What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse (2022)

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What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse is the depth of water, its surrounding area, and the weather of the region.


When the merchant navy business first started out, there was obviously no aid to navigation. There weren’t any established yet to save ships from disaster.

Ships would collide with rocks and sink. They would collide with reefs as well because no one could determine the depths of the water.

Whatever is used to help with navigation is called “aid to navigation”, meaning, that thing helps us with navigation.

Aid to navigation consists of a lot of things. We already have electronic aids to navigation but physical aids to navigation are big support when it comes to shipping navigation.

Physical aids of navigation include buoys, beacons, radio beacons, Racons, leading lights, clearing lines, and of course, lighthouses.

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse (1)

To make ship navigation safe when ships enter a country or leave it to go to another country, To keep them from grounding, because if they do, their future is dark.

This is why lighthouses exist. 90% of the world’s trade is by sea. If shipping weren’t safe, so the 90% of goods entering your country and leaving it, how do you imagine they operate?

Obviously, this can lead to further disaster. A good example of this is the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal was blocked for a few days. Europe was in a fit. So ensuring the safety of ships entering and leaving a country is important.

That’s exactly why lighthouses exist. They come in many sizes. From shorter ones 10-12 meters tall, and larger ones around 30-40 meters in height.

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse

They could be around 120-130 feet in height. The concept of lighthouses was realized long ago. Lighthouses were built around the 16th century.

The most brilliant example of this is the Eddy Stone rock, found south of the English channel. A lot of ships would end up colliding with the Eddy Stone rock.

Ships would end up sinking, sometimes even along with their cargo. English ships weren’t the only ones getting destroyed that way, in fact, the ships entering and leaving England were also affected.

(Video) what information is most important when passing near a lighthouse?

That was when the idea of a guiding structure came into existence. That way, ships would be able to see the Eddy Stone rock from afar.

That was when a lighthouse was erected near the rock, it was destroyed and rebuilt over the years, much like every other lighthouse.

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse

Now, you must be wondering what a lighthouse is. And how does it help a ship? How does it guide the ship towards safety? Is that even enough?

There could be shallow waters towards the left and right of the lighthouse. The answer to your first question is: A lighthouse is a tall structure.

There’s always a light at the top. Lighthouses are built in places that could be considered dangerous for ships.

Places dangerous enough to destroy ships, to cause them to sink. If the area is large (and dangerous)

the lighthouse is built taller to make it more visible. If it’s merely a rock, a shorter lighthouse would do.

The second deciding factor is the regional weather. If the weather is rough with 10-15 meter waves,

The lighthouse is supposed to be built taller than the maximum height of those waves. There’s always light at the top of a lighthouse.

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse

The lights come in different so people can tell lighthouses apart. There’s yellow, green, red, this helps onlookers differentiate one lighthouse from another.

The light has another characteristic called flashing and occulting. Flashing means a longer duration of darkness and a shorter duration of light.

Flashing is when a light turns on for 1 second every 5 seconds. The second characteristic is called occulting.

Occulting is considered the opposite of flashing. In occulting, the light duration lasts longer than the dark. If a light turns off for 1 second every 5 seconds it’s displaying an “occulting” characteristic.

Combining the light’s color and its property i.e., flashing or occulting gives a lighthouse a unique distinguishable light.

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So that’s what a lighthouse is, and why it’s built. Now, on to the next subject. How can one save their ship with the help of a lighthouse?

It isn’t necessary for shallow waters to be found around lighthouses. There could be shallow waters stretching for miles around them.

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse

Usually, the area around a lighthouse is shallow, with rocks and whatnot. So, what’s the point of a lighthouse? How do we save our ship with the help of a lighthouse?

There are many ways for lighthouses to save ships. I would like to tell you a few facts. The first thing you do when you see a lighthouse is identified it.

You determine its light and its properties. Now comes the next step. Saving our ship from the shallow waters.

One way is to take bearings we already know the lighthouse’s geographical location on the chart. We have our gyrocompass and our magnetic compass.

We take our bearing, determining the lighthouse’s angle against our ship. That through that bearing, we’re able to pass at a safe distance around the lighthouse.

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse

Now that we know about the lighthouse and the shallow area around it, we already have it marked on our chart.

We already have it written down, i.e., the area we have to steer clear of. We take the lighthouse’s bearings and safely pass it at a safe distance.

Not only does that save us from the area where the lighthouse is, but it also saves us from the shallow waters around the lighthouse.

That’s one way to save a ship, i.e., passing at a safe distance away from the lighthouse.

The second is: If we need to turn near a lighthouse, we determine a certain bearing around the lighthouse and observe it.

Once we reach that bearing, that angle, we can alter our course safely. That way our ship is safe from shallow waters.

So that’s the technique we use in those cases. There’s something called a clearing range in which we estimate a certain distance away from a lighthouse, e.g., 3 miles,

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We consider that a safe distance away from the lighthouse. We then mark a 3-mile circle around the lighthouse on the chart.

The lighthouse bearing in conjunction with your geographical position, helps us pass around the lighthouse at a safe distance.

By the way, there are some lighthouses that show a different colored light at a certain arc and that light color will change at a different arc.

I mean the light color is the same, but lenses are fit onto them so that mariners coming from opposite directions can see different colors and navigate their ships at a safe distance away from the lighthouse.

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse

Lighthouses are a great help during the daytime, too.

I’m sure most of you have studied maths. And those of you who remember 8-10 grade maths, can solve a right angle triangle problem.

Now we know where the lighthouse is. Its height starts from its base to its top,

let’s consider it to be 30 meters. If you use a sextant to measure the angle the lighthouse’s top makes with our ship,

we all know the angle at the base is 90 degrees. The top angle we determine by taking our bearing and we already know the angle from the base to the top.

That way we can easily solve the triangle and find out our ship’s distance from the lighthouse. That’s how you clear a ship from a lighthouse during the day.

There’s another technique derived from this technique where you determine the minimum distance to maintain the lighthouse.

You measure the angle from the top of the lighthouse again, and that helps you determine if you are at a safe distance from the lighthouse.

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse

And that’s yet another way you can clear your way from the lighthouse. Now in these scenarios, the lighthouse was off to the side, there could be cases where the lighthouse was right in front of a ship.

And then you spot the lighthouse. No need to worry. Every light at the top of a lighthouse also signifies how far it can be seen, i.e., it could be visible 6 miles, 8, 12 miles or so away.

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So even if it’s right in front of your ship, you can refer to your chart to know far it should’ve been visible to you.

This gives you a rough estimate of your distance away from land or the lighthouse. Then you can take appropriate action.

Here’s an interesting fact for you.

Before electronic aids navigation was universalized, when GPS wasn’t so common, when radars and Rasberry Pis weren’t so common;

radars and Rasberry Pis are still used in conjunction with the lighthouse, however, but back when these weren’t so common at all Visual ATON (aids to navigation) were very, very important.

And visual ATONs weren’t just limited to lighthouses, there were buoys, beacons, and rocks. Sometimes it would even be a mosque built on a piece of land,

it would be marked on the chart (even to this day). Cathedrals were also marked. They would have an idea of what the cathedral would look like from their vantage point. Sometimes even factories would be marked on charts.

That way people would know from their vantage point at sea how objects and buildings on land appeared to them.

The heights of rocks are also mentioned on the charts. even the heights of mountains a ship passes by are mentioned.

What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse

All these in conjunction with the sextant and the techniques we usually use, we still practice today, that’s what’s so interesting.

Even today, using these techniques in conjunction. we can still determine the position of our ships. Even if our electronic equipment fails,

we can use these aids for navigation to steer our ships. We still practice these techniques today. Not only that, we can even navigate during the day by looking at the sun.

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What information is most important when passing near a lighthouse is to know about water depth.

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What is the most important part of a lighthouse? ›

3 Lantern Room: The lantern room is the most important room in a lighthouse because that is where the lighthouse beacon (or light) is located. The walls of the lantern room are made of glass so the light can be seen at night.

What is the importance of lighthouses? ›

They serve to warn mariners of dangerous shallows and perilous rocky coasts, and they help guide vessels safely into and out of harbors. The messages of these long-trusted aids to navigation are simple: either STAY AWAY, DANGER, BEWARE! or COME THIS WAY!

What do ships do when they see a lighthouse? ›

They serve to warn the sailor of dangerous reefs beneath the sea or perilous rocky coasts on land, and to guide ships into a safe harbor or back out to sea. So the message of the light-house might be — STAY AWAY, DANGER, BEWARE, or COME THIS WAY. Every lighthouse tells the mariner, “This is exactly where you are.”

How do lighthouses warn? ›

Most lighthouses also include fog signals such as horns, bells or cannons, which sound to warn ships of hazards during periods of low visibility. The second purpose is to serve as a reference to mariners.

What parts do lighthouses need? ›

Wooden towers were generally timber frame construction covered with sheathing and clapboards or shingles. All other lighthouse components such as door and window surrounds, cornices, deck railings, decking, doors and windows were also constructed of wood.

What do you call someone who keeps a lighthouse? ›

A lighthouse keeper or lightkeeper is a person responsible for tending and caring for a lighthouse, particularly the light and lens in the days when oil lamps and clockwork mechanisms were used. Lighthouse keepers were sometimes referred to as "wickies" because of their job trimming the wicks.

What is lighthouse Accessibility? ›

Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. You can run it against any web page, public or requiring authentication. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, SEO and more.

What do all lighthouses have in common? ›

A lighthouse is a tall building that has a light near the top. Lighthouses are built on the coast of an ocean or lake. The lighthouse protects ships from crashing into shore by sending the light out towards the sea. The light usually turns in a circle so that ships see a flashing light.

Did you know facts about lighthouses? ›

Lighthouse Facts
  • The first known lighthouse was the Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt. ...
  • The oldest existing lighthouse in the world is considered to be La Coruna in Spain that dates from ca. ...
  • The first lighthouse in America was at Boston on Little Brewster Island (1716).

Do ships pay to pass lighthouses? ›

Light dues are the charges levied on ships for the maintenance of lighthouses and other aids to navigation.

What are 3 duties a lighthouse keeper? ›

Clean, paint, and repair all buildings on the light station when needed. Maintain all mechanical equipment at the light station. Maintain lighthouse log book and record all daily light station activities. Take weather readings every day and record in log book.

What is the walkway at the top of a lighthouse called? ›

Catwalk: A narrow elevated walkway, allowing the keeper access to light towers built out in the water.

Do lighthouses flash Morse code? ›

Some lighthouses are also equipped with radio beacons that transmit Morse code radio signals. These radio signals, which are distinguished by short (dot) and long (dash) combinations, have a range of up to 320 km (200 mi).

Why does a lighthouse flash red? ›

The colors that are used, are conform to the IALA Maritime Buoyage system that is designed by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities: white - this sector is in the middle of the safe channel. red - indicates the port edge of the channel for vessels approaching the light source.

Why do lighthouses beep? ›

The term is most often used in relation to marine transport. When visual navigation aids such as lighthouses are obscured, foghorns provide an audible warning of rock outcrops, shoals, headlands, or other dangers to shipping.

What are the features of a lighthouse? ›

Key features of a lighthouse:

Lighthouses are located next to the sea or a lake. Lighthouses have tall towers. Lighthouses have a bright light at the top of the tower to help sailors see and stop them crashing into the shore. Lighthouses use fog horns or radio signals when the weather is bad.

Do people sleep in lighthouses? ›

Opportunities to stay at a lighthouse include:

A former lighthouse or keeper's quarters which has been converted into a traditional B&B providing overnight accommodations and breakfast. Some may include dinner (e.g.. East Brothers Lighthouse).

What is a lighthouse window called? ›

The lantern is that portion of the top of a lighthouse tower that encloses the lens. Often the lantern (in the old days it was called a Lanthorn) is a metal and glass room that surmounts a brick, masonry or wooden tower.

Are there any lighthouse keepers left? ›

Today, all lighthouses in the United States are automated, with the exception of the Boston Light, in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. A law was passed in 1989 requiring that the Boston Light remain manned, so a keeper remains there today.

What is the first duty of a lighthouse keeper? ›

The duty of a lighthouse keeper was primarily to watch the light; or to 'keep a good light' as the rules and regulations stated.

What is the most important job of a lighthouse keeper? ›

A lighthouse keeper is a maritime professional who helps guide boaters on the water and prevents shipwrecks. They're responsible for the upkeep of the lighthouse tower, lights, mechanisms and grounds.

What are the four types of accessibility? ›

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are organized by four main principles, which state that content must be POUR: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.

What are the 5 audit categories in Lighthouse? ›

The audits offered by Lighthouse are grouped into five optimization categories: Performance, Best Practices, Accessibility, SEO and Progressive Web Apps. Users can select one, more or all five categories, depending on which aspects of their website they wish to analyze.

How can lighthouse accessibility be improved? ›

Only a subset of accessibility issues can be automatically detected by Lighthouse so manually testing is encouraged.
  1. Ensure all elements have sufficient contrast ratio. ...
  2. Use Tabindex to improve experience for Keyboard Users. ...
  3. Add a title element. ...
  4. Add a "lang" attribute to. ...
  5. Order heading elements properly.
7 Dec 2020

What do the colors on a lighthouse mean? ›

Lighthouses are painted differently to help mariners identify them during the day. For example, a lighthouse may be painted all white if its surroundings/background is dark. The red and white stripes help the mariner identify the lighthouse if it's up against a white background, such as cliffs or rocks.

What does a green light on a lighthouse mean? ›

Green- Often used to identify safe waters. Green is also used to identify the port (left) side of a channel.

What are two ways in which lighthouses may be different from one another? ›

Although we often think of a lighthouse as a tall, white conical tower, there are many, many variations of design. Depending on its location, it might be tall (where the land was very flat) or short and squat (where there was a high cliff or rocky coast).

Why do lighthouses flash? ›

Most lighthouses rhythmically flash or eclipse their lights to provide an identification signal. The particular pattern of flashes or eclipses is known as the character of the light, and the interval at which it repeats itself is called the period.

How do lighthouses identify themselves? ›

Lighthouses are painted differently to help identification of them by the mariner during the day. For example, a lighthouse may be painted all white if its surroundings/background is dark, such as fields or woodland. This will help it stand out from its background.

How much money do lighthouse operators make? ›

As of Nov 4, 2022, the average annual pay for a Lighthouse in the United States is $37,245 a year.

How much do you get paid to run a lighthouse? ›

The average Lighthouse Keeper in the US makes $46,172. Lighthouse Keepers make the most in Los Angeles, CA at $46,172, averaging total compensation 0% greater than the US average.

Who pays for the Lighthouse problem? ›

They were financed by private people, they were built by private people, they were operated by the people who had the rights to the lighthouses, which they could bequeath to others and sell.

Can a woman be a lighthouse keeper? ›

American women have tended lighthouses since colonial times. Hannah Thomas became the United States' first woman lighthouse keeper in 1776 after taking over the duties of her husband, John, during his service in the Revolutionary War.

How much did lighthouse keepers get paid? ›

A salary of $130,000 and your own island is probably most people's idea of heaven, but life as East Brother Light Station's keepers is far from relaxing.

What do lighthouse keepers eat? ›

Eggers pointed out that actual lighthouse keepers—or "wickies," in the parlance of the time—would have likely been eating more varied meals. “The Lighthouse Keepers' Manual gives them 200 pounds of pork, 100 pounds of beef, and also some rice and beans or peas,” he said.

How do you navigate by a lighthouse? ›

Specifically, a second light, say a different colour light located at the top of the lighthouse, briefly flashes every time the main beam faces north. Navigators could then measure the delay between the two flashes to determine their line of direction from the lighthouse.

How many steps lead to the top of the lighthouse? ›

For one reason or another, I have spent most of the summer and well into the fall looking at, photographing, and climbing, or at least thinking about climbing, the 199 steps that lead to the tippy-top of the lighthouse watch gallery.

How far can you see from the top of a lighthouse? ›

Assuming a light at a height of 100 feet (30.5 metres), the range to an observer at 15 feet above the horizon will be about 16 nautical miles (29.6 km). This is known as the geographic range of the light.

What does 3 blinks mean in Morse code? ›

The three blinking dots are Morse code that mean “count the sirens” and there are 3 so far that I've seen : r/borderlands3. Advertisement.

What does 7 dots mean in Morse code? ›

The space between elements which form the same letter is equal to one dot. The space between two letters is equal to three dots. The space between two words is equal to seven dots.

How do you tap SOS in Morse code with fingers? ›

Here's an example: SOS . . . - - - . . . can be sent by paddling thumb and holding for three dots, index finger for three dashes, and thumb for three dots. That's only three presses with the paddle for the complete word, versus nine presses on a traditional Morse key!

How many times does a lighthouse flash? ›

lighthouse regulations

This is known as a flashing light. Alternatively, it may exhibit groups of two, three, or four flashes, with a short eclipse between individual flashes and a long eclipse of several seconds between successive groups. The whole pattern is repeated at regular intervals of 10 or 20 seconds.

What does it mean when you flash your porch light? ›

A flashing or blinking porch light is a sign of distress during an emergency. A person will attempt to attract an ambulance, fire truck, or police car by flashing their front lights. This prevents emergency vehicles from having to look for an address, making them able to arrive faster.

What does a lighthouse symbolize? ›

Lighthouses have traditionally been viewed as symbols of hope and security. As beacons of light, they provide guidance for safe passage to sailors and protect not only their lives but the land nearby.

Why do lighthouses have two lights? ›

For example, a lighthouse might emit two flashes every three seconds to distinguish it from a lighthouse that emits four flashes every three seconds.

Why did lighthouse keepers get mercury poisoning? ›

Toxic Mercury

The multifaceted lens turning at a set speed made the light flash. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the lens was usually set on wheels or bearings and attached to clockworks, which the keeper would periodically wind. In the 1890s, some keepers began floating their lenses in liquid mercury.

What is the constant noise in the lighthouse? ›

— initially only through sound. The Lighthouse's opening shot is an intentionally disorienting slow materialization through thick north Atlantic fog; a long blast, repeated, is haltingly identified as a foghorn.

What are the key features of a lighthouse? ›

Key features of a lighthouse:

Lighthouses are located next to the sea or a lake. Lighthouses have tall towers. Lighthouses have a bright light at the top of the tower to help sailors see and stop them crashing into the shore. Lighthouses use fog horns or radio signals when the weather is bad.

What makes a lighthouse a lighthouse? ›

A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of physical structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and to serve as a beacon for navigational aid, for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.

What is lighthouse short answer? ›

A lighthouse is a tower containing a powerful flashing lamp that is built on the coast or on a small island. Lighthouses are used to guide ships or to warn them of danger.

How far can a lighthouse light be seen? ›

Assuming a light at a height of 100 feet (30.5 metres), the range to an observer at 15 feet above the horizon will be about 16 nautical miles (29.6 km). This is known as the geographic range of the light.

Are lighthouse keepers still a thing? ›

In fact, with the exception of seasonal volunteers and educational guides, there are hardly any lighthouse keepers left on the planet. The UK's last custodian left his post at the North Foreland Lighthouse in Kent in 1998 – the same year, the US Coast Guard automated the last of its 279 federally run beacons.

What were lighthouse keepers paid? ›

The salaries of Lighthouse Keepers in the US range from $26,400 to $60,350 , with a median salary of $48,520 .


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