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Cape Decision is a headland on the south end of Kuiu Island in Southeast Alaska named by Captain George Vancouver in 1793. Vancouver decided here that he had progressed far enough north to be beyond the islands claimed by Spanish explorers.
The area is dangerous for navigation because of the strong tidal currents, the frequent occurrence of dense fog, and the numerous offshore rocks. Larger vessels that transit the Inside Passage typically pass Cape Decision. On September 10, 1911, the wooden steamship Ramona, bound from Skagway to Seattle, ran aground in thick fog on the Spanish Islands, just off Cape Decision. This prompted the construction of a light station that was activated in 1932.
The concrete lighthouse features a square tower with a light at an elevation 75 feet (23 m), and a one-story structure wrapped about its base. The lighthouse provided quarters for three keepers and had a basement that housed generators for the light and fog signal, boilers, and cisterns for storing water. The lighthouse became automated in 1974 and in 1989 a fire damaged the tram, dock, boathouse, hoist house, paint shed, and helipad. The original Fresnel lens was replaced in 1996 with a solar powered aero beacon. In 1997, the lighthouse was leased to the Cape Decision Lighthouse Society, a grass-roots organization dedicated to preserving the lighthouse for public recreation. Read more here and here. Download the latest version of the CoastView app to explore more of Cape Decision and Kuiu Island here: