Who says the time-honored duties of the lightkeeper are over?
As a recent effort at Avery Point Lighthouse in Groton, Connecticut, has shown, today’s modern keepers must still maintain a dedicated vigil, like their predecessors of old, to ensure a light shines forth for mariners at sea.
On April 15, 2011, the University of Connecticut notified the Avery Point Lighthouse Society that the tower’s beacon, located on the University’s Groton Campus, was extinguished.
From that point forward, a team effort to relight the optic went into full swing.
James Streeter, co-chair of the Avery Point Lighthouse Society, notified the chapter’ s home office at the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF) of the situation, which in turn, contacted the U.S. Coast Guard to report that the private aid to navigation was discrepant.
ALF then communicated with Carmanah Technologies in British Columbia, which manufactures the light emitting diode (LED) used at Avery Point Lighthouse to learn more about the necessary components needed to relight the beacon.
Carmanah Technologies originally donated the 702-5 Series LED beacon to the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF) in 2006 for the historic relighting of the tower following a six-year, $500,000 restoration carried out by the Avery Point Lighthouse Society, a chapter of ALF.
The LED beacon performed admirably since the relighting ceremony, requiring no maintenance and working without fail for nearly five years, but like all lights, there comes a time when its operating system must be renewed.
In the case of the beacon at Avery Point, it was time to install a new battery replacement kit. The original batteries were spent, which accounted for the light becoming extinguished.
After the Avery Point Lighthouse Society (APLS) exhausted all possible distributor outlets to obtain a new battery replacement kit in a timely manner, Carmanah Technologies once again stepped forward and graciously donated a kit to the American Lighthouse Foundation so that the light at Avery Point could be relit in short order.
Once the battery replacement kit arrived from Carmanah Technologies, another wave of teamwork sprang into action to install the unit.
APLS’s James Streeter worked with the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Facilities Department for this part of the process.
Thanks to the efforts of Ben Roccapriore, manager of the Avery Point Facilities Department, as well as Robert Zadroga and Jim Kane, the new unit was installed without a problem and relit inside the lantern of Avery Point Lighthouse on May 2, 2011.
By working together, not only is the beacon at Avery Point Lighthouse watching properly, but the effort has also shined a bright light on the value of teamwork by its keepers.
The American Lighthouse Foundation and its chapter, Avery Point Lighthouse Society, wish to express its sincerest gratitude to Carmanah Technologies for their donation of a battery replacement kit and the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Facilities Department for their assistance during the installation process.
Thanks to all involved, Avery Point Lighthouse is once again flashing its signature green beam every four seconds and helping to guide mariners along the entrance to the Thames River.