ISLAMORADA, Fla. -

A Florida Keys artist has completed an eight-mile Atlantic Ocean swim to raise awareness for preserving six aging lighthouses off the island chain.

Larry Herlth's roundtrip swim to Alligator Reef Lighthouse Saturday took the 52-year-old five hours and 11 minutes.

He was escorted by several boats and paddle boarders.

Known locally as "Lighthouse Larry" for his detailed, scale metal reproductions of Keys lighthouses, Herlth is passionate about the need to preserve the large beacons originally fabricated 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 intensively maintained.

Herlth says the rusted iron structures are in dire need of restoration so the historical icons will remain for future generations.