After nearly two centuries of government management, the U.S. Coast Guard announced last week that it will be letting go of the Nobska Lighthouse in Woods Hole.

With the passage of time came navigational advances that have rendered its use mostly obsolete, save for minimal maintenance to the light itself. The Coast Guard plans to transfer the building, free of charge, to an eligible nonprofit or governmental agency.

The property transfer, planned according to the requirements of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, follows many years of active stewardship from the Friends of the Nobska Light, a nonprofit entity now managing lighthouse preservation in conjunction with the town of Falmouth.

Now that the lighthouse is due to be transferred, said Friends president Kathleen Walrath, they are making a pitch to take over the property.

“We’re excited about this,” said Ms. Walrath. “A lighthouse like Nobska needs to stay open to the public. It needs to be owned by the people, for the people.”

The group has been involved in maintenance duties for the last decade, working with the town of Falmouth to manage lighthouse preservation since 2013.

“We were pleased when...the Coast Guard listed all the property as being in excess, which means they no longer needed it, other than for the light,” she said.

The Nobska Lighthouse has long been a friendly icon for travelers departing Martha’s Vineyard, its shining Fresnel lens often the first glimpse of the mainland at Woods Hole, guiding mariners through treacherous currents. The lighthouse was constructed in 1829 but began to crumbled under the weight of its own light after a few decades. In 1876, four iron pieces were cast and assembled into the same 40-foot structure that still stands today.

A keeper lived on-site until 1985, when lighthouse operations were automated. It was then used to house the Woods Hole Coast Guard base commander. In 2012, it was determined that the house was no longer in shape for active condition as a residence and the Coast Guard began the process of transferring preservation duties.

Since the Friends of the Nobska Light took over those duties, Ms. Walrath said, they have completed a full repainting of the lighthouse along with considerable renovations to the keeper’s house. If the group is awarded the property, she said, they plan to create a new maritime and navigation museum in the keeper’s house. In addition, they hope to make the site more accessible to people with disabilities.

“This whole process can take a few years,” she said of the government transfer, noting that the town of Falmouth had also submitted a letter of interest in hopes of collaborating with the Friends.

“We’ll work with the town to develop the best application...and during that process, we will continue to be stewards. And we’ll continue to need the support of the community in order to do that.”