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. In the Lighthouse Directory, there are separate pages for the lighthouses of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. This page includes 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, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Quwain, and Fujairah. Abu Dhabi 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, and jazirat is an island.

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 Douglas Cameron posted by Alexander Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - United Arab Emirates
Photos by various photographers available from Lighthphotos.net.
MENAS Interactive Region Map
Click on "View MENAS navaids" to display the locations of MENAS-maintained lights.
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. 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.
Jazirat Qarnayn
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 59 m (194 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) post light rising from a square 1-story white equipment shelter. A. Khazarian has a photo of the location; at highest magnification (click on the image) the light can just be seen on the summit. 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 (Zirku Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 199 m (653 ft); white flash every 10 s. Square pyramidal skeletal communications tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Zirkuh is a small island in the southern embayment of the Gulf, about 160 km (100 mi) west 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.
Al Mina
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 Cameron's photo, and Google 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 Lighthouse
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. Trabas has Cameron's photo (also seen at right), and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater at the entrance to Dubai harbor. 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 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.

Ras al-Khaimah Lighthouse
Mina Saqr Entrance
Dateunknown. 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 distant view 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. No photo available, but Google has a satellite 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. No photo available, but Google has 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.
Dubai Main Breakwater Light
Dubai Main Breakwater Light, Dubai
photo copyright Douglas Cameron; used by permission
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 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 April 29, 2014. Lighthouses: 11. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.