In order to complete the next phase of work (replacing the unsafe cast iron stairs), we need to have access to the top of the tower so that the stairs can be replaced from the top to the bottom. It’s the only way to safely complete the work. So with the interior of the lighthouse totally off limits, we have to be able to get to the top of the tower from the exterior. Lighthouse Island is accessible only by boat, and even then there is no dock or boat landing.
Even if it were easy to bring a crane or high lift out here, it wouldn’t be appropriate. This area is a Class 1 Wilderness Area and is home to fragile ecosystems and rare flora and fauna. We needed a low impact method for repairing the tower. So, structural engineer John Moore of 4SE, Inc. designed a system of ladders and platforms to provide safe access to the top of the lighthouse.
Division 5, a steel fabricator near Charleston, generously donated the custom ladders for this project. They have been delivered to McClellanville and are currently awaiting installation.