Welcome to the Lighthouse Directory, providing information and links for more than 20,000 of the world's lighthouses. Follow the Directory's Twitter feed for the latest in lighthouse news and Directory updates. Latest update February 17, 2018.
This week the number of lighthouse listings in the Directory passed 20,000 for the first time. The pages for Telemark in Norway, Liguria in Italy, Eastern Prince Edward Island in Canada, the Pechenga Area in Russia, the Sjælland Area in Denmark, Southern Thailand East Coast, San Andres and Providencia in Colombia, Gibraltar, The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, and South Kalimantan in Indonesia have been checked and revised with improved information and several new photos.
Bad links to photos on Panoramio and Google Maps: On January 30 Google eliminated its photo site Panoramio.com. Unfortunately the Directory had thousands of links (no kidding) to Panoramio. Replacement links to photos on Google Maps are proving to be unstable. Google Maps is a vital source of satellite views and street views, but it is no longer a reliable source of photos. I am removing all remaining photo links to Panoramio and Google Maps, but some of these bad links remain.
Bad links to USCG: The U.S. Coast Guard has a new web site, and the state lighthouse pages of the Coast Guard Historian's Office have disappeared. As a result, links to those pages are broken. I am gradually replacing these links with links to other sources of historic photos.
Special thanks this week to B.T. Sethman for pointing out the range lighthouses of Freeport in the Bahamas, to Alex Trabas for correcting several errors in the Directory's listings, to Karen Wells for interesting and useful comments on the "Sanibel" class of U.S. skeletal lighthouses, and to James Smith for his comments on last week's revisions.
A Month of Lighthouse News:
About this site
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.
What is a lighthouse?
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.
The lighthouse listings
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.
Gedser Odde Light, Guldborgsund, Sjælland, Denmark, 2010
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Andrey Sulitskiy
Articles about lighthouses:
Regional, state, and local lighthouse preservation organizations are recognized on each U.S. state page. U.S. organizations interested in lighthouse preservation nationally are:
Lighthouses on the Internet: A Researcher's Guide has replaced the list of links formerly on this page.
Northeastern United States
Southeastern United States
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
New Zealand and Pacific Islands
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)
Mediterranean and Caspian Asia
Arabia, Iran and Pakistan
South and Southeast Asia (except India)
Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor Leste
China and Taiwan
Korea (listed clockwise around the peninsula)
Japan (listed clockwise around the main islands)
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.
Russ Rowlett, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
You are welcome to email the author (email@example.com) 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.