Lighthouses of the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands are located at the southeastern end of the Bahamas archipelago. At one time they were governed as part of the Bahamas, but in 1874 they were detached and placed under the Governor of Jamaica. When Jamaica became independent in 1962, the Turks and Caicos became a separate British overseas territory with its capital at Grand Turk. The population is roughly 36,000. There is only one major lighthouse, but it is a very historic lighthouse, one of the oldest cast iron lights in the Western Hemisphere.

There is a modern cruise ship terminal at Grand Turk. Aids to navigation in the islands are probably the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Trade.

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
Online List of Lights - Turks and Caicos Islands
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Turks and Caicos Islands
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Turks and Caicos Islands
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in Caribbean
Aerial photos from Marinas.com.
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas und der Karibik auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.

Grand Turk Light
Grand Turk Light, April 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Greg Stokes

Lighthouses
* South Caicos (Cockburn Harbour)
1890. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); continuous white light. 4.5 m (15 ft) rectangular white concrete tower; the light, shown through a window, is visible only to the southeast. Brian Brake's photo is at right, a 2013 photo is available, and Wikimedia has a photo from NGA Publication 147, but the small lighthouse is not seen in Google's indistinct satellite view. The light guides vessels approaching a narrow opening in the Caicos reef. Located on the southeastern tip of South Caicos Island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4808; NGA 12392.
* Grand Turk
1852 (Alexander Gordon). Reactivated (1998); focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 18 m (60 ft) cast iron tower, painted white, attached to kerosene storage house. A 4th order Fresnel lens (1943) from the lighthouse is on display at the Turks and Caicos National Museum. The keeper's house and kitchen also survive. Greg Stokes's photo is above, Reef News also has a good page with closeup photos, the local tourism office has two excellent photos, Trabas has a photo by Douglas Cameron, Wikimedia has a photo, Marinas.com has excellent aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Bing has a satellite view, and Lighthouse Digest has an article on earlier unsuccessful efforts to restore the lighthouse to kerosene power. The lighthouse was prefabricated in London by Chance Brothers; it is a very rare example of this early design in cast iron. After many years of neglect, the lighthouse was partially restored in 1998. In 2006, Carnival Corp., the cruise line holding company, granted funds to repaint and refurbish the lighthouse, keeper's cottage, and other light station buildings. This was part of much larger investment to develop Grand Turk as a regular stop for cruise ships. Grand Turk suffered considerable damage from Hurricane Ike in September 2008, but a photo taken after the hurricane shows that the lighthouse survived (though it needed repainting). The lighthouse was repainted in 2012. Located at the northern tip of Grand Turk Island; accessible by road. Cruise ships calling at the island offer tours that include the light station. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Turks and Caicos National Trust. ARLHS TCI-001; Admiralty J4812; NGA 12408.
South Caicos Light
South Caicos Light, May 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Brian Brake
[Big Sand Cay (1)]
Date unknown. Inactive. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower, now rusted and lying on its side. The light was replaced by a short post light (focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white flash every 2 s). Jan Buskop has a photo (almost halfway down the page) and reports that that light was not operating as of early 2008. Google has only a distant satellite view of the cay. This light marked the southernmost point of the Turks and Caicos Islands, about 25 km (15 mi) south southwest of Grand Turk Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4818; NGA 12432.

Adjoining pages: South: Haiti | West: Bahamas

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Posted September 16, 2005. Checked and revised October 3, 2014. Lighthouses: 2. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.