Lighthouses of Jamaica
The largest island of the former British West Indies,
Jamaica is 234 km (145 mi) long and 80 km (50 mi) wide. After being a British colony since 1655, the island has been an independent nation since 1962. Kingston, on the south coast, is the capital, largest city, and most important port of the country.
seven historic lighthouses, no one of them like any of the others and all of
them interesting in their design. The lighthouses are maintained by
the Port Authority of Jamaica,
an agency of the Ministry of Transport and Works.
All seven lighthouses are accessible, but several of them are rather
poorly known. Additional information and photos are welcome.
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
Heritage Trust - Lighthouses
- Historical descriptions and small photos posted by the Jamaica National
- Online List of Lights - Jamaica
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas; most of the Jamaican photos are by Capts. Peter Mosselberger or Theo Hinrichs.
- Lighthouses in Jamaica
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
- World of Lighthouses - Jamaica
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
- Lighthouses of Jamaica
- Posted by a Dutch visitor, Frans Eijgenraam, this site has photos
and reports from his visits in early 2000.
in the Caribbean
- Excellent aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Mittelamerikas und der Karabik auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
- Navigation chart information for Jamaica.
Lovers Leap Light, Southfield, February 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by
- Surrey (Eastern Jamaica) Lighthouses
- Port Antonio West Harbor Range Front (1 and 2)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); continuous red light. 8 m (26 ft) post standing in front of an 8 m (26 ft) pyramidal skeletal tower that formerly carried the light. The post carries a rectangular white daymark panel. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Port Antonio, on the northeast coast of Jamaica, has two harbors separated by a narrow peninsula. Located on a platform just offshore on the west side of the West Harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty
J5275; NGA 13844.
- Port Antonio West Harbor Range Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 84 m (276 ft); continuous red light. 6 m (20 ft) square pyramidal stone tower painted white. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of Springbank Road on the mountainside behind the port. Site status unknown. Admiralty
J5275.1; NGA 13848.
- * Folly
Point (Port Antonio)
- 1888. Active; focal plane 16 m (53 ft); white light, 2 s on, 8
s off. 15 m (49 ft) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, painted
with orange-red and white bands; solar-powered lens. Frans Eijgenraam
found a beautiful garden surrounding the lighthouse. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, Stéphane Damour has a 2015 photo, Charlene Collins
has a 2009 photo, a 2012 photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, Tony Kenny has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is close to the Folly Ruins, a collapsing mansion built by American millionaires in 1905. Located at the end of the Folly Peninsula on the east
side of the East Harbor of Port Antonio. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JAM-001; Admiralty
J5272; NGA 13832.
- ** Morant
- 1841 (Alexander Gordon, designer; George Grove, contractor). Active;
focal plane 35 m (115 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 29 m (95
ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red
and white horizontal bands. To protect against surf during hurricanes,
a semicircular masonry wall has been built around the seaward side
of the base of the lighthouse. Trabas has a 2016 photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs (also seen at right), Michael Dorn has a 2006 photo and a view of
the light station, the Port Antonio Guesthouse Association also has
a page for the lighthouse,
Wikimedia has Dorn's closeup, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, and Google has a satellite
view. This historic tower is the oldest lighthouse on the island
and the first cast iron lighthouse built in the Western Hemisphere.
A historical exhibit was planned for installation at the keeper's house.
A 2011 photo showed the lighthouse in serious need of repainting and restoration; the photo at right shows that the lighthouse was painted around the end of 2015. Located at Morant Point, the easternmost point of Jamaica. Accessible
in dry weather by an unpaved road to the point (a "temporary" detour has been used since the main road was washed out by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988). Site open;
the tower is open by arrangement with the keeper. ARLHS JAM-004; Admiralty
J5282; NGA 13860.
Morant Point Light, St. Thomas Parish, February 2016
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission
- * Plumb
- 1853. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); flash every 9 s, alternating
red and white. 21 m (69 ft) two-stage round tower, lower half stone
and upper half cast iron, with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse
painted white. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo (also seen at right), a closeup photo and
a 2008 photo are
available, Auria Abraham has a 2006 photo, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a good satellite
view. A 2017 street view shows the lighthouse surrounded by scaffolding for repainting. This lighthouse is in the Port Royal Historic District,
which the government hopes to develop as a tourist attraction. Famous as a hangout for pirates, Port Royal was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692. Located
at Great Plumb Point on the Palisadoes Peninsula, near the Palisadoes
Airport, about 8 km (5 mi) east of Port Royal and the entrance to Kingston
Harbour. Accessible by paved road. Site open, tower closed but it appears that vistors can climb halfway up the tower on the external stairway. ARLHS JAM-005;
Admiralty J5294; NGA 13908.
Southern Middlesex Lighthouses
- Rackhams Cay Range Front
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 3 s, synchronized with the rear light. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square concrete platform supported by piles. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo and Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels westward on their approach to Kingston
Harbour. Located about 1.2 km (3/4 mi) west southwest of the point of Port Royal. Accessible only boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J5295.95; NGA 13928.
- Lazaretto Cairn
(Rackhams Cay Range Rear)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every
3 s, synchronized with the front light. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) solid triangular pyramidal tower, painted
white. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo and Google has a satellite
view. This appears to be a historic daybeacon converted to a lighted
aid. Located on a bluff on the west side of the harbor entrance, opposite
Port Royal. Site probably open, but local knowledge and 4WD is probably
required; tower closed. Admiralty J5296; NGA 13932.
- Pigeon Island Range Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white light, 2 s
on , 4 s off, visible only on or near the range line. 23 m (75 ft)
square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. The tower also carries
a white triangular daymark, point down. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo
and Google has a satellite
light is on a post. Located on a reef in the entrance
to Portland Bight. Accessible only boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty
J5327.9; NGA 14080.
Plumb Point Light, Kingston, 2018
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger
used by permission
- Portland Ridge (Portland
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 198 m (650 ft); two white flashes every
15 s. 35 m (115 ft) square pyramidal cast iron or steel skeletal tower with
lantern and gallery. Tower sections painted alternately red and white, lantern
and gallery red. Ronali Allen has a closeup photo, Trabas has Capt. Peter's distant view from
the sea, and Google has a satellite
view. This is Jamaica's tallest light tower. Located on the Portland
Ridge near the southernmost point of the island. Accessible by a hike
of about 8 km (5 mi) (access road gated for cars). Site open, tower closed.
ARLHS JAM-006; Admiralty J5327; NGA 14112.
Cornwall (Western Jamaica) Lighthouses
- *** Lover's
- Date unknown (1960s?). Active; focal plane 530 m (1739 ft); white flash every 10
s. 30.5 m (100 ft) round cylindrical steel (?) tower with lantern and octagonal
gallery. Tower painted with red and white horizontal bands; lantern white,
gallery red. Paul Jonusaitis's photo is at the top of this page, Charles Bash has a
good closeup, Lightphotos.net has a good photo, Trabas has Capt. Hinrichs's closeup photo, Ricardo Henry has a 2018 photo, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, and Google has a good satellite
view. This is the highest lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere; in good weather its light can be seen for 40 nautical miles (74 km or 46 mi). JNHT
says this is also the newest Jamaican lighthouse, evidently built after
Jamaica became independent (1962). The area has been developed as a tourist
attraction, with a restaurant and observation deck near the lighthouse. Located
in Southfield, 32 km (20 mi) south of Mandeville at the top of a spectacular cliff.
Site open; tower open daily except Sundays year-round. ARLHS JAM-003; Admiralty
J5341; NGA 14124.
- *** South
- 1894. Active; focal plane 31 m (101 ft;) flash every 2 s, alternating
red and white. 27 m (89 ft) round reinforced concrete tower with lantern
and gallery; solar-powered lens. Tower and gallery painted white;
lantern unpainted gray metal. Several 1-story frame keeper's houses
are staffed. Charles Bash's photo is at right, Larry Moe has a closeup
Donald Allen has a 2018 photo, Nicodemus Jordan has a nice photo of the station, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, and Google has a good satellite
view. Built by a French company, this is one of the earliest concrete
lighthouses. A well-known attraction of the Negril area. Located at
South Negril Point, near the westernmost point of the island. Parking
provided. Site open, tower open by appointment. ARLHS JAM-007; Admiralty
J5244; NGA 14144.
- * Rose Hall (Cinnamon Hill)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); five white flashes
every 30 s. Approx. 27 m (92 ft) square steel skeletal tower with gallery, painted
white. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, a closeup photo and a more distant view are available, and Bing has a satellite view. This light marks the northernmost bend of Jamaica's coastline.
Located on the Cinnamon Hill golf course at Rose Hall, about 25 km
(15 mi) east of Montego Bay. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Hilton Rose Hall Resort. Admiralty
J5253; NGA 13776.
Negril Point Light, Negril, March 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Charles Bash
Northern Middlesex Lighthouse
- * Galina
- Date unknown (station established 1912). Active; focal plane 19
m (62 ft); white flash every 12 s. 13 m (42 ft) strongly-tapered
triangular white concrete tower, with no lantern; a solar-powered
lens is mounted on a small platform at the top. A 2012 photo and another photo are
available, Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located at Galina, off highway A3 about 7 km (4.5 mi)
north of Port Maria and a similar distance east of Oracabessa on
the northern coast of Jamaica. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JAM-002;
Admiralty J5266; NGA 13828.
Morant Cays Lighthouse
- Note: The Morant Cays
are a group of small islands on a coral reef 51 km (32 mi) south southeast
of Morant Point. The islands were claimed by Great Britain in 1862 and annexed
to Jamaica in 1882. There is no permanent population, but a fishing camp is
Morant Cays (2?)
- Date unknown (1960s?). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white light, 4
s on, 6 s off. 21 m (69 ft) round metal (?) tower, painted with black and
white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. The light
lists describe this light as a framework tower, so the present tower might
not be the original lighthouse. Located on Northeast Cay, at the easternmost
point of the islands. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty
J5356; NGA 13864.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: North: Eastern Cuba | East: Navassa
Island | West: Cayman Islands
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Posted 2001. Checked and revised December 10, 2018. Lighthouses:
14. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill.