Lighthouses of Jamaica

The largest island of the former British West Indies, Jamaica is 234 km (145 mi) long and 80 km (50 mi) wide. After being a British colony since 1655, the island has been an independent nation since 1962. Kingston, on the south coast, is the capital, largest city, and most important port of the country.

Jamaica has seven historic lighthouses, no one of them like any of the others and all of them interesting in their design. The lighthouses are maintained by the Port Authority of Jamaica, an agency of the Ministry of Transport and Works.

All seven lighthouses are accessible, but several of them are rather poorly known. Additional information and photos are welcome.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Jamaica National Heritage Trust - Lighthouses
Historical descriptions and small photos posted by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
Lighthouses of Jamaica
Posted by a Dutch visitor, Frans Eijgenraam, this site has photos and reports from his visits in early 2000.
Lighthouses in the Caribbean
Excellent aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Online List of Lights - Jamaica
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas; most of the Jamaican photos are by Capts. Peter Mosselberger or Theo Hinrichs.
Lighthouses in Jamaica
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Jamaica
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas und der Karabik auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Lovers Leap Light
Lovers Leap Light, Southfield, February 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Paul Jonusaitis

Surrey (Eastern Jamaica) Lighthouses
* Folly Point (Port Antonio)
1888. Active; focal plane 16 m (53 ft); white light, 2 s on, 8 s off. 15 m (49 ft) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, painted with orange-red and white bands; solar-powered lens. Frans Eijgenraam found a beautiful garden surrounding the lighthouse. Charlene Collins has a 2009 photo, a 2012 photo is available, a tourist site has photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is close to the Folly Ruins, a collapsing mansion built by American millionaires in 1905. Located at the end of the Folly Peninsula on the east side of the harbor of Port Antonio, on the northeastern coast of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JAM-001; Admiralty J5272; NGA 13832.
** Morant Point
1841 (Alexander Gordon, designer; George Grove, contractor). Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 29 m (95 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. To protect against surf during hurricanes, a semicircular masonry wall has been built around the seaward side of the base of the lighthouse. One of Michael Dorn's photos is at right, he also has a view of the light station, the Port Antonio Guesthouse Association also has a page for the lighthouse, Wikimedia has Dorn's closeup, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. This historic tower is the oldest lighthouse on the island and the first cast iron lighthouse built in the Western Hemisphere. A historical exhibit was planned for installation at the keeper's house. Meanwhile, a 2011 photo shows the lighthouse in serious need of repainting and restoration. Located at Morant Point, the easternmost point of Jamaica. Accessible in dry weather by an unpaved road to the point (a "temporary" detour has been used since the main road was washed out by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988). Site open; the tower is open by arrangement with the keeper. ARLHS JAM-004; Admiralty J5282; NGA 13860.
* Plumb Point
1853. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); flash every 9 s, alternating red and white. 21 m (69 ft) two-stage round tower, lower half stone and upper half cast iron, with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse painted white. A closeup photo, a 2011 photo, and a 2008 photo are available, Auria Abraham has a 2006 photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view. This lighthouse is in the Port Royal Historic District, which the government hopes to develop as a tourist attraction. Famous as a hangout for pirates, Port Royal was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692. Located at Great Plumb Point on the Palisadoes Peninsula, near the Palisadoes Airport, about 8 km (5 mi) east of Port Royal and the entrance to Kingston Harbour. Accessible by paved road. Site open, tower closed but it appears that vistors can climb halfway up the tower on the external stairway. ARLHS JAM-005; Admiralty J5294; NGA 13908.
Morant Point Light
Morant Point Light, St. Thomas Parish, June 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Michael Dorn

Southern Middlesex Lighthouses
Lazaretto Cairn (Rackhams Cay Range Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) solid triangular pyramidal tower, painted white. Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels westward on their approach to Kingston Harbour. This appears to be a historic daybeacon converted to a lighted aid. Located on a bluff on the west side of the harbor entrance, opposite Port Royal. Site probably open, but local knowledge and 4WD is probably required; tower closed. Admiralty J5296; NGA 13932.
Pigeon Island Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white light, 2 s on , 4 s off, visible only on or near the range line. 23 m (75 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. The tower also carries a white triangular daymark, point down. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a short post. Located on a reef in the entrance to Portland Bight. Accessible only boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J5327.9; NGA 14080.
Portland Ridge (Portland Point)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 198 m (650 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 35 m (115 ft) square pyramidal cast iron or steel skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Tower sections painted alternately red and white, lantern and gallery red. Trabas has Capt. Peter's distant view from the sea, but a cloud blocks Google's satellite view. This is Jamaica's tallest light tower. Located on the Portland Ridge near the southernmost point of the island. Accessible by a hike of about 8 km (5 mi) (access road gated for cars). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JAM-006; Admiralty J5327; NGA 14112.

Cornwall (Western Jamaica) Lighthouses
*** Lover's Leap
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 530 m (1739 ft); white flash every 10 s. 30.5 m (100 ft) round cylindrical steel (?) tower with lantern and octagonal gallery. Tower painted with red and white horizontal bands; lantern white, gallery red. Paul Jonusaitis's photo is at the top of this page, Charles Bash has a good closeup, Lightphotos.net has a good photo, Trabas has Capt. Hinrichs's closeup photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a good satellite view. This is the highest lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere. JNHT says this is also the newest Jamaican lighthouse, evidently built after Jamaica became independent (1962). The area has been developed as a tourist attraction, with a restaurant and observation deck near the lighthouse. Located in Southfield, 32 km (20 mi) south of Mandeville at the top of a spectacular cliff. Site open; tower open daily except Sundays year-round. ARLHS JAM-003; Admiralty J5341; NGA 14124.
*** South Negril Point
1894. Active; focal plane 31 m (101 ft;) flash every 2 s, alternating red and white. 27 m (89 ft) round reinforced concrete tower with lantern and gallery; solar-powered lens. Tower and gallery painted white; lantern unpainted gray metal. Several 1-story frame keeper's houses are staffed. Charles Bash's photo is at right, Larry Moe has a closeup photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a good satellite view. Built by a French company, this is one of the earliest concrete lighthouses. A well-known attraction of the Negril area. Located at South Negril Point, near the westernmost point of the island. Parking provided. Site open, tower open by appointment. ARLHS JAM-007; Admiralty J5344; NGA 14144.
* Rose Hall
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); five white flashes every 30 s. Approx. 27 m (92 ft) square steel skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A closeup and a more distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. This light marks the northernmost bend of Jamaica's coastline. Located on the Cinnamon Hill golf course at Rose Hall, about 25 km (15 mi) east of Montego Bay. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Rose Hall Resort. Admiralty J5253; NGA 13776.

Northern Middlesex Lighthouse
* Galina Point (2)
Date unknown (station established 1912). Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); white flash every 12 s. 13 m (42 ft) strongly-tapered triangular white concrete tower, with no lantern; a solar-powered lens is mounted on a small platform at the top. A 2012 photo and another photo are available, Trabas has Capt. Hinrichs's photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at Galina, off highway A3 about 7 km (4.5 mi) north of Port Maria and a similar distance east of Oracabessa on the northern coast of Jamaica. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JAM-002; Admiralty J5266; NGA 13828.

Negril Point Light
Negril Point Light, Negril, March 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Charles Bash


Morant Cays Lighthouse
Note: The Morant Cays are a group of small islands on a coral reef 51 km (32 mi) south southeast of Morant Point. The islands were claimed by Great Britain in 1862 and annexed to Jamaica in 1882. There is no permanent population, but a fishing camp is often occupied.
Morant Cays
Date unknown (1960s?). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white light, 4 s on, 6 s off. 21 m (69 ft) round metal (?) tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. The light lists describe this light as a framework tower, so the present tower might not be the original lighthouse. Located on Northeast Cay, at the easternmost point of the islands. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J5356; NGA 13864.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Cuba | East: Navassa Island | West: Cayman Islands

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Posted 2001. Checked and revised October 17, 2014. Lighthouses: 11. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.