RICHMOND -- One of the quirkiest and most unusual jobs in the Bay Area is available, but it's only open to couples.

East Brother Light Station, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, is taking applications for a couple who can serve as keepers of an island north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge that is home to an intact 1874 lighthouse and fog signal and an elegant five-room inn.

The lighthouse is owned by the U.S. Coast Guard but maintained for public use by the corporation. Since 1979, when volunteers restored it after it had been abandoned as a Coast Guard site, it has been operated as an offbeat bed-and-breakfast getaway.

The current keepers, Richard Foregger and Jude Haukom, will be leaving in September after more than two years of work.

The exterior of the East Brother Light Station bed and breakfast inn in Richmond, Calif., photographed Dec. 2, 2008.
The exterior of the East Brother Light Station bed and breakfast inn in Richmond, Calif., photographed Dec. 2, 2008. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

"Keepers say they wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but it is intense, and people eventually need a break," Richmond Councilman Tom Butt, who is also a member of the nonprofit's board of directors, wrote in an email.

The nonprofit converted East Brother into a luxury B&B, charging guests between $315 and $425 a night, a cost that includes hors d'oeuvres and champagne upon arrival, a four-course dinner and gourmet breakfast.

The income from operations is used by a group of volunteers to maintain the buildings, which are both California State Historical Landmarks and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Customers must make reservations in advance and are picked up by boat from Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor. From the harbor, it takes about 10 minutes to get to the light station, and passengers enjoy sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline, Mount Tamalpais and the Marin County coastline.

The keepers prior to Foregger and Haukom were Peter Berkhout and Dina Kashou, Butt said. Both couples got married while working at the island, and Berkhout and Kashou got pregnant, Butt said.

"It proved that lighthouse keeping is romantic," Butt joked.

The only water at the island is rainwater collected on a cistern, and the island has its own sewer treatment plant.

Butt said at least one person in the applying couple must hold a Coast Guard commercial boat operator's license so they can provide ferry service for guests and perform cooking, cleaning and maintenance tasks.

Pay ranges from $80,000 to $100,000 for the couple and includes a health plan and living quarters on the island.

Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726. Follow him at Twitter.com/sfbaynewsrogers.

To learn more
For more information about East Brother Light Station, Inc., go to www.ebls.org