Here’s Your Chance to Be a Lighthouse Keeper on the Coast of Salem


“Many people dream of coming out here and reading a book … watching the Atlantic Ocean, listening to the foghorn, you can do that. You just have to do all your other things too.”

Tara Flanagan

If you’ve always dreamed of living on a semi-remote island or wanted to add a lighthouse caretaker to your resume, this might be your chance.

Bakers Island Light Station Looking for its next off the coast of Salem light station caretaker,

The lighthouse needs a few volunteers the following summer to stay on the island from mid-May to mid-September and keep the place beautiful and functional.

For the past five years, the position has been filled by Tara and Brian Flanagan, who say they originally landed the job.

They are leaving only to embark on another adventure, sailing for Maine and Nova Scotia, Tara Flanagan told Greeley on Tuesday.

“We want to continue some of our adventures, but it’s still hard to think that we’re not going to be here next summer,” Flanagan said.

The light station caretaker is responsible for mowing, trail maintenance and property maintenance, as well as hospitality duties, which include greeting visitors during the day and managing overnight visitors and campers, Flanagan wrote. Facebook, Handyman skills and familiarity with marine boating are also required.

“We’ve set it up so we think the people who will take over for us will really be the caretakers—they’ll have to mow and trim the trails and greet guests, but they won’t cement and rebuild the buildings. And things like that,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan wrote on Facebook, “Caretakers have access to keeper houses and exclusive use of powerboats to travel to the mainland.”

He told Greeley that every week brings with him a lot of tasks.

“First we have to make [sure] place [stays] Looking beautiful for visitors because they don’t want to know it rained five days before they arrived – they want to see a beautiful lawn and garden that has been weeded and trails can be managed.” Flanagan said.

It takes a full two days for Flanagans to mow, remove weeds, and otherwise manage the property to keep it looking its best. (The United States Coast Guard is concerned with the actual light and foghorn, Flanagan said.)

Then, in the middle of the week, the couple gets some help for a day.

“Wednesday is Volunteer Day,” Flanagan said. “So we have a load of volunteers of the day who come out. We have a really amazing core group of volunteers, and then there are some new people who try it. And that’s when we meet as a group and work on projects.”

This season alone volunteers tackle projects like installing new siding on the sunporch, painting the trim in the bedroom, and replacing the roof at the Keeper House.

Thursday is all about preparing for weekend visitors by preparing the assistant keeper house.

“People can pay to come and spend the weekend, and they arrive on Friday afternoon,” Flanagan said. “So we clean the house. It’s really minor, it’s the smallest part of our job cleaning the house.”

He also prepared a campground for the guests. When the Flanagans first took office, there was no campground near the lighthouse. Now, this is a highly rated camp ground

Flanagan said part of the caretaker position is focused on hospitality.

“We contribute what guests want from us – if they want to be alone, we leave them alone, if they want to interact with us and ask 1,000 questions, we’ll answer 1,000 questions,” he said.

A day tour takes place from Salem on Sundays, during which Flanagan gets to share her interest in the island’s history with visitors.

“This is my chance to give my history tour of Bakers Island and some of the important highlights and history,” she said. “Again, we answer a lot of questions about what it’s like to be here as a caretaker, what it’s like to live off the grid.”

He said meeting people is one of Flanagan’s favorite parts of the job.

“One of the best things Brian and I take away from our lifestyle is to put down the cell phones, put down social media, and really chat,” she said. “When you start talking to people, you find that there is actually a seventh-degree separation between you and the person you’re talking to.”

In one particular story, Flanagan said she was talking with a visitor who had boarded the boat now owned by Flanagan, when she was a sea ​​scouts Boat in Connecticut.

,[The best part is] It’s getting the chance to be able to meet everyone and hear some of their stories and share their love for this island,” Flanagan said. “There’s never a dull day here when we’re giving tours or talking to people. People usually just leave here happy and out of this world; we’re thrilled that we’re giving people this opportunity. “

Although the job is a lot of fun, Flanagan said it’s not always easy. When problems arise, they have to be creative about how to fix them because they can’t go to the mainland for every issue.

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“The caretakers of the future are going to be… fixing things that break — we call it crazy MacGyver skills because we can’t just go to Home Depot,” she said. “It takes a half-hour boat ride into town to get the things we need and then come back and you realize the pieces I bought three hours ago are wrong. My husband is very engineer-oriented, so he really Can fix almost anything with duct tape, string, and a paperclip.”

Flanagan said they are working on video how to troubleshoot all the different systems to help future caretakers.

A 10-acre area of ​​the light station has been occupied under the watchful eye of the Flanagans. Large-scale changes the couple oversaw include the installation of a solar power system that fully powers both buildings, the construction of a campground on the island, and the addition of a washing machine – a generous addition from last season. Result of donation.

“When we came out here it was a little rough around the edges – very little power, no freezer,” Flanagan said. “We only had a few LED lights, and we used to joke that our sailboat was better equipped than the position to care for here. But we fell in love.”

The island is completely off-grid, with no access from the mainland, she said. The buildings run on a solar power system, the water comes from a well, and cooking and heating is done with propane gas that is brought in from the mainland.

However, they do have excellent Wi-Fi and cell service, Flanagan said, which makes it possible for anyone to work remotely while being a caretaker — if they have some flexibility.

“You have to be available here to do your day’s work,” Flanagan said. “My job is very flexible – I could do it early in the morning, late at night, in my spare time.”

Although only a small number of people can care for the light station, it’s not the only way to experience Baker Island Light Station, Flanagan said. People can come to the Assistant Keeper House for day tours, camping, or staying overnight.

“There are always options to volunteer here,” she said. “If people are not selected as caretakers, they can always come out on Wednesday and start seeing how it is and maybe be considered for a position in 2024.”

Flanagans originally became caretaker for Baker Island Light Station in 2018 after a season on Maine’s Seguin Island. He was only supposed to be a temporary caretaker, while Essex National Heritage, the organization that handles the light station, got someone else. But they stick around, postponing their plans to go to Maine and Nova Scotia.

Although it isn’t always sunny and warm on the island and weather conditions have canceled many plans over the years, Flanagan said she still loves the job and is sad to have to leave it.

“It’s work. But for us, it’s a labor of love,” she said. “Many people dream of coming out here and reading a book… watching the Atlantic Ocean, listening to the foghorn, you do it. can. You just have to do all your other things too.”

Those aspiring to be light station caretakers can learn more online and can send resumes and qualifications [email protected],

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