Lighthouses of Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is an independent nation in the Leeward Islands, located near the northeastern corner of the Caribbean Sea. Discovered by Columbus in 1493, Antigua was originally settled by the Spanish but became a British colony in 1632. The country has been independent since 1981. The population is roughly 95,000, and in recent years the islands have become a very popular tourist destination. The two lighthouses, however, seem almost unknown to tourists.

Aids to navigation in Antigua and Barbuda are maintained by the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority, an agency of the Ministry of Transportation and the Environment.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Our World Lighthouses
Photos and information posted by Douglas Cameron.
Collector Forums - Antigua
Photos from a 2010 visit posted by Rosalie Beasley.
Online List of Lights - Antigua and Barbuda
Photos by Arno Siering and Rainer Arndt posted by Alexander Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - Antigua and Barbuda
Photos by various photographers available from
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas und der Karibik auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Navigational chart for Antigua.

Sandy Island Light
Sandy Island Light, February 2010
photo copyright Rosalie Beasley; used by permission

Sandy Island Lighthouse
Sandy Island (4?)
2007 (station established 1875). Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); one long (1.5 s) white flash every 15 s. 16 m (52 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, upper half painted white and lower half red. This light replaced an interesting hexagonal skeletal tower with lantern and gallery built in 1939. The lighthouse was replaced sometime after Ted Smith's 2006 photo and before Cameron's December 2007 photo. Beasley's view of the light is above, Trabas has Arndt's view from the sea, Huelse has a historic postcard view of the 1939 lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was a 16 m (52 ft) triangular wood skeletal tower. After suffering damage from several hurricanes, it was replaced by a more substantial 17 m (56 ft) wood skeletal tower in 1882. Located on a low island about 8 km (5 mi) west of the harbor of St. John's, Antigua. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ANT-001; Admiralty J5690; NGA 14768.

Antigua Lighthouses
Pillar Rock
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); green flash every 4 s. Light mounted on a 1-story round brick tower. The tower was probably painted white originally, but very little paint remains. Trabas has Arndt's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory on the south side of the entrance to St. John's, about 4 km (2.5 mi) west of the St. John's waterfront. Site status unknown. ARLHS ANT-002; Admiralty J5694; NGA 14772.
* Danish Motorfyrskib IV Black Swan (?)
1920. Decommissioned around 1970. 20.4 m (67 ft) wood lightship, now rigged as a 2-masted ship. Vessel painted black with white trim. A photo is available. This ship started life as the lightship Halskov Rev. After deactivation, she was sold and converted to a tall ship named Rana and berthed at Hadsund, Denmark. (The light tower and lantern were removed and are displayed at the Motorbadsklub in Copenhagen.) In 2005 the ship was sold again and sailed to Antigua, where it appeared as a tourist attraction, a faux pirate ship named the Black Swan. However, there are no recent Internet sites for the ship, and we have no information on its current status. Owner/site manager: Pirates of Antigua, Ltd. (?)
* St. John's
Around 1905 (?). Intended as a lighthouse but never activated. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Douglas Cameron's photo is at right, has a closeup, a 2008 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Endangered. Ad. Hovestadt visited the light in November 2004 and found it "in a very sorry state" with the "iron steps ... on the verge of collapse." The situation may not be much better today but it does appear that the lighthouse was repainted. This lighthouse was apparently built as part of a project to develop a large sugar refinery near St. John's. It was intended as the rear light of a range but because it proved to be in the wrong position for that purpose it was never commissioned. Located on a hill several blocks from the waterfront of St. John's; the lighthouse is behind Island Motors, an auto dealership on Independence Street just south of the Queen Elizabeth Highway. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: unknown.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

St. John's Light
St. John's Light, December 2007
photo copyright Douglas Cameron; used by permission

Notable faux lighthouses:

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Posted December 8, 2005. Checked and revised January 15, 2019. Lighthouses: 3; lightships: 1. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.