location: 35 miles offshore from Cape Fear, North Carolina best viewing hours: 6:15am - 8:00pm time zone: Eastern Standard Time
You are watching live footage from beneath the Frying Pan Shoal Tower located approximately 34 miles seaward of Cape Fear, North Carolina. The tower is an offshore light tower built in the early 1960s to provide warning to ships that they were nearing shallow shoals, with depths of only 35 to 50 feet. This danger to ships earned the shoals, which stretch from Frying Pan Shoals North to the Outer Banks, to become known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” The underwater ecosystem is no longer protected by the tower’s lights thanks to GPS navigation technology, but it is somewhat protected from heavy fishing pressure, due to the distance from shore and rough sea conditions. The light tower is important habitat for fish, sharks, and other marine wildlife that frequent the region.
On this camera, you’ll see a variety of reef and open water-dwelling fishes– a strange combination for someone who is used to seeing the coral reefs of Florida and the Caribbean! This unique ecosystem is maintained by the shallow shoals that allow for coral and algae growth, as well as the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. Being dozens of miles offshore and farther north than common reefs makes this region a fascinating location for ocean viewing.
This live cam comes to you via explore.org, the philanthropic media organization and division of the Annenberg Foundation. It is part of a collection of more than a hundred HD cams around the world established by Charles Annenberg to help people connect with nature and fall in love with the world again. To see more live cams visit, explore.org.