Coast Guard Solicits Public Comments Regarding Changes To Light House

BALTIMORE – The Coast Guard is soliciting for comments from the public on proposed changes to the Smith Point Light House, which marks the southern entrance to the Potomac River.

Smith Point LighthouseProposed changes to Smith Point include reducing the nominal range of the white light from 22 nautical miles to 15 nautical miles, removing the red sector and discontinuing the sound signal.

Due to the catastrophic failure of the submarine power cable and the substantial cost to replace it with a buried submarine cable, the Coast Guard is exploring means to decrease the cost to restore the lighted aid to navigation and decrease electrical loads while simultaneously providing a lighted signal that would meet user operational needs.

Comments on the proposals to discontinue the horn, discontinue the red sector and reduce the nominal range are solicited and can be provided to:

Commander (dpw)
Fifth Coast Guard District
431 Crawford Street, Rm.100
Portsmouth, VA.23704
Attn.: Albert Grimes

Or email to:

In your comments, please address the impacts these proposed changes may impose on your operations. Please also include in your correspondence the means you are using to navigate in the area of Smith Point Light and any electronic sensors used while traversing the waters of Chesapeake Bay.

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One Comment

  1. Dave McNally says:

    I am the owner of Smith Point Lighthouse. I travel the waters of the cheasapeake quite often going to and from the lighthouse. I have on two occasions in the last year been in peril because the light is not working and only a blinking beacon is in its place. One was due to poor visibility and the other was a night approach to the light. The night approach was a shocker. When I entered the bay to look at the light, all I could see was several red blinking lights. I was 2 miles away and couldn’t tell where the lighthouse was at first. I had to travel almost a mile and a half before the shape of the light could be seen. It looked like just so many blinking bouys. If I didn’t have a knoledge of the area, I would not have found it.
    I am ok with eliminating the horn. When in a power boat, you have to be close to hear it on a good day over the noise of the outboard. It has never been a factor when traveling to and from the light.
    The red sector puzzles me as to why you with to eliminate it. I don’t see any economic value in doing this and it is a good indicator when on the water as to your position. I can not see any benifit to eliminate the red sector.
    Going from a 22 mile to 15 mile light is also puzzling. If you want the light to be a lighted bouy, I have already told you that it doesn’t seem to work for me. The sweeping light of a lighthouse is just not the same as a blinking solar light.
    Since I have seen a new spot light crated on the light, I sense that what you will be doing is already been decided. I thought you would like my thoughts on this anyway.
    Dave McNally