Grays Reef Light
By Dave Wobser

Located twenty-three miles southwest of the Straits of Mackinaw. The light marks a reef that is a serious navigational hazard. The light was built in 1936 to replace the last in a series of lightships that had been anchored in the area for 45 years. Those were Lightships No. 57, No. 56 and No. 99.

The massive, two-story concrete base includes a steel door near the water line that can be opened from the deck of a ship for loading and unloading. A ladder is built into the concrete base and there is a hoist on the platform.

The white square two-story dwelling is encased in steel. The steel 65-foot tower rises from the center of the building and has a black parapet and lantern. The lantern has diagonal-barred windows and houses a modern 190mm plastic lens that replaced the original Third and Half Order lens.

A 40-foot stainless steel radio beacon tower was been added to the top of the lantern in 1939. Due to condition issues, the tower was removed On August 23, 2010.

The light was automated in 1976, and is an active aid to navigation. The station is manned once each summer when the Coast Guard uses it to monitor the sailboats participating in the Chicago to Mackinaw race.

Pictures may only be taken from passing freighters or private boat.

Click on images to enlarge

Grays Reef and White Shoal
from the deck of the Joseph L. Block

Photo by Roger LeLievre

Photograph by Dave Wobser

2008 view - Dan Vernier

2010 views - Dave Wobser

Location: Northwest of Waugoshance Shoal, in northern Lake  Michigan
Date Built: 1936
Active: Yes

Open to

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