ISLAMORADA, Florida -- August 11, 2012
A Florida Keys artist has begun an eight-mile Atlantic Ocean swim to raise awareness for preserving aging lighthouses off the island chain.
Larry Herlth's swim to Alligator Reef Lighthouse is expected to take the 52-year-old about six hours. He is being escorted by several boats and paddle boarders.
Known locally as "Lighthouse Larry" for his detailed scale reproductions of Keys lighthouses, Herlth is passionate about the need to preserve the large beacons originally built in the 1800s to warn ships away from the Florida Keys reef tract.
Modern Global Positioning System navigation has replaced the need for lighthouses in the Keys and they are no longer maintained.
Herlth says the metal structures are in dire need of restoration so the historical icons will remain standing for future generations.