The Lighthouse Directory

Welcome to the Lighthouse Directory, providing information and links for more than 18,900 of the world's lighthouses. Follow the Directory's Twitter feed for the latest in lighthouse news and Directory updates. Latest update December 3, 2016.

This week the pages for Eastern Lower Michigan in the U.S.A., the South Ongjin Islands in Korea, Northern Vietnam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, Chiba in Japan, Argyll and Bute in Scotland, The Gambia, Senegal, Southwestern Sumatra in Indonesia, and Borkum to Wilhelmshaven in Germany have been checked and revised with improved information and several new photos.

Special thanks this week to Andreas Köhler for comments on the lights of Soao in Taiwan, to Fred Fox for news concerning the Maughold Head Light on the Isle of Man, and to John Mobbs for comments on the Cap Camarat Light on the French Riviera.



Long Chau Light
Long Châu Light, Hải Phòng, Northern Vietnam
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo

A Month of Lighthouse News:

Inubō Saki Light, Chōshi, Chiba, Japan, September 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by t-mizo

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 my employer, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Borkum Großer Light, Borkum to Wilhelmshaven, Germany, June 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Klaus Friese

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 #.

Fort Gratiot Light
Fort Gratiot Light, Port Huron, Eastern Lower Michigan, U.S.A., June 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Gary Dicer

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.

Lismore Light
Lismore Light, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, August 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Mike McBride

Budo Light
Budo Light, Yeongheung, South Ongjin Islands, Korea, June 2013 Creative Commons photo by Sanyu Hwa

Articles about lighthouses:

Ujung Batumandi Light
Ujung Batumandi Light, Padang, Southwestern Sumatra, Indonesia, October 2008
photo copyright vault350; permission requested

Special Resources

Phare des Mamelles
Les Mamelles Light, Dakar, Senegal, January 2008
Wikimedia public domain photo by Ji-Elle

Buck Island Light, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, August 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by pirata_cofresi

Cape St. Mary Light
Cape St. Mary Light, Fajara, The Gambia, February 2013
contributed photo copyright Reto Müller; used by permission

New Presque Isle Light
New Presque Isle Light, Presque Isle, Eastern Lower Michigan, U.S.A., October 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre

Campen Light, Campen, Borkum to Wilhelmshaven, Germany, March 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Gerriet

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.

Rubh an Duin Light
Rubh an Duin Light, Port Charlotte, Islay, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, July 2004
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Dorcas Sinclair

Son Cha Light
Sơn Chà Light, Đà Nẵng, Northern Vietnam
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo

Lighthouses of the Americas

Northeastern United States

Southeastern United States

Midwestern United States

Western United States and U.S. Pacific Territories

U.S. Caribbean

Atlantic Canada, Greenland, 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


South Indian Ocean


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, and Iceland

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

Southwest Asia (Arabia and Iran)


South and Southeast Asia (except India)


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)

Pulau Bojo Light
Pulau Bojo Light, Batu Islands, Southwestern Sumatra, Indonesia, October 2008
photo copyright Dietrich Lange; used by permission

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.


Written by:

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

You are welcome to email the author ( with comments and suggestions.

All material in The Lighthouse Directory is copyright 2016 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.