The Lighthouse Directory

Welcome to the Lighthouse Directory, providing information and links for more than 21,000 of the world's lighthouses. Follow the Directory's Twitter feed for the latest in lighthouse news and Directory updates. Latest update April 20, 2019.

This week the pages for Northern Massachusetts in the U.S.A., Sunnmøre in Norway, Southern Mie Prefecture in Japan, Western Turkey, Northern Java in Indonesia, Eastern Latvia, Southern Finistère in France, Mediterranean Morocco, Spanish Morocco, West Bengal and Odisha in India, and Northeast Brazil and the Atlantic Islands of Brazil have been checked and revised with improved information and several new photos.

Special thanks this week to Piergiuliano Chesi for news of the new Italian Navy lighthouse web site, to Heather Craven for comments on several Danish lighthouses, to Robert Pedemonte for comments on the lighthouses of Liguria, to André Winter for comments on the Cordouan Lighthouse in France and other lighthouses as well, to Manfred Schmidt for important news concerning the Weser Lightship in Germany, and to James Smith for his comments and corrections to last week's revisions.

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Thacher Island Twin Lights
Thacher Island South (left) and North Lights, Rockport, Massachusetts, U.S.A., August 2013
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.M. Hanchey

A Month of Lighthouse News:

Newer Aracaju Light
Sergipe Light, Sergipe, Brazil, October 2006
Flickr public domain photo by Henrique Pinto

About this site
Founded in 1999 (during the relocation of North Carolina's Cape Hatteras lighthouse), the Lighthouse Directory is a tool for research and study concerning lighthouses and efforts to preserve those lighthouses. The Directory provides a brief compilation of basic data for each lighthouse with links to other reliable information available on the Internet. Since the addition of the Hainan page in February 2009 listings cover the entire world. However, this doesn't mean the Directory is complete, because new information continues to come to light.

I'm glad to hear from site visitors, especially if you have lighthouse news or photos of rarely-visited lighthouses.

The Directory has over 30,000 links, and all of them were appropriate and legitimate when they were added. Occasionally, because a web site is hacked or a URL is captured, a link leads not to legitimate information but to an inappropriate site, such as a source of pornography or malicious software. Please let me know if this happens, and I will remove the offending link immediately.

This site is hosted by ibiblio.org, one of the largest free information databases online, maintained as a public service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Chandrabhaga Light, Puri District, Odisha, India, December 2011
Google Maps photo by Sangeeta Kumari

What is a lighthouse?
It is not so easy to define exactly what we mean by a lighthouse, and various organizations and individuals have used very different definitions when describing or classifying lighthouses. Clearly, all lighthouses are lighted aids to navigation, but not all lighted aids are considered to be lighthouses.

Some definitions are not controversial. An aid to navigation is a structure placed on or near navigable water to provide visual guidance to mariners. A beacon is an aid to navigation that is fixed in place (that is, not floating). A lighted beacon or lightbeacon is a beacon displaying a light, while an unlit beacon is called a daybeacon. Often, a lighted beacon is simply called a light.

Everyone agrees that a lighthouse is a lightbeacon that is, in some sense, a substantial building. Small lightbeacons such as masts, solid pillars, or small cabinets are usually not considered to be lighthouses. In this Directory, the guideline is that a lighthouse should have a height of at least 4 meters (13 ft) and a cross-section, at the base, of at least 4 square meters (43 sq ft). This simple guideline does not require that a lighthouse have any particular form or appearance. The structure of a lighthouse may be enclosed, partially enclosed, or completely open.

The Directory includes listings of certain lights and other sites of interest to lighthouse fans that aren't lighthouses by this definition. The titles of those listings are enclosed in square brackets [...]. In addition, lighthouses destroyed or demolished since 2000 continue to be listed; their names are preceded by the hash sign #.

A light station is a collection of buildings including a lighthouse, staff quarters, and supporting structures such as a fog signal building housing a foghorn or fogbell, a boathouse, an oil house to store fuel for the light, and so on. A century ago all lighthouses required lightkeepers to maintain and operate the light, fog signal, and other equipment. Today practically all aids to navigation operate automatically, but some light stations have resident caretakers, still called keepers, to maintain the property and guard against vandalism.

Phare du Cap des Trois Fourches
Cap des Trois Fourches Light, Morocco, July 2007
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Playar

The lighthouse listings
Dates shown for lighthouses are the dates when the light was first displayed; this may be later than the construction date in some cases. A station establishment date, when listed, is the date when a light was first displayed at or near the same location. Data concerning the characteristics of lights comes mostly from the U.S. Coast Guard Light List for U.S. lighthouses and from the NGA List of Lights for lighthouses in other countries.

The focal plane height of a light is the height above the surface of the water at which the light is displayed. (The level of the water surface is usually "mean high water," the level at an average high tide.) In the listings, "focal plane" refers to the focal plane height. A lantern of a lighthouse is a room or structure that actually encloses the light.

The heights of the lighthouse towers themselves should be considered approximate. Different sources use different methods for measuring tower heights, and those heights may actually change due to changes in ground level at the base of the tower.

I have attempted to determine whether lighthouse sites and towers are open to the public. This information is inferred from whatever sources may be available; it is certainly not guaranteed. Please let me know if this information, or any information in the Directory, is incorrect.

Lighthouse listings are marked with ratings of zero to four stars based on the extent to which the light station is open to visitors. Check the ratings key to interpret these ratings.

Grand Phare d'Eckmühl
Grand Phare d'Eckmühl, Penmarc'h, Finistère, France, May 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Henri Camus


Ainaži Light, Salacgrīva, Latvia, August 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Laima Gūtmane

Articles about lighthouses:


Jaga Utara Light, Java Sea, Indonesia, October 2017
Google Maps photo by Wawan Wan

Special Resources


Sivrice Light, Ayvacık, Çanakkale, Turkey, September 2009
ex-Panoramio photo copyright Gokcen Erduran; permission requested

Daio Saki Light
Daio Saki (Daiozaki) Light, Shima, Mie, Japan, February 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Tamago Moffle

Ulla Fyr
Ulla Light, Haram, Sunnmøre, Norway, May 2011
Flickr photo copyright Kenneth Enstad; used by permission

Fernando de Noronha Light
Fernando de Noronha Light, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil, October 2012
Panoramio photo copyright Thiago Haussig; used by permission


Northeast Breakwater Light, Melilla, Spain, August 2013
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Miguel

Regional, state, and local lighthouse preservation organizations are recognized on each U.S. state page. U.S. organizations interested in lighthouse preservation nationally are:

  • The American Lighthouse Foundation, based in Rockland, Maine. ALF encourages preservation efforts throughout the country and holds preservation leases on more than a dozen New England lighthouses.
  • The United States Lighthouse Society, formerly based in San Francisco, has moved to the Point No Point Lighthouse in Hansville, Washington. USLHS has chapters active in the Chesapeake area, Long Island, Oregon, and Washington, and has been active in supporting preservation in other areas as well. The Society also publishes a respected journal, The Keeper's Log, and has a large archive of historic photos of U.S. lighthouses.

Lighthouses on the Internet: A Researcher's Guide has replaced the list of links formerly on this page.


Bakers Island Light, Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.A., August 2014
U.S.C.G./Flickr Creative Commons photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson

Miki Saki Light
Miki Saki Light, Owase, Mie, Japan
Japanese Coast Guard Owase Office photo (no longer online)

Lighthouses of the Americas

Northeastern United States

Southeastern United States and U.S. Caribbean

Midwestern United States

Western United States and U.S. Pacific Territories

Atlantic Canada and St. Pierre

Interior and Western Canada

Bermuda and the West Indies

Mexico and Central America

South America, Antarctica, South Atlantic Ocean

Lighthouses of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Australia, and Africa

New Zealand and Pacific Islands

Australia

Indian Ocean

Africa

Lighthouses of Europe

Britain and Ireland

France, Monaco and Switzerland

Spain and Portugal

Italy and Malta

Greece and the Balkans

Southwestern Russia and Ukraine

Belgium and Netherlands

Germany and Austria

Denmark, Faroes, Iceland, and Greenland

Norway (listed south to north)

Sweden (listed south to north)

Poland, Baltic States, and Finland

Northwestern Russia (southwest to northeast)

Lighthouses of Asia

Mediterranean and Caspian Asia

Arabia, Iran and Pakistan

India

South and Southeast Asia (except India)

Philippines

Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor Leste

China and Taiwan

Asiatic Russia

Korea (listed clockwise around the peninsula)

Japan (listed clockwise around the main islands)


Grand Phare de l'Île de Sein, Pointe du Raz, Finistère, France, September 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by bididule

Thanks to:

Hundreds of lighthouse fans around the world have enriched this site with their assistance, information, suggestions, and corrections. For a long time I tried to maintain a list of these many friends and contacts, but it has grown too long (and too out of date) to display here. However, I must recognize the late Michel Forand for his suggestions and corrections touching essentially every page of this work, and extend thanks to Jeremy D'Entremont, Ted Sarah, and Klaus Huelse, who have followed the development of the Directory for years. Each of them has contributed information and support in vital ways, and the Directory would be much less useful without their participation.

Formalities

Written by:

Russ Rowlett, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

You are welcome to email the author (rowlett@email.unc.edu) with comments and suggestions.

All material in The Lighthouse Directory is copyright 2018 by Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Many images are presented by permission of their copyright holders, as noted under the image.

Permission is granted to copy portions of the Directory for personal use and study, but all other rights are reserved. You are welcome to make links to this page or to any page of the Directory, provided you credit the source and do not present the work as your own.

Please do not copy the contents of any page of the Directory to another site. This is an infringement of copyright, and it also deprives your users of the benefit of improvements and corrections made to the page. Everyone has permission to link to this page or to any page of the Directory.

The information contained in the directory is as accurate as I can make it; please notify me if you find any errors. Neither the author nor the University of North Carolina assumes any liability for uses made of the information presented by this web site.