their drone flight around the top of the ocracoke lighthouse? after the they showed it on the news here the story just died out. It must not have been a big deal. I though it would be. Isn't that illegal? I think it might still be on you tube. anyway the video was good.

    1. I never heard about this, so know nothing about it. Perhaps someone else does.

  3. Anonymous12:17 PM

    that was 2 years ago, it was settled and the video removed from youtube. I guess no one wants a copy cat for that event. rightly so.