The Lighthouse Directory

Welcome to the Lighthouse Directory, providing information and links for more than 18,100 of the world's lighthouses. Follow the Directory's Twitter feed for the latest in lighthouse news and Directory updates. See the link below! Latest update October 26, 2014.

This week the pages for Washington and Northern Wisconsin in the U.S., Northern Mindanao in the Philippines, Northern Troms in Norway, the Aegean Islands of Greece, Hainan in China, Navassa Island, Haiti, Nagoya in Japan, and Angola have been checked and revised, with several new photos.

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Baishamen Light
Baishamen Light, Haikou, Hainan, China, February 2013
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Anna Frodesiak

A Month of Lighthouse News:

Akrotiri Light
Akrotíri Light, Santoríni, Aegean Islands, Greece, March 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by JenniKate Wallace

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. With the addition of the Hainan page in February 2009, listings now 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.

Cape Disappointment Light
Cape Disappointment Light, Ilwaco, Washington, U.S.A., December 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Another Believer

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 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 #.

Irago Misaki Light
Irago Misaki Light, Tahara, Nagoya Area, Japan
City of Tahara photo

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.

Giraúl Light
New and old Ponta do Giraúl Lights, Namibe, Angola, March 2010
Panoramio photo copyright J.L. Almeida; permission requested

Articles about lighthouses:

Ashland Breakwater Light
Ashland Breakwater Light, Ashland, Wisconsin, U.S.A., March 2008
Flickr photo copyright Greg Minor; permission requested

Special Resources

Mambajao Light
Mambajao Light, Mambajao, Northern Mindanao, Philippines, June 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by roxj

Lobito Light
Lobito Light, Benguela, Angola, September 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Claus Bunks

Noma Saki Light
Noma Saki Light, Chita, Nagoya Area, Japan, November 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by 名古屋太郎 (Nagoya Taro)

Pointe du Lamentin Light
Pointe du Lamentin Light, Carrefour, Haiti, February 2013
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission

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.

Lighthouses on the Internet: A Researcher's Guide has replaced the list of links formerly on this page.

Navassa Island Light
Navassa Island Light, Caribbean Sea, 1999
Wikimedia public domain photo by the U.S. Geological Survey


Ágios Nikólaos Light, Rhodes, Aegean Islands, Greece, October 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Yehuda Cohen

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

Australia

South Indian Ocean

Africa

Lighthouses of Europe

Britain and Ireland

France, Monaco and Switzerland

Spain and Portugal

Italy and Malta

Southeastern Europe

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

Western and Central Asia

Southwest Asia

India

Southeast Asia

Philippines

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)

Torsvåg Light
Torsvåg Light, Karlsøy, Northern Troms, Norway, July 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Redningsselskapet

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 extend special thanks to Michel Forand for his suggestions and corrections touching essentially every page of this work, and 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.

Formalities

Written by:

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

You are welcome to email the author (rowlett@email.unc.edu) with comments and suggestions.

All material in The Lighthouse Directory is copyright 2014 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.