Coast Guard Assists In Frigid Repairs At Michigan Lighthouse
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard assist in emergency repairs to a Michigan lighthouse in frigid Lake Superior.
Have you ever wondered what happens when lighthouses require repairs in the middle of winter? It turns out when a lighthouse as important as the Stannard Rock Lighthouse is in need of repairs in the winter, there is no waiting until spring. File this one under "Dirty Jobs Michigan Style".
The Stannard Rock Lighthouse recently experienced a blown-out window due to harsh winter storms. The lighthouse marks a large reef in Lake Superior and is essential for safe navigation, according to U.S. Coast Guard. The blown-out window left essential electrical components exposed to the destructive lake conditions in the midst of a Michigan winter. The damage posed a significant risk to the lighthouse’s light becoming inoperable putting Great Lakes vessels in peril.
The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City was brought in to assist Aids to Navigation (ATON) Team Duluth at the Stannard Rock Lighthouse. Members of the Traverse City U.S. Traverse City the ATON Team out of Duluth a ride via helicopter then lowered the repair crew down in the middle of Lake Superior to the lonely Stannard Rock Lighthouse.
Landing and walking on the tiny iced over "island" is not for the faint of heart. Doing so with winds and waves battering you all the way seems almost suicidal, and would be if it weren't for the hours of intense training each individual involved went through.
Another thing those stepping foot on the tiny lighthouse island has to be prepared for... the possibility of being stuck there for a while. Just because the U.S. Coast Guard was able to drop you off doesn't mean they can hoist you back up to the helicopter once the repairs have been made. Anyone who is lowered to the tiny lighthouse island is at the mercy of mother nature and Lake Superior.
A sudden shift in winds, waves, or burst of snow can hinder any effort to retrieve the souls lowered to the tiny platform. Luckily for the ATON Team out of Duluth, the Traverse City U.S. Coast Guard was able to make short work of hoisting the repair crew back on board.