The Oak Island Lighthouse was completed in 1958. The lights are 169 feet above the water. A misconception is that the lighthouse is 169 feet tall. The actual structure is 158 feet tall, but it stands on a slight rise. Therefore, the height of the light above the water is 169 feet, and it is so reported on nautical charts. The tower is designed to sway about three inches in a 100 mile per hour wind. There is no spiral staircase as found in most older lighthouses, but instead a series of ships ladders with a total of 134 steps to the lantern gallery level. The lighthouse is not open to the public for climbing.
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