Sharps Island Light


During one of our last boat rides, we went to see Sharps Island Light.  It sits in 10 feet of water in the Chesapeake Bay, approximately three miles S/SW of the southern end of Tilghman Island, where it marks the shoal between the entrance to the Choptank River and the main shipping channel of the Chesapeake Bay.


Sharps Island Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay

1882 – Construction completed, it being the third lighthouse at this location.

1951 – Last year to have resident keepers; the light was put into automation.

Winter of 1976-77 – extreme cold created huge ice flows in the bay that piled 40 feet high against the light, pushing it to tip to the south at a 15-degree angle.



2008 – US government sold the light at an online auction to a Delaware LLC company for $80,000; the sale allowed the US Coast Guard continued access to maintain it as an active navigation aid in the Chesapeake Bay.  The sale did not include the submerged land it sits on.


2017 – Rapid deterioration forced the US Coast Guard to turn off the beacon and put the lighthouse into automation.  The owner hasn’t done anything with the lighthouse since ownership, so it continues to deteriorate.


Sharps Island Lighthouse


We made it just in time for me to photograph and us enjoy floating around the lighthouse a few minutes before two more boats arrived to it.  One for a slow ride-by viewing, the other dropping fishing lines.

Could this light be saved?  The cost would be extreme.  But, maybe it is impossible with the right person?

Rich Cucé, owner of a Pennsylvania industrial painting and sandblasting company purchased the Hoopers Light further down the Chesapeake Bay for $200,000 sight unseen and is now in the process of restoring that similar light.  It’s a very interesting story to follow, hearing about his next day of remorse after the excitement of winning the bid, having never been to the Chesapeake Bay nor on a boat, and the progress since.  A good read to follow of a historical lighthouse restoration and how the Chesapeake Bay people have come together to support him.

We plan on boating down to the Hoopers Light next summer to see its progress.



23 thoughts on “Sharps Island Light

  1. I have a heart for windmills and lighthouses. The one in your photo is particularly beautiful. Its rusty patina makes it something very special. Great photo

  2. Automated. Not quite “the real thing”, but better than nothing. I am glad, however, that no one was in the lighthouse when the ice hit! I hope some eccentric rich person takes on the challenge of renovation. I believe I have seen photos of this lighthouse with birds on it, that maybe you shared in the past?

    • I have shared this lighthouse before, good memory! 🙂 Back in a 2019 post. One very good thing for these abandoned lighthouses, they are awesome bird housing and perches, year round. Osprey for sure during the summer!

    • Lots of visitors, from humans who enjoy riding by or fish around, and then the birds. Osprey nest on them every summer and sea/water birds during the winter for perching. 🙂

  3. Made me think of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but this lighthouse is leaning to an even greater degree. It’s amazing, the power of water, frozen or otherwise. Great pictures!

  4. I think it’s pretty neat rusty, and tilted, but then I like urban decay, but it would be really neat to see it restored again too so, it could keep on lighting the way, and being a wonderful subject for you and other photographers.

    • I agree. I imagine it is checked to see if it leaches anything into the bay, otherwise I wonder how long it will last the way it is, before crumbling and require removal by the present owner. I know the Osprey love it in the summer!

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