Word came this week the venerable Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was malfunctioning. The light stopped flashing this past weekend.
The Cape Hatteras light is known for flashing every 7.5 seconds, but the spindle motor that moves the light in its circular motion malfunctioned and it effectively darkened the light. The Coast Guard, which maintains the light as a navigation aide, has been working on the problem since Monday of this week, but is not predicting when the light will be fully functional again.
The Aide to Navigation Team is looking for a replacement motor and parts to make the light fully functional again.
Technological advances such as GPS over the past few decades have made the importance of the light less critical to ships moving up and down the coast, but mariners depend on the 210 foot beacon to confirm their location. The Cape Hatteras Light can be seen for 20 miles out to sea.
The coast guard has been issuing hourly marine broadcasts to ensure passing ships are aware of the malfunction.
We will keep an eye on the progress of the repairs of the 214 year old beacon.