Lighthouses, essential navigation guides

Lighthouses, essential navigation guides

Heritage & Traditions

CubaPLUS Magazine

Every August 7, World Lighthouses Day is celebrated with the aim of recognizing and disseminating the importance they have for maritime signaling because, forever, they have been the essential guides for boats at night and before inclement weather such as storms.

Initially, the celebration was established at the initiative of the United States, as National Lighthouse Day, to commemorate the signing of the Law for the Establishment and Support of Lighthouses, Beacons, Buoys and Public Docks approved by Congress in 1789 and, subsequently, numerous countries adhered to the remembrance as World Day.

The oldest lighthouse in the world is that of Alexandria, Egypt, built about 2,400 years ago, with an approximate altitude of about 100 meters, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, whose ruins are today in the port of that city.

There are several famous lighthouses on the planet, including the 100-year-old Peggys Point Lighthouse in Canada; Dedalus Reef Lighthouse in Egypt, built in 1831; Hercules Lighthouse in Spain, from the 1st century and Creac'h Lighthouse, Ouessant Island in France, from 1863. Cuba, as an island, has about 40 lighthouses throughout its territory, some of which were built as a security measure to facilitate the passage of ships in channels or places with dangerous access.

 Among the best known Cuban lighthouses is the Castillo del Morro, at the entrance to the bay of Havana with a focal height of 44 meters and which shows two white flashes every 15 seconds; the Punta de Maisí, at the eastern end of the island, with a height of 37.2 meters and built with stones taken from the coast where it is located.

The one at Cabo de San Antonio, named "Faro Roncali", at the western end of the largest of the Antilles, with 22.5 meters and two light emissions every 10 seconds, and the one at Morro de Santiago de Cuba, located inside the Castle of San Pedro de la Roca built in 1842. Advances in technology have made it possible for current navigation to be assisted by satellite, which is why many people may think that lighthouses have lost importance within the activity.

However, they are still important and, it is considered, they will never stop working, since the techniques can fail at some point for various reasons and, then, the lighthouse will be there as a faithful friend of sailors to guide them to their destination without danger of capsizing.