Since the dawn of history, lighthouses have guided ships at sea. Lighthouse keeping around the world was often a family affair. Generations felt the call to be lighthouse keepers to keep the light bright to help preserve the safety of those at sea.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Understand that being a lighthouse keeper as a full-time career is almost a thing of the past. There are few remaining lighthouses in the world that employ full-time keepers. In the United States, Boston Harbor Light Station is the only remaining one to have an official keeper. The U.S. Coast Guard can help provide information about remaining lighthouse careers, but they do not use volunteer services.
Check with the National Park Service. Various states do permit volunteers to staff their lighthouses. Many lighthouses were turned over by the Coast Guard to the local or historical preservation society. Everyday management and maintenance is provided by volunteers.
Contact the U.S. Lighthouse Society. They say that many non-functioning lighthouses have been leased to local civic groups. Many lighthouses have been turned into museums, hotels or bed-and-breakfasts. You may find opportunities to work at these and fulfill your desire to become a lighthouse keeper.
Become a lighthouse keeper as a volunteer with the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Fox Island Lighthouse. They are located about nine miles north of Northport, Michigan. They accept applications for 1 to 2-week live-in positions as a lighthouse keeper. You'll greet visitors, provide historic information and guide tours. You'll also help in the gift shop. Call the GTLM office at (231) 386-7195 for more information and an application.
Tips and warnings
- Prepare to be physically fit if you want to work as a lighthouse keeper. You'll need to be energetic, able to climb stairs and work long hours. You'll also need to feel comfortable speaking with the public.