You are watching live footage from beneath Frying Pan Tower, 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, led the area 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 protected for its important habitat for fish, sharks, and other marine wildlife that frequent the region. The deep water camera features many of the same species of fish, sharks, and rays, but provides a glimpse into a different habitat. With less light and more substrate to provide living spaces, prey species can hide from their predators down here. This is not always an option for open water dwellers, so fish take advantage of these features when passing through the shoals.