Lighthouses of the United Arab Emirates

The term "Gulf States" refers to the Arab states on the south side of "The Gulf" (known in Arabia as the Arabian Gulf, and elsewhere generally as the Persian Gulf or Gulf of Iran.) Northwest to southeast, the Gulf States are Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qater, and the United Arab Emirates. The Lighthouse Directory has pages for the lighthouses of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Eastern Saudi Arabia, and this page describes lights of the United Arab Emirates.

The Emirates, as the country is often known, extend in an arc eastward from the base of the Qatar Peninsula, encompassing the southern coast of the Gulf. The nation is a federation of seven states: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ash-Shariqah (Sharjah), Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah, and Fujairah. Abu Dhabi is the largest of the emirates in area and includes more than half of the federation's coastline. The easternmost emirate, Fujairah, is outside the Gulf: its coastline faces east on the Gulf of Oman.

The Gulf is a major center of shipping today, but that was not true until well into the 20th century. As a result, no traditional Western-style masonry lighthouses were ever built in the area. However, included on this page are various sites of possible interest to lighthouse fans. Photos of navigational aids in the Gulf are particularly scarce on the Internet, so contributions from travelers to the area would be very welcome.

Offshore navigational aids in the Gulf are maintained by the Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS), based in Bahrain. MENAS has the important task of guiding the continuous stream of supertankers in the Gulf. Harbor lights are maintained by the port authorities in the various states of the region.

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.

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 and United Arab Emirates
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - United Arab Emirates
Photos by various photographers available from Lighthphotos.net.
MENAS Services
For an interactive map of MENAS navigational aids, click on the menu arrow at upper left and then on "AtoNs Map."
UAE Road Map
A useful map of the country.

Yasat Ali Light, Abu Dhabi, 2012
photo contributed by Andrew Hawkins
Abu Dhabi Lighthouses
Yasat Ali
2011. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); flash every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. 32 m (105 ft) octagonal tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Lighthouse painted a light yellow-brown. A photo appears above, but the light is not seen in Bing's satellite view. Located about 18 km (11 mi) north of Yasat Ali Island at the far western end of the Emirates coast, roughly 150 km (90 mi) southeast of Doha, Qatar. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7384.65; NGA 29814.
Prince Shoal
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) "red metal pile, white lantern" according to NGA (which lists the light as "Price Shoal"). No photo available, and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. The light guides ships bound for the newly-developed industrial port of Al Ruwais. Located on a shoal about 5 km (3 mi) east of Sir Bani Yas island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7370; NGA 29964.
Jazirat Qarnayn (Jazīrat Qarnayn)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 59 m (194 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) post rising from a square 1-story white equipment shelter. A. Khazarian has a photo of the area; at highest magnification (zoom in!) the light can just be seen on the summit of the hill on the left. The light is not visible in Google's indistinct satellite view. Qarnayn is a small island in the Gulf about 200 km (125 mi) northwest of Abu Dhabi city. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7366.6; NGA 29868.
Jazirat Zirkuh (Zirkūh, Zirku Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 199 m (653 ft); white flash every 10 s. Square pyramidal skeletal communications tower. A distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Zirkuh is a small island in the southern embayment of the Gulf, about 160 km (100 mi) northwest of Abu Dhabi city and a similar distance east of Qatar. Crude oil is piped to the island for processing and export. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7366; NGA 29872.
Khor Bateen (Khawr al Baţin) West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower, originally painted with black and white horizontal bands, but now painted yellow. Imran Ali Rajput's photo is at right, Trabas has Rainer's Arndt's photo showing the new yellow daymark, and the light is barely visible in Google's satellite view. Located on a breakwater northwest of the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7364; NGA 30040.
Mīnā' Zāyid West Breakwater (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower painted black. Trabas has Rainer's Arndt's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The active light (focal plane about 10 m (33 ft); yellow light, 3 s on, 3 s off) is now on a short yellow post. The breakwater has been extended since Cameron's photo was taken. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7363; NGA 30020.

Khor Bateen West Breakwater Light, Abu Dhabi, September 2009
Panoramio photo copyright Imran Ali Rajput; used by permission
Al Mina (Mīnā' Zāyid)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. Light mounted atop a large square silo-like structure. Trabas has Rainer's Arndt's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the entrance to the port of Al Mina on the north side of Abu Dhabi city. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7363.08; NGA 30021.

Dubai Lighthouses
[Crescent Island]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) metal post, painted white. Trabas has a view from the sea, and Bing has a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on a small crescent-shaped island about 50 km (30 mi) west of Dubai harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7364.8; NGA 30015.
Hassah Marina
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); flash every 2 s, alternating white and red. 8 m (26 ft) round barbell-shaped fiberglass tower colored white with one red (?) horizontal band. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. International standards suggest the colored band on the tower should be green. Located on the west breakwater of the Hassah Marina at Mīnā Jabal Ālī west of downtown Dubai. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7360.8; NGA 30060.
Dubai Main Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 5 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. Pete Goulding's photo is at right, Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, Davide Mirizio has a view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. This is the best known lighthouse of the Emirates. Located at the end of the breakwater at the entrance to Port Rashid, the cruise ship harbor of Dubai. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D7355.7; NGA 30108.
* Dubai World Trade Center
Date unknown (building completed in 1979). Inactive since 2007. 184 m (604 ft) 39-story office, hotel, and exhibition building. Cristian Nicolae has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located at the traffic roundabout in the center of Dubai City, about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southeast of the harbor. Operator: DP World. ex-Admiralty D7355; ex-NGA 30096.

Southern Ash Shariqah Lighthouses
Ash Shāriqah (Sharjah) Main Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, and Google has only an indistinct satellite view. Located on the west breakwater at the entrance to Ash Shariqah harbor. Site status unknown. ARLHS UAE-002; Admiralty D7354; NGA 30132.
Ash Shāriqah (Sharjah) Lee Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, and Google has only an indistinct satellite view. Located on the west breakwater at the entrance to Ash Shariqah harbor. Site status unknown. ARLHS UAE-001; Admiralty D7354.2; NGA 30132.5.

Dubai Main Breakwater Light, Dubai, March 2015
photo copyright Peter Goulding; used by permission

Ajman Lighthouses
Note: the Emirate of Ajman, smallest of the seven members of the federation, is an enclave within the larger Emirate of Ash Shariqah.
Ajman North Training Wall
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower. A very distant view is available (zoom in for a better look), and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the west breakwater at the entrance to Ajman harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7353.
Ajman South Training Wall
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available, and Google has only an indistinct satellite view. Located on the east breakwater at the entrance to Ajman harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7353.2.

Northern Ash Shariqah (Al Hamriyah) Lighthouses
Al Hamriyah South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); green flash every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available, and Google has only an indistinct satellite view. Located on the south (really west) breakwater at the entrance to Al Hamriyah harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7351.5; NGA 30141.2.
Al Hamriyah North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); red light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available, and Google has only an indistinct satellite view. Located on the north (really east) breakwater at the entrance to Al Hamriyah harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7351.4; NGA 30141.

Umm al-Quwain Lightbeacon
[Umm al-Quwain Groin]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) post. M. Asim Zafar has a very distant view, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of a long groin sheletering the entrance to the harbor of Mina Saqr. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D7350.

Ras al-Khaimah Lighthouse
Mina Saqr Entrance
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white, red or green light depending on direction. 20 m (66 ft) triangular skeletal tower, painted white. A view from the sea is available, but the tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view. Located on the main quay of the harbor of Mina Saqr. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D7345.5; NGA 30153.

Fujairah Lighthouses
Note: Unlike the other emirates, Fujairah faces east on the Gulf of Oman, with Omani territory both to the north and to the south.
Dadnah (Jabal Dadnah)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; quick-flashing red light. 37 m (121 ft) skeletal tower. Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Dadnah is a fishing port in Fujairah about 35 km (22 mi) north of Fujairah city. Located on a hill about 600 m (0.4 mi) west of the harbor. Site probably closed, but the tower must be easy to see from the surrounding area. Operator: unknown. Admiralty D7332.3; NGA 28558.
Merbeh
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); red light, 1 s on, 1 s off. Approx. 35 m (115 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Google has a street view and a satellite view. This is probably a communications tower. Located about 10 km (6 mi) north of Fujairah city. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7329.8; NGA 28565.5.
Fujairah (3)
2011. Active; focal plane 273 m (896 ft); two white flashes every 2 s. Approx. 28 m (92 ft) square skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Trabas has Douglas Cameron's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a mountaintop west of the harbor. Site probably closed, but the tower is easy to see fom the surrounding area. Operator: Port of Fujairah. Admiralty D7329.1; NGA 28570.
Fujairah (2)
Date unknown. Inactive since 2011. 5 m (17 ft) white skeletal tower, according to the 2011 NGA list. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is located atop a hill about 1.2 km (3/4 mi) west of the harbor. Site probably closed, but the tower is easy to see fom the surrounding area. Operator: Port of Fujairah. Admiralty ex-D7329; NGA ex-28568.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Iran | East: Oman | West: Qatar

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Posted February 20, 2006. Checked and revised May 26, 2017. Lighthouses: 21. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.