Lighthouses and Signal Flags

If you are interested in both Signal Flags and Lighthouses like I am then the Maine Lighthouse Museum is a wealth of information in both lighthouses and American maritime history!  They are located in Rockland, Maine in the heart of the Midcoast.

The below  signal flag banner spells “Lighthouses”.

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A lighthouse is a tower, building, or framework designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire and used as an aid to navigation and to pilots at sea.

Lighthouses are used to mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals and reefs, and safe entries to harbors and can also assist in aerial navigation. Once widely used, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and replacement by modern electronic navigational aid

The earliest lighthouses were simply bonfires built on hillsides to guide ships. The first light served the old world city of Alexandria in 285 B.C. The first American light came to life in 1716 at Boston Harbor. The below picture is of a lighthouse on Brewster Island outside of Boston.

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In the United States, lighthouses are maintained by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).  Those in England and Wales are looked after by Trinity House; in Scotland, by the Northern Lighthouse Board; and in Ireland by the Commissioners of Irish Lights.  In Canada, they are managed by the Canadian Coast Guard. In Australia, lighthouses are conducted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Both Signal Flags and Lighthouses help ships at sea in different ways. Both help in navagation.

Update on Lighthouses:

2.88 It is now accepted that staffed light stations are not necessary for maritime safety and navigational efficiency. A 1998 Canadian Coast Guard study found that most industrialized countries were removing staff from light stations.

  • the United States had removed staff from 474 of 475 light stations since 1990,
  • England had removed staff from 68 of 72 light stations,
  • Ireland had removed staff from all of its 80 light stations, and
  • Australia had removed staff from 102 of its 104 light stations.

2.89 There is no consistent approach within the Department to determine and maintain the heritage value of Canada’s staffed and automated light stations. We observed that the Maritimes Region is actively seeking partners to assume responsibility for light stations that are no longer needed by the Coast Guard. This is a balanced approach to maintaining our heritage.

To read more…. OAG Chapter

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