When manned the crew of Cape Spencer light consisted of four men. One was a First Class Boatswain's Mate (commanding), a Second Class Engineman, a Seaman and a Fireman. Each man was assigned a tour of duty on the island which lasted one year. Under normal conditions, no crewman ever left during this period. Each crewman had his own bedroom and stood a four hour watch. Not only was the light maintained but a permanent radio watch was kept.
Supplies were provided by buoy tender operating out of Ketchikan. Each crew member was allowed a per diem amount which was pooled and set aside in an account which could be used to purchase food from a civilian food store in Ketchikan. Generally, the men ate very well, depending on their cooking skills. The basement of the light structure contained a large food storage room as well as a couple of freezers for frozen foods. The resupply was done every two weeks, weather and other missions allowing. There were periods of over three weeks without any resupply ship. This was difficult not only for the food situation but for lack of mail and a new supply of movies, no other entertainment being available the station being 100 miles west of Juneau.
The station was powered by three Caterpillar Diesel Generator sets. One ran at all times providing power for the station. Multiple storage tanks were situated around the station to hold fuel for these generators. On a lower level from the station was a boat house and a crane engine building. The crane was operated by another Caterpillar engine. The island had no landing place with sheer cliffs rising on all sides. To get on or off the island, other than by helicopter, the crane was hooked up to a sixteen foot fiberglass boat with an outboard engine, The men would climb into the boat and be swung by the crane over the edge of the island and dropped the sixty feet to the water. To get back on the boat had to be maneuvered under the hook at the base of the cliff, attached and lifted back up. Needless to say this was not any easy feat and was seldom done in rough weather. Resupply was accomplished the same way, hoisting cargo nets of supplies up onto the boathouse deck.
To get men back and forth from Juneau, the boat would bring them into Dick's Arm, a fjord, located about a mile from the island which shelter provided a calm landing place for bush pilots to bring float planes in. Dick's Arm was also used for recreation for the men on the light when they could get off. It teemed with black bear, grizzlies and had Dall sheep on the higher slopes. The waters were full of giant halibut, salmon in season and giant king crabs. Seals basked on the rocky islands around the light and occasional herds (pods?) of killer whales would pass between the light and shore.
Considered "isolated duty", Cape Spencer was still not the worst nor most isolated post manned by the Coast Guard.