Alligator Reef Light

Alligator Reef Light is located four nautical miles (7 kilometers) east of Indian Key, near the Matecumbe Keys of Florida in the United States, north of Alligator Reef itself. The station was established in 1873. It was automated in 1963 and is still operational. The structure is an iron-pile skeleton with a platform. The light is 136 feet (41 m) above the water. It is a white octagonal pyramid skeleton framework on black pile foundation, enclosing a square dwelling and a stair-cylinder. The lantern is black. The original lens was a first order bivalve Fresnel lens. The light characteristic is: flashing white and red, every third flash red, from SW by W 1/2 W through southward to NE 1/8 E, and from NE by E 3/4 E through northward to SW 3/8 S; flashing red throughout the intervening sectors; interval between flashes 5 seconds. It has a nominal range of 14 nautical miles (26 km) in the white sectors and 11 nautical miles (20 km) in the red sectors.

It is listed as number 980 in the USCG light lists.

Historical information

The name honors the U.S. Navy schooner Alligator, part of the U. S. Navy Anti-Piracy Squadron that had recently been established in Key West, which went aground at this location in 1822. The Alligator was blown up after removing as much as possible from it to prevent it from being used by pirates. Countless vessels have also sunk here on the reef's jagged coral. This lighthouse cost $185,000 to build at that time. To support the tower, a 2,000 lb (900 kg) hammer was used to drive the 12" (300 mm) iron pilings ten feet (3 m) into the coral.

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