Fowey Rocks Light facts for kids
|Location||seven miles southeast of Cape Florida on Key Biscayne|
|Year first lit||1878|
|Automated||May 7, 1975|
|Tower shape||skeletal octagonal pyramid|
|Markings / pattern||brown and white|
|Focal height||110 feet (34 m)|
|Original lens||1878: 1st order drum Fresnel lens
1982: Flash tube array
|Current lens||VRB-25 system|
|Range||White 15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi), red 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi)|
|Characteristic||Flashing white 10s with two red sectors|
Fowey Rocks Light is located seven miles southeast of Cape Florida on Key Biscayne. The lighthouse was completed in 1878, replacing the Cape Florida Light. It was automated on May 7, 1975 and is still in operation today. The structure is cast iron, with a screw-pile foundation, a platform and a skeletal tower. The light is 110 feet above the water. The tower framework is painted brown, while the dwelling and enclosed circular stair to the lantern is painted white. The original lens was a first-order drum Fresnel lens which stood about 12 feet (4 m) high and weighed about a ton (tonne). The light has a nominal range of 15 miles in the white sectors, and 10 miles in the red sectors.
Fowey Rocks are named for the Royal Navy frigate HMS Fowey which was wrecked on a different reef to the south in 1748. During construction of the lighthouse the workers lived on a platform built over the water to minimize the danger of transporting them and their supplies each day from the mainland. While construction was under way, on 17 February 1878 the Arratoon Apcar ran aground on the reef. The 1500 ton steamship came to rest just 200 yards (180 m) from the workmen's platform. Efforts to save the boat failed, and she was pounded apart on the rocks and sank. Today the wreck is an excellent scuba diving site. One early assistant keeper of the lighthouse, Jefferson B. Browne, later became Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
In June 2011, the General Services Administration made the Fowey Rocks Light (along with 11 others) available at no cost to public organizations willing to preserve them. On October 2, 2012, the National Park Service accepted ownership of the light.
It is the last of the original Florida Keys offshore manned reef lights in operation, all others having been decommissioned by 2015. The original Fresnel lens has been replaced by a modern solar-powered light. Although owned by the National Park Service, the light continues to be maintained by the US Coast Guard.
Fowey Rocks Light Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.