Lighthouses of China: Shànghǎi

The great port of Shànghǎi, now the center of one of the world's largest metropolitan areas, was built on the Huángpǔ River, an estuary on the south side of the Yangtze River (Cháng Jiāng) just above the mouth. Metropolitan Shànghǎi has been separated from Jiāngsū Province as a provincial-level metropolitan region, Shànghǎi Shì.

Lighthouses in China are maintained by the PRC Maritime Safety Administration. The administration is organized in four regional administrations; Shànghǎi lighthouses naturally fall under the Shànghǎi MSA.

The pinyin system for transliterating Chinese into Latin characters is now the international standard, but some locations continue to be known also under the spellings of older transliteration systems. The Chinese word for a lighthouse is dēngtǎ (灯塔). In pinyin jiāo (formerly chiao) is a reef or rock, jiǎo is a cape or headland, dǎo (tao) is an island; (tsu) is a small island, wān is a bay and gǎng (kang) is a harbor.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. CN numbers are Chinese light list numbers. Admiralty numbers are from volume P of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Navigation Aids Search
The Shànghǎi MSA provides this access to its database of information on navigational aids: enter a range of CN numbers in the lower pair of boxes and click on the search box below. All information is in Chinese.
MSA Aids to Navigation - Lighthouse
Two pages of photos of prominent Chinese lighthouses.
Online List of Lights - China
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - China
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Chinese English Pinyin Dictionary
A useful tool for juggling the representations of Chinese names.
Leuchttürme Chinas auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
China AMS Topographic Maps
A fine collection of U.S. Army Map Service maps of China, in English, posted by the University of Texas Library.


Shéshān Light, East China Sea, Shànghǎi, March 2014
PRC Maritime Safety Administration Dōnghǎi Office photo

Shànghǎi Approach Lighthouses and Lightships
Lightship Chángjiāng Kǒu (Yangtze Delta)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10.5 m (34 ft); white flash every 6 s. 22 m (72 ft) steel lightship, painted red. Fog bell. This ship marks the start of the deepwater channel to Shànghǎi. No photo available. Located about 42 km (26 mi) southeast of the Shéshān lighthouse. CN-2099; Admiralty P3752; NGA 18792.
Jīgǔjiāo (4)
2004 (station established 1986). Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft); white flash every 5 s. 52 m (171 ft) elliptical cylindrical concrete tower mounted atop a 7-story concrete building, all standing on a large concrete pier. An MSA photo is at right, a wider version of the same aerial photo is available, Shànghǎi MSA has a page with a closeup photo, another photo is available, and the light station is just barely visible in Google's distant satellite view. The lighthouse stands atop a fort built on an artificial island in 1971 but decommissioned in 1980. Since 2004 it has been a staffed radar and vessel traffic control station. The 1996 lighthouse was a 9 m (30 ft) round fiberglass tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands, mounted atop the concrete building. Located on Jīgǔjiāo (Chicken Bone Reef) about 30 km (19 mi) southeast of the Shéshān lighthouse and 40 km (25 mi) east of the Shànghǎi entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. CN-2098; Admiralty P3753; NGA 18784.
Shéshān (Shaweishan)
1871. Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white flash every 6 s. 17 m (56 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted black. This is the traditional landfall light for Shànghǎi. An MSA photo is at the top of this page, and Google has a distant satellite view. This is the original lighthouse, prefabricated in Britain for the Customs Marine Department. The tower was restored in 1986. Located atop a small island about 35 km (22 mi) east of Chongmingdǎo and the Yangtze delta. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PRC-057; CN-2076; Admiralty P3762; NGA 18780.
Niúpíjiāo (Niúpí Jiāo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); six quick white flashes followed by one long white flash every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical tower. According to NGA the upper half of the tower should be painted yellow and the lower half black, but it appears all yellow in 2012 photo. This is also a tide gauging station. Located on the north side of the entrance channel for the Yangtze. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. CN-2102; Admiralty P3754.2; NGA 18808.
Jigujiao Light
Jīgǔjiāo Light, East China Sea, Shànghǎi, March 2014
PRC Maritime Safety Administration Dōnghǎi office photo
Lightfloat Jiǔduàn
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 23 m (75 ft) steel lightship, painted red. Shànghǎi MSA has photos in an article on the 2009 refurbishment of the ship. A fog bell from this ship is displayed in the Customs Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. Located about 10 km (6 mi) offshore and 20 km (13 mi) southeast of the Shànghǎi entrance. CN-2141; Admiralty P3768; NGA 18824.
Zhōng Jùn (2)
1994 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); three long yellow flashes every 12 s. 9 m (30 ft) rectangular skeletal tower, mounted on a concrete pier and carrying an enclosed lantern-like structure that houses tide gauging equipment. Entire station painted bright yellow. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located about 5 km (3 mi) offshore and 16 km (10 mi) southeast of the Shànghǎi entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. CN-2165; Admiralty P3767; NGA 18816.

Shànghǎi Area Lighthouses
Héngshā (Héngshādǎo, House Island)
2001. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); white flash every 8 s. 56 m (184 ft) square cylindrical white concrete tower supporting a 3-story harbor control center. An MSA photo is at right, a distant photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the southeastern tip of Héngshādǎo, an island in the mouth of the Yangtze River. CN-2130; Admiralty P3754.69; NGA 18829.
Lightfloat No. 24, Yuányuánshā
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 6 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a round equipment shelter, all riding on a circular lightfloat 13 m (43 ft) in diameter. Fog horn. This lightfloat (also called a superbuoy or a lanby) replaced the lightship Yuányuánshā sometime around 2010. As of June 2017 Google's satellite view still showed the lightship. The fate of the historic vessel is not known. Located in the mouth of the Yangtze about 8 km (5 mi) west of the Héngshā lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, vessel closed. CN-2157; Admiralty P3770.5; NGA 18834.
Lightship Xinqiao Tongdǎo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; two white flashes every 10 s. Steel lightship with a light tower amidships. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located upstream from the mouth of the Huángpǔ, about 8 km (5 mi) north of the Wúsōngkǒu lighthouse (next entry). Accessible only by boat. Site open, vessel closed. Admiralty P3791.5.

Hengsha Light
Héngshā Light, Yangtze River, Shànghǎi
PRC Maritime Safety Administration Dōnghǎi office photo

Bǎoshān No. 1 Breakwater (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; yellow flash every 2 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) round barbell-shaped fiberglass tower, colored with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This light is very similar to the Bǎoshān Pierhead Light (next entry). Bǎoshān is a harbor district on the south side of the Yangtze River just upstream from the Huángpǔ River entrance. Located at the end of the long main breakwater at Bǎoshān. Site and tower closed. Admiralty P3790; NGA 18860.
Bǎoshān Pierhead (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plan and light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) round barbell-shaped fiberglass tower, colored with red and white horizontal bands. James Smith's photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a short pier on the south side of the entrance to Bǎoshān harbor. Site and tower closed.
Wúsōngkǒu (Hetang) (5?)
1999 (station established 1865). Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a round stone base. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome red. Jens Schott Knudsen's 2009 photo appears below right, Alex Vickery has a closeup photo, a good photo and a 2011 closeup are available, and Google has a satellite view. We need more detailed information on the history of this historic light station. Chinese Wikipedia has an article giving 1872 as the date of establishment. The 1872 lighthouse was a 17 m (56 ft) square brick tower on the west side of the mouth of the river. In 1928 the light was moved to the end of the jetty; the light there was replaced in 1988 by a plain round tower painted with red and white bands. Wúsōng is an older name for the Huángpǔ River; it is used now mostly for the lower course of the river. Located at the entrance to the Huángpǔ River, standing at the end of a long, curving breakwater that diverts the Yangtze's sediment away from the Huángpǔ entrance channel. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. CN-2227; Admiralty P3780; NGA 18840.
Baoshan Breakwater No. 1 Light
Bǎoshān Pierhead Light, Yangtze River, Shànghǎi, November 2012
photo copyright James Smith; used by permission
* Wúsōngkǒu (Huángpǔ Entrance) Range Front
1977. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); continuous red light. 30.5 m (100 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. The tower also carries a red and white slatted trapezoidal daymark. The tower is left of center in a photo of the waterfront, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west bank of the Huángpǔ about 600 m (0.4 mi) southwest of the Gāoqiáo harbor control center. Site closed, but the tower should be easy to see from anywhere nearby; tower closed. CN-2234; Admiralty P3781; NGA 18848.
* Wúsōngkǒu (Huángpǔ Entrance) Range Rear
1977. Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); continuous red light. 35 m (115 ft) square tapered skeletal tower with gallery. The tower also carries a red and white slatted trapezoidal daymark. The tower is at the far left in a photo of the waterfront, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located 210 m (230 yd) west southwest of the front light. Site closed, but the tower should be easy to see from anywhere nearby; tower closed. CN-2235; Admiralty P3781.1; NGA 18852.
* Gāoqiáo (3?)
1966 (?) (station established 1955). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); yellow flash every 4 s. 21 m (69 ft) round concrete tower. MSA describes the tower as an "concrete lookout." Google's satellite view probably shows the current lighthouse, but more information is needed. Still listed by Shanghai MSA, this light has been dropped from the international lists. Located on the east side of the Huángpǔ River, at the sharp bend in the river north of downtown Shànghǎi. Site status unknown. CN-2242; ex-Admiralty P3785; ex-NGA 18857.
* Lónghuá Gǎng
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); three green flashes every 10 s. Approx. 43 m (141 ft) round tower supporting a 2-story observation structure. Lighthouse is white. A 2014 photo, a 2011 photo, and a 2010 photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west bank of the Huángpǔ in the Lónghuá neigborhood. Site open, tower status unknown. CN-2251.4; Admiralty P3786.5.
Yángsīqiáo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 7.5 m (25 ft) round red fiberglass tower mounted on a rectangular pier. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located just off the east bank of the river near the Oriental Sports Center in southern Shànghǎi. Accessible only by boat but visible from shore. Site and tower closed. CN-2252.1; Admiralty P3787.
Wusungkou Light
Wúsōngkǒu Light, Shànghǎi, October 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jens Schott Knudsen
* Chángqiáo Gǎng (2)
2002 (station established 1987). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); three green flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round hourglass-shaped fiberglass tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. A 2010 closeup is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west bank of the Huángpǔ near the Skylight Gardens Hotel. Site probably open, tower closed. CN-2253.1; Admiralty P3787.5.
* Chūnshēntáng
1989. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); continuous green light. 15 m (49 ft) round hourglass-shaped fiberglass tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Dmitriy Alexandrov has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the Huángpǔ about 3.3 km (2 mi) south of the Chángqiáo light. Site probably open, tower closed. CN-2257.2; Admiralty P3787.7.
Zhágǎng
1959. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) hexagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with vertical red and white stripes. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This light marks a right-angle bend in the Huángpǔ. Located in a coal loading facility on the east side of the estuary about 35 km (22 mi) south of downtown Shànghǎi. Site and tower closed. CN-2259; Admiralty P3788.

Nánhuìjiāo (Cape Yangtze) Area Lighthouses
Náncáodōng Shuǐwèizhàn (Southeast Tide Station)
2003. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); four yellow flashes (long-short-long short) every 12 s. 21 m (69 ft) two-stage tower, a square skeletal tower atop a round cylindrical concrete tower. Lower half painted yellow, upper half black. The light does not appear in Google's satellite view. Located about 25 km (15 mi) northeast of Nánhuìjiāo (Cape Yangtze). CN-2159; Admiralty P3750.5.
Lightship Náncáo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10.5 m (34 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Lightship painted red. Fog bell. Located about 45 km (28 mi) east of Nánhuìjiāo (Cape Yangtze) and 65 km (40 mi) southeast of the Shànghǎi entrance. CN-2133; Admiralty P3751; NGA 18794.
Lightship Nánzhī (Nanzi)
2012 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 10 s. 22 m (72 ft) steel lightship, painted red. Light tower with lantern and gallery amidships. An MSA photo is at right. Located about 25 km (15 mi) east of Nánhuìjiāo (Cape Yangtze) and 50 km (30 mi) southeast of the Shànghǎi entrance. CN-2158; Admiralty P3750; NGA 18796.
[Lightship Yíngkǒu]
About 1915. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) steel lightship, formerly stationed off Yíngkǒu in Southwestern Liáoníng. In 2015 the hull of the ship was transported to a shipyard in Shànghǎi, where it will be restored for display at the China Maritime Museum. The museum is located on the point of Nánhuìjiāo (Cape Yangtze).

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Wúsōng (Wusung, Woosung) (1872-?; station established 1865), Shànghǎi. This lighthouse, an 18 m (59 ft) square brick tower, is the predecessor of the Wúsōngkǒu lighthouse (see above); it stood within a few hundred meters southwest of the modern harbor control center. It has not survived. A historic stereo photo is available.
Lightship Nanzhi
Lightship Nánzhī, East China Sea, June 2012
PRC Shànghǎi Region Maritime Safety Administration photo

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Jiāngsū | South: Shèngsì and Qíqū Islands | West: Jiāxīing and Níngbō

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Posted April 21, 2008. Checked and revised June 18, 2017. Lighthouses: 17, lightships: 6. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.