Keepers Program

Lighthouse Experience for 2024

Mid June until Labor Day Sunday


John Hanson and Linda Urich with their sons Thomas and Erik

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.  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. 


  • A minimum of 2 keepers is required at all times, with a maximum of 6 keepers.
  • Paying the rate for 4 keepers locks reservations and gives you exclusive us of the lighthouse (6 keepers maximum).
  • NEW: All bookings include individual or family membership (or renewal)in DRLPS!

Click on the link below for program rates

Keeper Program Rates for Summer 2024


  • Why is DRLPS changing rates?
    • Our primary mission is to preserve DeTour Reef Light while promoting awareness and education about the light.  Reducing keeper rates will help encourage interest in the light and awareness of the educational opportunities it can afford.
  • Why are the rates so much cheaper during the week?  Can I really stay there for $50 per night per person?
    • Maintaining a constant presence of keepers helps us by increasing maintenance and cleaning as well as simplifying operation of the new offshore power system.  No, the light cannot be rented for $50/night, but it can be rented by 2 people for $100/night, and if those two people pay $200/night they will have guaranteed private use of the lighthouse all to themselves for five nights (Sun-Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu).
  • Is there now full power and potable water at the light?
    • Yes!  Everything works except for the antique foghorn and the 1931 stove.
    • The microwave, hotplate, fridge, TV/DVD, and lighting are working.  There is unlimited potable water, and hot water for showers.
  • Can I stay from Saturday to Monday or other non-specified time intervals?
    • Boat transportation is scheduled on Friday and Sunday afternoons and is included in the cost of all keeper stays.  Other days are possible if the charter captain is available, but you would incur additional costs—contact us.

We encourage you to review the materials and information in the links below. For a keeper application and more information, contact us today at:
or 231-597-6844

The files are in PDF format and open in a new window.
Know Before You Go!
DRLPS Release 2024
Membership Application
DeTour Reef Light Brochure