There is a serious no wake zone on Bodie Island at Oregon Inlet, and the Coast Guard station is right there to enforce it. All the little fishing boats that zip in and out of the inlet, slow down right where they are supposed to when coming in here.
The Coast Guard does have a much more serious purpose. "Station Oregon Inlet conducts search and rescue, boating safety, law enforcement, and marine environment protection operations. There is a boat crew available 24 hours a day that respond to more than 200 calls for assistance annually. The treacherous waters and adverse conditions of the Outer Banks often catch mariners by surprise."
Station Oregon Inlet is currently located at it's fourth site since it began as a Life-Saving Station in 1883. The present facility was constructed in 1990 at a cost of $3.5 million.
This picture is labeled as a Sombrero Light. It is not. It is Thomas Point Light. It IS a screwpile lighthouse like the caption says - the only problem is that Sombrero Light is NOT a screwpile lighthouse.
"U.S. General Services Administration officially transferred the Bodie Island Lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to the National Park Service (NPS) on July 13, 2000. The USCG will maintain the lighting apparatus, as Bodie Island remains an active aid to navigation."
This lighthouse is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (which is a bit confusing because Cape Hatteras also has a very famous lighthouse.)
The tower is not open to the public as it is in need of complete restoration. The orange fence was there when we visited in November 2004, and I think it was there because bits of the tower sometimes fall off.
One of the websites says:
"At a passing glance, one would think that the lighthouse is in good condition, but that is not the case. In June of 2004, the lighthouse and oil house received a new paint job after a lead abatement project was completed to remove old lead paint from the interior... The lighthouse is in such need of restoration, that on August 9, 2004, several chuncks of the exterior ironwork fell from the tower. Some of these pieces, weighting as much as 40 lbs, forced the closing of the oil house and base as a safety precaution until inspections are completed."
Up until August 2004, volunteers could open the lower portion of the lighthouse for visitors to step inside and look up the magnificent 214 stairs that wind their way to the top of the tower.
The old oil house now houses a generator.