Coast Guard maintains historic lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay

BALTIMORE - Boatcrew members from Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md., use their 41-foot utility boat to take members from Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Baltimore to the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay, Feb. 7, 2011. Following a low-voltage alarm, members from ANT Baltimore visited the lighthouse to ensure that the lighting equipment was working correctly. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Brazzell.BALTIMORE – The Coast Guard serviced the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Md., Monday.

Due to a low-voltage alarm, Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Baltimore dispatched a crew to the lighthouse to diagnose the problem.

A 41-foot Utility boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Annapolis transported the aids to navigation technicians to the lighthouse. Upon arrival, the technicians proceeded to check voltage levels, inspect wiring and conduct testing on the electrical equipment.

Once their inspection was complete, they found the light to be watching properly. They determined that the alarm may have been caused by lack of sunlight on the solar panels that charge the lighthouse’s batteries.

The low voltage alarm was sent through the Coast Guard’s aid control monitoring system, which uses cell phone technology to send messages from the lighthouse to a computer at ANT Baltimore. The system regularly sends status updates and can be “pulled” by technicians to check electrical levels and send commands to the light, such as to reset itself.

The Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, originally built in 1875, is one of only 10 lighthouses to be named a national historic landmark, the highest recognition that a historic structure can receive. The lighthouse is also the only screw-pile light on the Chesapeake Bay still in its original position.

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