Lighthouses of Kuwait

Kuwait is an Arab emirate at the northwestern end of the Persian Gulf. Formerly an autonomous district of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire, Kuwait became a British protectorate after World War I. The protectorate was terminated in 1961 and the country has been independent since except for an occupation by Iraq in 1990-91. (Iraqi forces were ejected by Coalition forces in the First Gulf War.) Kuwait is densely populated; its population in 2022 was counted as 4.67 million.

A note on nomenclature: the Persian Gulf (as it is usually known in the West) is called the Arabian Gulf in Arabia and the Gulf of Fars in Iran. The International Hydrographic Organization calls it the Gulf of Iran and many commentators avoid all nomenclatural problems by calling it simply "The Gulf".

By whatever name the Gulf is a major center of shipping today, but that was not true until well into the 20th century. As a result only a few traditional lighthouses were built in the area.

The Arabic word for a lighthouse is mnarh or manara (منارة). Ra's is the word for a cape or headland, jazīrat is an island, and minā is a harbor.

Aids to navigation in Kuwaiti harbors are regulated by the Transportation Services division of the Ministry of Communications, but most likely they are maintained by the Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA). Many of the offshore navigational aids in the Gulf are maintained by the Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS), based in Bahrain.

Special thanks to Ian Atkinson for information on the history of Arabian Gulf lights.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume D of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Persian Gulf
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Middle East Navigation Aids Service -ATON's
Go to Tools/AtoNsMap/ViewAtoNs for a map locating and identifying the MENAS beacons.
World of Lighthouses - Kuwait
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in Kuwait
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Physical Map of Kuwait
This map is useful for understanding the locations of many of the lighthouses.
GPSNauticalCharts
Navigational chart for Kuwait.
Navionics Charts
Navigational chart for Kuwait.


Jazirat Al Kubr (Kubbar Island) Light, May 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Kubbar

Upper Kuwait Bay Lighthouses
Jazīrat 'Awhah (Auha, Ahwah, Awha, Ouha)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) slender square skeletal tower. Although it is listed with black and white horizontal bands it is all white in a 2021 drone view. The light is also seen at 1:20 in a YouTube drone video of the island and Bing has a satellite view. Located on an islet in the Gulf off the southeastern end of Failaka Island and about 25 km (15 mi) east of Ra's al Ard. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator: Middle East Navigation Aids Service. Admiralty D7588; NGA 29184.
Az Zawr Boat Harbour South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 8 m (26 ft); flashing green light. Approx. 6 m (20 ft) mast atop a square concrete tower. Harees Salih has a photo and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on the south breakwater of the ferry port on the west end of Failaka Island. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7590; NGA 29185.
Az Zawr Boat Harbour North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 8 m (26 ft); flashing red light. Approx. 6 m (20 ft) mast atop a square concrete tower. No photo available but Google has a distant satellite view. Located on the south br
eakwater of the ferry port on the west end of Failaka Island. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7590.2; NGA 29185.1.
Jazīrat Maskān (Maskan, Mashkan) (1)
1918. Inactive. 1-story station buildings clustered around a courtyard; the light was apparently shown from a mast. The photo at right was taken in 2008 by the Kuwaiti-Slovak Archeological Mission. A Bing satellite view shows the buildings of the station. According to Kuwait's environmental agency (in a posting no longer online), the station was "managed by Ibrahem Bu-Rashid who lived in the island along with his family to guide ships sailing in the Gulf at night." Apparently his descendents still live at the station. Maskān is a small island off the northwestern end of Failaka Island, about 20 km (13 mi) northeast of Ra's al Ard. The historic lighthouse is near the northwestern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
Jazīrat Maskān (Maskan, Mashkan) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1918). Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); four quick white flashes every 30 s. 11 m (36 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower painted red. Another photo is available and Bing has a satellite view. Located about 400 m (1/4 mi) southeast of the historic light station. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Kuwait Ports Authority. Admiralty D7603; NGA 29224.
Miskan Light
Jazīrat Maskān Light Station, Kuwait Bay, 2008
Creative Commons photo copyright Kuwaiti-Slovak Archeological Mission
 

Kuwait City Lighthouses
Minā Ad Dohah (Doha Port)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane at least 23 m (75 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. Light mounted on the port administration building. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Mina ad Dohah is a port at the west end of Kuwait Bay; now commercial, it served the U.S. Army's Camp Doha base during the Iraq War. Located in the midst of the harbor facilities of Mina ad Dawhah. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7602.9; NGA 29211.

Jazīrat Umm an Naml (Umm al Namil)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 10 s. 16 m (52 ft) skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. A distant view is available (a portion is seen at right) and Google has a satellite view. Located at the northeastern tip of an island about 16 km (10 mi) west of Ra's al Ard, marking the approach to the port of Al Jahra at the western end of Kuwait Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Operator: Kuwait Ports Authority. Admiralty D7601.8.
Kuwait Outer Entrance Channel Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); blue flash every 2.5 s. 11 m (36 ft) square skeletal tower painted white and mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Mufaddal Mohammed has a very distant street view from the city's waterfront and Google has a satellite view. Located about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) north northeast of the Ash Shuwaykh Port Control building and 808 m (1/2 mi) southwest of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D7596; NGA 29196.
Kuwait Outer Entrance Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; flash every 2 s, white, red or green depending on direction. Approx. 28 m (95 ft) square skeletal tower painted white and mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Mufaddal Mohammed has a very distant street view from the city's waterfront and Google has a satellite view. Located about 1.6 km (1 mi) north of the Ash Shuwaykh Port Control building and 808 m (1/2 mi) southwest of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D7596.1; NGA 29200.
Ash Shuwaykh Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. Approx.12 m (39 ft) tower. Fawaz Alsaqer has a drone view and Google has a satellite view. Ash Shuwaykh is Kuwait's commercial (non-petroleum) port. Located at the end of the breakwater quay in downtown Kuwait City. Site status unknown. Operator: Kuwait Ports Authority. Admiralty D7599; NGA 29209.

Jazīrat Umm al Namil Light, January 2018
Google Maps photo by Kh Kh
Ash Shuwaykh Port Control
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 45 m (148 ft); red light, pattern unknown. Light atop a 10-story concrete harbor control building. Fahad Aljassar has a photo and Google has a satellite view. Located on the breakwater quay in downtown Kuwait City. Site status unknown. Operator: Kuwait Ports Authority. Admiralty D7599.1.
Ra's al Ard Ferry Harbour East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 10 m (33 ft); flashing red light. Approx. 7.5 m (25 ft) square unpainted stone tower. Bushra Airoud has a photo and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater of the Failka Ferry Service west of R'as al Ard. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7593.4; NGA 29221.
 
* Ra's al Ard (3?)
1959 (station established 1929). Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white flash every 5 s. 22 m (72 ft) square skeletal tower, listed with black and white horizontal bands but now painted with red and white horizontal bands. Naser Al-Eedan has a photo, Jaber Al-Balaq has a distant street view from the ferry terminal, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Ra's al Ard is a promontory projecting into the Gulf at the east end of Kuwait City. Kuwait-History.net has a historic photo of a lighthouse built by the British in 1929 to replace a cairn that had been located on the cape since at least 1915. The light was upgraded in 1953. The present tower was relocated in 1973 and 1976. Located on the tip of the promontory. Site appears to be open, tower closed. Operator: Middle East Navigation Aids Service. ARLHS KUW-002; Admiralty D7592; NGA 29220.

Southern Kuwait Lighthouses
Ash Shu'aybah Port Control
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; three white flashes every 15 s. The light is mounted atop a very tall triangular concrete harbor control tower. A photo is available and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater at Ash Shu'aybah, a major petroleum port at the end of the Eighth Ring Road about 50 km (30 mi) south of downtown Kuwait City. Site status unknown. Operator: Kuwait Ports Authority. Admiralty D7581.9.
Jazīrat Kubbar (Al Kubr, Khubbar)
1953. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower. The tower is painted black, but it is wrapped with two white daymarks so that it shows black and white horizontal bands from a distance. A photo is at the top of this page, a 2009 photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse replaced a cairn built in 1914. A modern communications tower now dwarfs the lighthouse. This light stands on the north side of the ship channel approaching Kuwait. Located on an islet in the Gulf about 45 km (28 mi) southeast of Ra's al Ard. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator: Middle East Navigation Aids Service. ARLHS KUW-001; Admiralty D7573; NGA 29176.
Ra's Az Zawr
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 25 m (82 ft); white or red light depending on direction, occulting once every 5 s. Described by NGA as a 23 m (75 ft) white tower with red stripes. No photo available and the tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view. Located on a point of land southwest of the Al Kubr lighthouse. Site status unknown. Operator: Kuwait Ports Authority. Admiralty D7575; NGA 29312.
Jazīrat Qārūh (Qaru, Garub)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 10 s. A tall skeletal tower painted with horizontal red and white bands. The photo at right and Bing's satellite view show a tower much taller than 14 m. Qārūh is a small island about 25 km (15 mi) east of Mina Saids. During the First Gulf War, this was the first Kuwaiti territory taken by Coalition forces. Accessible only by boat. Operator: unknown. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7569; NGA 29316.
Jazīrat Umm al Marādim (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 23 m (75 ft) square skeletal tower painted with horizontal red and white bands. Bashar AlFailakawi has a photo, Omar Alshaheen has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Umm al Marādim is in the center of the Gulf at the southern limit of Kuwaiti sovereignty, about 80 km (50 mi) east of Mina Saids, Kuwait, and a similar distance west of Bushehr, Iran. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Operator: Middle East Navigation Aids Service. Admiralty D7568; NGA 29324.

Jazīrat Qārūh Light, Persian Gulf, March 2009
photo posted by Biodiversity East

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Iraq | East: Southwestern Iran | South: Eastern Saudi Arabia

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Posted August 6, 2009. Checked and revised September 18, 2022. Lighthouses: 18. Site copyright 2022 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.