CLEVELAND – The U.S. Coast Guard is alerting boaters of a change coming to the Tawas Point Lighthouse navigational aid in East Tawas, Michigan, in September.
The U. S. Coast Guard will be turning off the light inside the Tawas Point Lighthouse and activating a new lighted aid to navigation about 3,000 feet away at Tawas Point where the fog signal is located, providing better visibility to mariners.
In addition to the new location, the light characteristic will change from an occulting white light that appears red from some areas, called red sectors, to an all-around white light that flashes every four seconds. The GPS position of the new light is 44-14.9040N, 083-27.5477W.
The current light is housed inside a fourth-order Fresnel lens that was installed in the lighthouse in 1901. Lighthouse keepers turned it on and off daily until it was automated in the 1950s. Fresnel lenses are now antiquated, subject to environmental damage and difficult and costly to maintain so the Coast Guard is replacing them with modern aids to navigation.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which owns Tawas Point Lighthouse and the property it sits on, has submitted an application to allow the Fresnel lens to remain unlit inside the lighthouse as a museum display. The application is currently under review by the Coast Guard curator.
The date of the change is based on weather and availability of Coast Guard aids-to-navigation teams, but it is expected to happen some time during the month September. When the change occurs, Coast Guard Sector Detroit will broadcast it over VHF-FM marine radio for two weeks.