Over the past four years, the Annapolis Maritime Museum, in partnership with the U.S. Lighthouse Society and the City of Annapolis, has taken more than 1,500 visitors on guided tours of the historic Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. The Museum will offer a very limited number of public tours again this season, on Saturday, July 16, Sunday, July 17, Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14. Visitors will be ferried by boat out to the last screwpile lighthouse left in its original location, one-and-a-half miles offshore on the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the South River.
There will be three tours each day, beginning at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Each tour is limited to 18 passengers. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call the Annapolis Maritime Museum at 410-295-0104 or visit the web site www.amaritime.org. The cost is $70 per person. Since the number of tours is limited, advance registration is required.
Visitors will gather at the Museum’s McNasby Oyster Company building for check-in, safety briefing, and viewing the documentary “Legacy of the Light,” then step aboard the tour boat for the half-hour trip out to the lighthouse, about five nautical miles away. The boat is the motor vessel Sharps Island, owned and operated by Capt. Mike Richards of Chesapeake Lights, Inc.
“This is a rare opportunity to get an hour-long docent-guided tour of the inside of this icon of the Bay, a National Historic Landmark built in 1875,” says Museum Director Jeff Holland. “Since the City of Annapolis acquired the lighthouse from the Department of the Interior in 2004, volunteers from the U.S. Lighthouse Society and their contractors have been busy restoring the structure. Visitors will have a chance to see the progress over the next few years.”
“Visiting the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse is an adventure excursion,” Holland cautions. “It demands the physical ability to board a boat from a high dock, endure a 30-minute boat ride through potentially heavy seas, climb off the boat onto another dock, and then climb up a steep ladder and through a small trap door to the deck of the lighthouse. If you have any concerns that you or a member of your party will have difficulty, we strongly advise against signing on for a tour.” Visitors must be at least 12 years old and at least 48” tall.
To learn more about the lighthouse or to volunteer for restoration work with the U.S. Lighthouse Society, visit www.thomaspointlighthouse.org.