Lighthouses of Martinique

Martinique is an overseas département of France located in the central part of the Lesser Antilles, the curving chain of islands at the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea. The mountainous island is crowned by Mount Pelée, an active volcano. Martinique has a population is about 400,000 and is a very popular tourist destination.

Martinique is governed like any other département of France. Aids to navigation are operated by the maritime directorate (Direction de la Mer).

The French word for a lighthouse, phare, is generally reserved for larger coastal lighthouses; a smaller light or harbor light is called a feu (literally "fire," but here meaning "light").

Most of the lighthouses of the Lesser Antilles are poorly known, so information about them would be welcome, and photos are especially 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 numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Phares d'Amérique
This page, part of Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller's site Le Phare à travers le monde, links to several photos of the lighthouses of Martinique.
Online List of Lights - Martinique
Photos by various photographers posted by Alex Trabas. Most of the Martinique photos are by Capt. Peter Mosselberger.
Photos by TRONDOM
This Panoramio portfolio includes photos of many Martinique lights.
World of Lighthouses - Martinique
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Leuchttürme auf den Kleinen Antillen
Photos posted by Bernd Claußen.
Lighthouses in the Caribbean
Excellent aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas und der Karibik auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Phare de la Caravelle
La Caravelle Light, Presque-île de la Caravelle, June 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Nicolas Emmanuel-Émile
East Coast (Atlantic Ocean) Lighthouses
* La Caravelle
1862. Active; focal plane 129 m (423 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical tower, painted red with white trim; lantern white. Clamshell Fresnel lens in use. Nicolas Emmanuel-Émile's photo is above, Guyomard and Carceller have Damien Conreux's photo, a fine closeup and a 2007 photo are available, Marinas.com has aerial photos (misidentified as Précheur Point), and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse occupies a spectacular site overlooking the Atlantic. Located at the eastern end of the Caravelle Peninsula east of Trinité, in the Martinique Regional Nature Park. Site open, tower status unknown. Site manager: government of Martinique. ARLHS MRQ-002; Admiralty J5772; NGA 14932.
* Baie du François
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); quick-flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white with red trim and a red horizontal band at the top. A 2009 closeup is available, and Google has a satellite view. NGA says the light has a green top, but this must have been changed. Located on a promontory projecting into the Baie du François on the east coast of Martinique. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J5772.5; NGA 14934.
* [Port-Vauclin]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); quick-flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white with red trim. A 2009 closeup is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory on the north side of the Baie du Vauclain. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J5773; NGA 14936.
Îlet Cabrit (3)
Date unknown (station established 1929). Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 27 m (89 ft) triangular pyramidal steel skeletal tower with a small gallery at the top. Entire tower painted bright red. 1-story keeper's house. A 2009 closeup is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island off the southern tip of Martinique. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: government of Martinique. ARLHS MRQ-001; Admiralty J5776; NGA 14940.

West Coast (Caribbean Sea) Lighthouses
* [Pointe du Marin]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); quick-flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, attached to a small equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted white with red trim. A 2009 closeup is available, but the small tower has not been found in Google's satellite view. Located on a promontory on the south side of the entrance to the Baie du Marin, north of Sainte-Anne on the southeast coast of Martinique. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J5777; NGA 14944.
* Baie de Carénage Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); green light, 2 s on, 2 s off, synchronized with the rear light. 12 m (39 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted atop a square 1-story equiment shelter. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands; there is also an orange slatted daymark at the top of the tower. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located near the foot of a steep hill north of the Baie de Carénage, the commerical harbor of Fort-de-France, east of the Fort St.-Louis peninsula. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J5784; NGA 14960.
* Baie de Carénage Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); green light, 2 s on, 2 s off, synchronized with the front light. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted atop a square 1-story equiment shelter. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands; there is also an orange slatted daymark at the top of the tower. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, a 2009 photo shows the rear of the tower, and Google has a satellite view. Located up a steep hill 145 m (159 yd) north of the front light. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J5784.1; NGA 14964.
* Fort Saint-Louis (2)
1898 (station established 1883). Inactive since 2011. 6 m (20 ft) skeletal tower with lantern, painted white. A 2009 closeup is available, Claußen has photos, Yurek Kulski has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view of the fort. The 18th century Fort St.-Louis is built on a peninsula barring entry to the inner harbor of Fort-de-France, Martinique's capital. The lighthouse is built high atop the stone walls of the fort. The fort is open to guided tours; tower closed. Site manager: government of Martinique. ARLHS MRQ-005; ex-Admiralty J5783; NGA 14956.
* Pointe des Nègres (2)
1924 (station established 1855). Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); white flash every 5 s. 28 m (92 ft) hexagonal cylindrical cast iron skeletal tower with enclosed lantern and watch room. Entire lighthouse painted white. Two 1-story keeper's houses. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo also seen at right, Claußen has a photo, Lightphotos.net has a photo, a 2006 photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, another aerial photo is available, Huelse has posted a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The original light was mounted on a mast on the fort on the point. A 2009 closeup shows the lighthouse to be in good condition. Located about two miles west of Fort-de-France. Site apparently open, tower closed. Site manager: government of Martinique. ARLHS MRQ-003; Admiralty J5780; NGA 14948.
Phare de la Pointe des Nègres
Pointe des Nègres Light, Fort-de-France
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger; used by permission
* Le Prêcheur
1929. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); red flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical metal tower mounted on a 1-story conical cement block base. Entire lighthouse painted white. A 2009 photo and a second photo are available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This light is on the northwestern coast of Martinique at the foot of the infamous volcano Pelée, which destroyed everything in this area in a catastrophic eruption in 1902. Located on the Route des Fusillés in Le Prêcheur. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: government of Martinique. ARLHS MRQ-004; Admiralty J5788; NGA 14996.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Dominica | South: St. Lucia

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Posted December 8, 2005. Checked and revised December 6, 2013. Lighthouses: 8. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.