Frying Pan Tower
Frying Pan Tower is a lookout tower on the Atlantic Ocean. It is located 32 miles off the North Carolina coast and goes 135 feet high. The tower provides safety to Mariners in the ocean. It is powered by a wind turbine and uses solar energy as electricity. It is used for education and environmental research. The tower also provides shelter to marine wildlife and other species in the region. The natural ecosystem is dependent on it.
The tower has a filtration system that provides potable water. There is a high-speed internet connection used for communications.
The Frying Pan Shoals have shallow waters and is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic because the shallow waters made it difficult for large ships to navigate. The U.S Coastguard stationed a lightship at the end of the shoals in 1854. The station was manned by various crews for the next 100 years.
The lightship was to be replaced with a permanent steel structure in the early 1960s. the structure was designed for support and housing for the crew. It was also made to warn ships about the shallow waters. It was called Texas Tower. Its construction was completed on November 24, 1964. The light station was automated in 1979. The crew for maintenance and repairs was stationed at USGC Station in Oak Island. They were there to provide routine maintenance and emergency repairs.
In 2004, the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and radar systems made the tower obsolete. It was abandoned by the Coast Guard soon after and retired officially. The tower could not be destroyed and recovered for scrap. This is because Frying Pan Shoals is a designated protected reef area. The tower was put up for auction by the government in 2010. The winning bid came from Richard Neal of Charlotte in North Carolina.
Richard’s plan was to preserve the tower. He managed to convert it into a Bed and Breakfast destination. This helped to maintain a steady funding source. The money raised covered the costs of updating, repairs, and maintenance. The Bed and Breakfast stopped to allow for major changes in the tower’s restoration. Richard explored fractional investment opportunities with like-minded individuals.
The Frying Pan Tower is a testament to people working together for the same cause. Some of the activities that went to make it a reality include;
· Restoring the tower
· Providing safety to mariners in the Atlantic Ocean
· Environmental research
· Education studies
· Creating a shelter to the natural ecosystem
There are a number of activities that went into creating the Frying Pan Tower that exists today. These include;
1. Restoring the tower
Most of the restoration work is done by volunteers.
2. Replacing and restoring new watertight portals
There are watertight lever-lock portal doors on each of the four sides of the tower. They help to keep elements out during hurricanes and ocean events.
3. Installing seafloor mooring and buoy system
Since the seafloor around the tower is a largely protected reef, there are some restrictions. Dragging objects like anchors is prohibited. They may cause a disturbance on the ocean floor. The tower uses non-obtrusive anchors into the bedrock. There are a coring vessel and divers charged with placing the moorings.
4. Replacing cross pipes
Salty ocean water is a recipe for corrosion. The yearly hurricanes in the region also do not help. This forces regular replacement of cross pipes. This work is done mainly by volunteers with specialized welding skills.
5. Replacing cathodic protection system
The long-term effect of steel in salty water is galvanic corrosion. The tower goes deep into the bedrock and needs sacrificial cathodes connected to it. These help to reduce corrosion that is inevitable in the ocean waters. The cathodes are sacrificed instead of the tower.
6. Auto-start generator and charging system
The tower uses mainly solar and wind energy. However, when nature cannot be depended on, the auto-starting generator comes into play. It pushes clean power into the batteries. This helps to keep the systems online 24/7.
The Frying Pan Tower relies greatly on volunteer work. It needs people who can donate their time and talents to help preserve the tower. The tower requires skilled volunteers interested in helping with restoration. Volunteers also enjoy the adventure of ocean life.
The vetting process for volunteers involves finding people with specific skill sets. There is a mandatory training course for safety. Volunteers receive on-site accommodation and meals. The tower does not hire employees but may contract for certain specialized services.
All proceeds from donations go into restoration and repairs. Donations also help with expenses from routine maintenance. It does not provide for transportation costs. Some of the skills required from volunteers include;
· Electrical work
· Certified captains
· Project managers
The tower allows people to buy shares instead of owning them. This is because the tower is not a business investment. It is more of investing in the future.
Fractional owners can own shares of the tower depending on how much they buy. You will get a fractional title that is yours until you sell it. This kind of ownership allows many owners to share the tower. Ownership information can be found in detail, on the official website.
There are many ways to help the tower achieve its mission. These are;
1. Making a donation
3. Buying merchandise
4. Buying needed items from the wish list
5. Getting the signature coffee blend
6. Giving through the PayPal giving fund.
The Frying Pan Tower is responsible for countless lives that were saved at sea. It offers safety to mariners in the Atlantic Ocean. It also allows for various research opportunities. It is a natural ecosystem for marine wildlife. The tower has been used for educational purposes. Various institutions have used it for environmental and oceanic research and studies. It is being restored with the help of donations and volunteers. The restoration efforts are being managed by a non-government organization. The organization is focused on protecting, restoring, and preserving the tower. It maintains the tower’s identity as a former U.S Coastguard Light Station.