The DeTour Reef Light Keeper program is increasingly popular with lighthouse lovers and boat watchers. From the first keeper program in 2005 with 13 volunteer keepers, the program was increased to 38 keepers in 2006 and further expanded to 59 keepers in 2007. Hundreds more have been keepers since. The Society’s experience with these keepers exceeded our hopes. We had dedicated hard working lighthouse lovers who did everything we asked and more. They made tour visitors feel welcome and comfortable on the light. They scampered up and down the tower steps and the 20 foot vertical access ladders and they took lots of photographs and saw lots of freighters. And they certainly made new friends.
The program provides significant free time away from lighthouse work and tour duties. We are planning tours on only one day of each keeper weekend. Keepers will reside at the lighthouse Friday through Sunday, perform cleaning and light maintenance tasks, greet visitors and assist with tours of the lighthouse, keep a log and prepare their own meals. Keepers must be in good physical condition, capable of making multiple trips up and down the vertical 20-foot pier ladders and to the top of the lighthouse.
The DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society’s Keepers Program is a wonderful, unique opportunity to experience life as a lighthouse keeper on a 1931 offshore historic lighthouse, enjoy the magnificent views of beautiful scenery and freighters coming to and from Lake Huron at the mouth of the St. Mary’s River, and to contribute to preservation of one of Michigan’s magnificent maritime monuments. Approximately 20 ships plus many more pleasure craft pass close by the lighthouse every day. Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular! DeTour Reef Light is the first offshore light (i.e. not land or island-based) to offer a volunteer lighthouse keeper program. Today, only a few offshore lighthouses in the world provide this opportunity.
The living quarters are furnished similar to the period of Coast Guard staffing, which was terminated in 1974 when DeTour Reef Light was automated. The keeper’s room has a double bed, and two sets of bunk beds are provided in the assistant keepers’ room. A fully functional 1931 GE Hotpoint electric range with oven and warming drawer, an electric refrigerator, coffee maker, toaster and microwave oven are provided in the galley. The office includes a fully restored 1930s roll top desk, a marine radio, and a glass front bookcase. The bath has a modern toilet, bathtub and shower. Unlike the manned period, water is sterilized with a filtration and ultraviolet purification system and sewage is treated with a sophisticated marine sanitation system.
We encourage you to review the materials and information in the links below. For questions or more details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 906-493-6609.
Keeper Log Excerpts through 2015
One of a Kind Experience by Susan Ager, Detroit Free Press columnist, 7/6/2006 Note: The Spider Problem is a thing of the past!
Rooms with a View by Cindy Zuker, Country Lines (Nov/Dec 2006)
Lighthouse Keeping at DeTour Reef by Mike Hershberger, Past Keeper at DeTour Reef Light