Navassa Island Lighthouse

Navassa Island is an uninhabited Caribbean island located in the Jamaica Channel about forty miles (65 km) west of Anse d'Hainault, the southwestern tip of Haiti. The island was occupied by the U.S. in 1857 for its guano deposits, which were actively mined until 1901. Lighthouse keepers lived on the island from 1917 to 1929, and there was a U.S. Navy observation post during World War II. Permanent settlement is not possible because there is no reliable source of fresh water. Since 1999 the island has been administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the Navassa National Wildlife Refuge. Haiti has always claimed the island, a claim the U.S. does not recognize.

The U.S. Geological Survey has an excellent web site for the island based on its environmental assessments during 1998-99.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals.

Lighthouse
Navassa Island
1917. Inactive since 1996. 162 ft (49 m) round cylindrical white reinforced concrete tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse is unpainted; lantern painted black. The 1-story keeper's house is unroofed and in ruins. A USGS photo is at right, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, NOAA has a page for the island with photos by Keith Pamper, and Google has a good satellite view. This unusual and historic lighthouse was built to guide ships bound for the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is now critically endangered by abandonment and lack of maintenance. Visitors require permission from the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuges main office in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Located near the highest point of the island (the focal plane was 395 ft (120 m)). Site restricted (sensitive ecological area), tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ARLHS NAV-001; ex-Admiralty J5362.

Adjoining pages: East: Haiti | West: Jamaica

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Posted May 5, 2002. Checked and revised October 22, 2014. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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