Keeper for the Week Programs  
A Totally Unique Green Vacation Experience

Become our "Keepers for a Week or a Night" at the Rose Island Lighthouse for the most rewarding volunteer vacation of your life!

If you have dreamed of being a lighthouse keeper, and are looking for a rewarding "working or lighthouse keeping vacation" no matter how little time you've got, we may be able to make your dreams come true! During the last 20 years, we have met some wonderful people who invested their time, their skills and their love to become part of the history of this very special island lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island.


The Rose Island Lighthouse has been maintained by volunteer keepers since it was restored in 1993. In the early days, our keepers spent a few hours each day doing daily record keeping, seasonal maintenance chores, and cleaning. They also enjoyed a significant amount of "vacation" time for relaxation, reading, and such. We still offer this "Keeper-Vacation" experience.

Every once-in-a-while our keepers who stayed for a full week would stay busy with a special project for 6-8 hrs per day. At the end of their week they had a log of their time, photographs of their work, and we gave them a letter acknowledging the full amount of their program fee as a contribution, since RILF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In addition, they were able to claim some, or all, of their out-of-pocket expenses for the week as a charitable donation (including travel and food, but not the value of their time). We now formally offer this option as the "Full-Time Keeper" program.

Or if your time is limited you can be our Relief (Nightly) Keeper-
Stay for one night or a couple. More details below when you scroll down a bit.

We are grateful to the hundreds of keepers who have maintained the lighthouse since 1993 and we look forward to seeing some of you come back to help with our next major project -- to complete the restoration of Fort Hamilton, including the NW circular bastion and the barracks (pictured right)

Fort Hamilton Barracks
TERMS OF DUTY- applies to all weekly keepers:
Your week as Lighthouse Keepers runs from 10:00 AM Sunday to 10:00 AM the following Sunday. It begins with a one-hour orientation by our staff who review your traditional responsibilities and specific projects with you, then they will leave you to get settled and let everything sink in.... at this point you are officially the keepers of the Rose Island Lighthouse! Your first official duty will be to take the flag down at sunset.

Your daily duties start about 7:30 AM when you listen to the marine weather on the VHF radio. At 8 AM your rounds begin by raising the flag (you will lower it at sunset). Next you will record and manage our wind-powered electric system and rainwater gathering system. You'll make sure the lighthouse is clean and presentable for the day, will greet visitors and overnighters in the museum, and will collect money from the landing fee boxes and gift shop at the end of the day.

Floor Plan 2nd Floor

Floor Plan (2nd Floor Keepers' Quarters)

3 Keeper Programs

1. Regular Keeper Vacation Week - full week stay
Every day each person will devote 1 hour to lighthouse keeping chores, responsibilities and maintenance projects. The balance of the day is yours to pursue relaxation, recreational and other vacation activities.

2. Full-Time Keeper Week (Tax-Deductible) -full week stay
If you have skills we need, and you are willing to work 6-8 hours for 5 days of the week, then you can be our Full Time Keeper of the Week. We'll do our best to match your skills with our projects to maintain the Rose Island Light Station and to restore and renovate the magnificent 200-year-old structures of Fort Hamilton.
To be eligible, you must contact us IN ADVANCE and fill out an application. During your week you must keep a written log of your time and take before-and-after photographs of your work. Make two copies and send one to us so we can generate an official letter acknowledging your contribution.
Besides having an incredible feeling of accomplishment at the end of your week you'll also have a tax-deduction for all your out of pocket expenses for travel, meals, and the Keeper fee you pay to RILF. (See your tax advisor and IRS Publication 526 Charitable Contributions, pages 4-6 to evaluate your deductible expenses.)

3. Relief (Nightly) Keepers - Stay in the Keepers quarters for a night, or two, or three..
You help out and do a few lighthouse keeping chores and responsiblities from raising the flag in the morning to turning the generator on. The balance of the day is yours to hang out in paradise. You can read, swim, comb the beach for seaglass, look for harbor seals (late fall thru spring), fish, paddle around the island in one of our kayaks, or settle into one of the adirondack chairs and enjoy what some call the best seat on the island.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS: Your safety is in YOUR OWN hands, since you're on an island reachable only by boat. Therefore, we rely on you to be the best judge of your abilities as well as your limitations and to take necessary precautions, and to bring your medications, etc. So if you have asthma that gets triggered when the grass is mowed, for example, you want to think twice before making your reservation in the summer!

Specifically, it is important for us to know if you or anyone in your party has any restrictions on your activities, or if you have limited mobility due to injuries, joint replacement, morbid obesity or other reason. Getting onto and off of boats is a necessary part of this adventure.

Keeper Family
ALL KEEPERS are advised to have health / accident insurance.

Fee + Work Project
Jan - December $1000-2300 per week + daily chores & projects
Relief (Nightly) Keepers $225-350/ngt dbl occupancy & some lighthouse keeping like raising the flag in the morning, and...
Welcome to Rose IslandPolicies

The Weekly Keeper's apartment fee is based on double occupancy/ two (2) adults and may include up to four (4) children or grandchildren under 18 years of age. Addtional adults pay $25 per night, plus chores. Maximum occupancy for the 2nd floor quarters is six (6) people (4 adults and 2 children). The bunk room is reserved only for children. If you plan on having a family reunion or having friends visit overnight, consider reserving the first floor museum bedrooms. We offer discounts to keepers from January to March when museum tours are rarely scheduled.

Relief (Nightly) Keepers  - rates based on double occupancy. Children (ages 5 - 18) charged additional fee of $15/child if they bring a sleeping bag ( $30/child without one) Children sleep in the bunk room when available or on the futon/ sofa bed in the apartment living room. Cancellation - 2 weeks or more prior to reservation date $25 plus tax, less than 2 weeks notice means if we can't rerent it to someone else then the apartment rate plus tax is forfeited.

If you have a car, our staff will arrange for secured parking for the week for a reasonable fee, and will arrange for your boat ride to Rose Island.

DEPOSITS - Relief (Nightly) Keepers - 100% deposit to confirm reservation. Weekly Keepers are required as follows to guarantee your reservation:
  • More than 6 months in advance - $500 (Non-refundable)
  • 6 months in advance - 50% of the fee is due (Non-refundable).
  • 60 days in advance - Balance of all fees due (including apartment fee, 7% R.I. sales tax, boat transportation and parking fees).

CANCELLATION POLICY – If you cancel for any reason, we reserve the right to retain all monies paid up to that point. We highly recommend protecting your vacation investment by purchasing travel insurance in case of last-minute sickness or accident, etc. If the weather prevents us from getting you to the lighthouse safely on your check in day, we will put you up for the night in town and take you out to the lighthouse as soon as it is safe.

PAYMENT - We will keep your valid credit card on file and prefer this form of payment, but we also accept cash, personal checks and travelers checks. It is your responsibility to inform us of your change of address, name, telephone number, email address, etc., to prevent us from having to cancel your reservation if we can't get in touch with you.

PRIVACY POLICY - We at The Rose Island Lighthouse foundation are committed to protecting your privacy. We use the information we collect on the site to optimize your Rose Island Lighthouse experience and deliver the service you want in the most convenient manner possible.

Tracking technologies may record information such as Internet domain and host names; Internet protocol (IP) addresses; browser software and operating system types; clickstream patterns; and dates and times that our site is accessed. Our use of cookies and other tracking technologies allows us to improve our web site and your web experience. We may also analyze information that does not contain personal information for trends and statistics.

We will never sell, trade, or rent your personal information to others. If you have any questions or concerns about the use of your personal information by the rose Island Lighthouse Foundation please call us at 401-847-4242 or send a request for information to

BASIC LIGHTHOUSE-KEEPING RULES - Join us in taking care of our environment!
  1. Pack it in, pack it out. There are no trash pick ups on Rose Island except for the ones you do yourself.
  2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. (Don't buy it in the first place if you can't reuse it or recycle it.) No Styrofoam please!
  3. Smoking is not allowed in the Lighthouse at any time and only on the beach if you leave no trace.
  4. No candles or oil lamps allowed - There's no fire station nearby! (Birthday candles excepted.)
  5. Lighthouse keeping is generally suitable for children ages 5 and up.
  6. No pets are allowed from April 1-August 14 while birds are nesting - no exceptions. At other times Keepers may bring their dogs under special circumstances. No dogs are allowed in the first floor museum - not even OUR dog Wiggins (rest his soul) was allowed in the museum!
  7. Please take the time before your trip to review the information and directions that we send you and remember to bring them with you.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page
or for more information call: 401-847-4242 between the hours of 9 AM - 1 PM

RILF  |  P.O. Box 1419, Newport, RI 02840 |  401-847-4242  |  contact us  |  site map
Keepers' Quarters - 2nd Floor
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