Chesapeake Light Tower*

The Chesapeake Light Tower stands 13 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia Beach. This steel, “Texas style” tower was built in 1965 and is 120 feet tall. The tower is supported by four 33 inch concrete filled steel pilings driven 180 feet into the ocean bottom. This so-called Texas tower was an adaptation modeled on the offshore oil drilling platforms first employed off the Texas coast.
The actual light tower stands 37 feet above the helicopter deck.

This light was previously a manned-station and has been converted into an automated station. It is also the site of scientific experimentation to collect data on ocean properties and weather as part of the NOAA system.   NASA has used Chesapeake Light Tower as a platform for conducting research.   Since 1999 instruments have been mounted on the tower to collect data as part of the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES).

In 2004, the Coast Guard considered demolishing the station, but subsequent testing found it to be structurally sound so it remained an active aid to navigation.

In October 2012, Chesapeake Light Tower was transferred from the Coast Guard to the Department of Energy so the structure can continue to be used for climate research with the light remaining an active Aid to Navigation.

By 2016 it was no longer an Active Aid to Navigation and it was turned over to the GSA for sale.  It is a popular fishing location.

The Lightship Chesapeake, now located in Baltimore, served at this location beginning in 1933. The lightship stayed on location until 1965, except during World Was II, when the tower was built.





GPS: 36.905911, -75.712967


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