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luminous range

Butler Flats Light

Butler Flats Light, New Bedford, Massachusetts is a lighthouse located in the New Bedford outer harbor, at the mouth of the Acushnet River. It is currently operated by the City of New Bedford. The lighthouse is not open to the public, but is easily visible from the shore along East Rodney French Boulevard in New Bedford as well as other points along the city's waterfront.

A sparkplug lighthouse originally built in 1898, this lighthouse was automated in 1978.

Historical Information from the Coast Guard web site:

In 1960 the Coast Guard announced that it was replacing certain lightships with fixed offshore structures. The structures they noted, would provide more efficient optics and would provide greater luminous range than was possible with lightships.

The first lightship to be replaced was the Buzzards Bay Lightship located in Buzzards Bay approximately five miles south of Gooseberry Neck, Mass., in 61 feet of water. The station was commissioned on November 1, 1961.

The underwater portion of the structure is a framework consisting of four 33 inch steel pipe members cross braced with 16 inch and 18 inch diameter steel pipe horizontally and diagonally. Through each of the 33 inch main pipe members, 30 inch cylindrical steel piles were driven and seated to bed rock at a depth of 268 feet below mean low water. A portion of the piles is filled with concrete.

The platform above water rises 66 feet above mean low water. The platform is two decks high, the lower deck housing fuel and water tanks and the upper deck consisting of quarters for the five Coast Guardsmen who man the station. The structure is equipped with a helicopter landing deck.

The light at the station is 101 feet above water. A light of 5,000,000 candlepower is shown during periods of low visibility while a 400,000 candlepower light is normally in operation. The light can be seen for 16 miles. The station is also equipped with a radiobeacon and a fog horn. The piles are floodlighted from sunset to sunrise.

Since this first offshore structure, the Coast Guard has placed five more lights of this type in operation

References

  • - pages about Butler Flats Lighthouse at New England Lighthouses, including a good history of the light

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