LIGHTHOUSES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA:

Triple Island,  Chris Mills Lens,  Chris Mills

Triple Island Lightstation

54 18' N    130 53' W


Location
Triple Island is located in Brown Passage about 25 miles west of Prince Rupert.

Request for Historical Info and Photos

Erik Milton has been working as a lightkeeper on Triple Island since January 2000. He is looking for historical information and photo's pertaining to the station. Information regarding the construction of the light, the people involved, past keepers, storms, humour and any other stories of interest would be welcomed. If any of you have information about Triple Island, or old photographs, Erik would appreciate it very much if you shared them with him. He is especially interested in speaking with keepers that have worked on Triple in the past.  You can contact Erik by clicking here. Thank you.

History
The Triple Island light was built to guide mariners through the rocky waters of Brown Passage, on their way to the port of Prince Rupert. The tender for construction bids was put out by the Department of Marine in 1916, and by 1920 the lighthouse was staffed and running. Triple Island was a difficult place for keepers to work. There is little room, no vegetation, and the machinery is housed in the same building as the living quarters. Early lightkeepers at Triple had more then their fair share of trials and tribulations (for some of the interesting stories about Triple, and other lights, see the late Donald Graham's book, titled "Lights of the Inside Passage"). Conditions are much the same on Triple today as they were in the 1920's. To help the keepers keep their sanity Triple Island was made into a rotational station in 1960 and is now run on the same 28 day lay system as the Coast Guard ships. Satellite tv and internet, furnace heating, and other modern amenities have also helped to make Triple a more pleasant station to work at.

Aides to Navigation
The following information taken from Canadian Coast Guard's Pacific Coast list of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals (Nov. 02/2006):

  List of Lights Number:   752
G5812
  Name:   Triple Islands
  Position:   On the northwesterly rock of the Triple Islands.
N54 17 40.7 W130 52 49.8
  Light Characteristics:   Fl(2) W 9s
  Focal height above water:   28 m
  Height above ground:   21.9 m
  Nominal Range:   16 nm
  Description:   White octagonal tower
  Remarks:   Flash 0.25 s; eclipse 2.5 s;Flash 0.25 s; eclipse 6.0 s.
Year round.
  Foghorn:   No longer in service.

Weather Reporting
The first marine weather report goes out at 0330 in the morning. The last is sent out at 2130. This continues every three hours throughout the day, 365 days a year. Each report includes information on sky condition, visibility, precipitation, wind speed and direction, wave height, and ocean swell height and direction. This information is transmitted to the Coast Guard Radio Station in Prince Rupert where it is put on the Continuous Marine Broadcast VHF weather channel.

Five of the weather reports each day also contain supplemental aviation weather information about clouds, air temperature and dew point for use by aircraft pilots.

Mariners and pilots are welcome to call Triple Island any time between 0330 and 2130 for current weather and sea conditions. We monitor various VHF radio channels and can also be reached on the ALN circuit by calling 250.627.0344, extension 875.

Storm at Triple, © Erik Milton

Transportation
The lightstation is accessed by boat only with great difficulty and in the best sea conditions. The shoreline is rocky and there is no protected water. Supplies, mail, and keeper rotation are done once a month by Coast Guard helicopters. Fuel and other supplies are brought by Coast Guard ships, usually once per year.

Communication
The primary communications link is by radio-telephone through the Coast Guard Radio Station in Prince Rupert (see "Weather Reporting"). The lightkeepers also monitor several VHF marine radio channels. Cellular coverage at Triple is good and keepers often have personal cell phones.

Lightkeepers
Due to the nature of Triple Island keepers are rotated every 28 days on a lay system. Two keepers work on each shift. As of October 2006 the keepers at Triple Island are Glenn Borgens and Erik Milton on one shift, and Richard Rose and Bob Vetter on the other.

Looking West © Erik MiltonTower,  Erik Milton   From the air,  Erik Milton


Back to Lighthouses of British Columbia

Photos: Chris Mills or Erik Milton