August 28, 2007  -  

The author is Executive Director of the American Lighthouse Foundation and in contacting the Editor wrote: “Many people in the marine aids to navigation fields share my fascination for the LED beacons manufactured by the British Columbia-based Carmanah Technologies of Canada.”

“In addition to Carmanah Technologies’ success with LED’s on buoys and fixed lighted aids to navigation, I thought you might have an interest in learning that the company helped to make history when Avery Point Lighthouse in Connecticut was relit on 15th October last for the first time in 39 years since it was decommissioned. To the best of our knowledge, no other lighthouse in the United States has a self-contained LED beacon and the trial has been an ongoing success since last June.”

For the past six years, volunteers for the Avery Point Lighthouse Society (APLS), a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, have been working extremely hard to restore Avery Point Light in Connecticut. The 1944-vintage beacon, which was once structurally endangered and threatened with the real possibility of demolition, is now a shining example of what can be accomplished by passionate volunteers who are unwilling to be deterred by the numerous and frustrating challenges of lighthouse preservation.

This wonderful example of restoration (a $500,000 project) is now complete, and the shining beacon is within the lantern of the lighthouse. The final element, which is considered the heart and soul of every lighthouse, was proudly added on 15th October 2006 when Avery Point Lighthouse was relit for the first time in 39 years since it was decommissioned.

From all known accounts, it appears that when the 55-foot Avery Point Lighthouse was relit and the first green beams gleamed forth from its lantern on the evening of 15th October, that this exciting moment won’t be the only lighthouse history forged that night. Thanks to Carmanah Technologies of Victoria, British Columbia, who graciously donated one of their cutting-edge light emitting diode (LED) beacons to the American Lighthouse Foundation, it is believed that Avery Point is now the first lighthouse in the United States to be successfully outfitted with a self-contained, solar powered LED beacon.

Since 10th June 2006, the Avery Point Lighthouse Society conducted an experiment with the beacon to determine if the LED was able to obtain sufficient sunlight necessary for recharging the station’s batteries whilst situated inside the lantern. At the time of writing (mid-September), this experiment was quantified as a resounding success, thanks in part to Avery Point’s uniquely constructed lantern, which allows for ample sunlight to penetrate the interior and recharge the batteries of the beacon.

Carmanah Technologies, one the world’s leading manufacturers of LED technology, presently supplies the United States Coast Guard with a variety of LED beacons for buoys and light towers throughout our nation’s waterways. The batteries of Carmanah’s LED beacons require no replacement for up to five years, while the LEDs themselves has an incredible lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. Provided that the unit has no defects, the beacon requires absolutely no maintenance during the first four or five years of operation. This fascinating technology presents organizations such as the US Coast Guard and non-profit making bodies such as the Avery Point Lighthouse Society with one of the most reliable navigational lights.

On the evening of 10th June 2006, a truly exciting moment occurred following delivery of the Carmanah LED beacon to Avery Point Lighthouse. The APLS Web site captures this brief moment, noting “That night, Jim Streeter, Ron Foster and Ron’s son Joe Foster, returned to the lighthouse to make some adjustments to the height of the staging supporting the LED beacon. While doing so, the light automatically began its operation. The time was noted to be 8:24 pm.”

The APLS Web site went on to note, “Because the light was only temporarily installed for experimental purposes, in conjunction with the fact that official approval had not been yet granted by the US Coast Guard to have the light operational as a private aid to navigation, it was necessary to cover the lens. Of course several photographs of the light in operation were taken just before the lens unit was covered. A little sentimental, but at 8:24 pm on 10th June, the Avery Point Lighthouse had temporarily come back to life, almost 39 years after its beacon had been extinguished.”

To learn more about the lighthouse preservation efforts of the American Lighthouse Foundation, visit: www.lighthousefoundation.org.

Editor’s note: The Carmanah Technologies’ Web site can be found at: www.carmanah.com or www.solarmarinelights.com