Located at the northern end of Long Beach Island in New Jersey, the Barnegat Lighthouse has had a long history. A lighthouse was first established there in 1835 and the existing structure was completed in 1859. Despite significant sand erosion in that area of the New Jersey coast, the structure, fondly known by locals as “Old Barney”, has stood ever since.
Barnegat Lighthouse originally used a first-order Fresnel lens which served until 1927, when the lighthouse was decommissioned and replaced by a lightship 8 miles offshore which was taken out of service in 1966.
Vega Industries was approached by the non-profit group, Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse, to quote for a new light which they would install for the 150th anniversary of the lighthouse in January 2009. A multi-tier VLB-44 LED beacon was considered, but the VRB-25 was finally selected because a revolving beacon would closely reproduce the flash of the original light.
The Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse group raised funds for the new beacon through a combination of membership dues, public donations, and by selling certificates saying “I climbed Old Barney” for a dollar each. In addition, Long Beach Township Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, which uses the image of the lighthouse in its uniform patches, made a large donation – doubling the money the Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse had raised and allowing for the lantern room glass to be replaced as well.
The VRB-25 installed at Barnegat Lighthouse is a 6 panel unit, rotating at 1rpm which produces a flash once every 10 seconds, the same as the original light. The VRB-25 contains a 6 place lampchanger and uses 100W lamps with a range of 21.7 nautical miles.
Vega assisted the group with the registration of the new light as a private aid to navigation as required by the United States Coast Guard.
With thousands of onlookers watching, the light was activated at 5pm on New Year’s Day 2009. The VRB-25’s optical light sensor activates the new light each night at dusk. Once again, Barnegat’s trademark signal of a white flash every ten seconds can be seen along the New Jersey coast.
(With thanks to Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse)