Lighthouses & Ships


Where are lighthouses located?

They can be found in a variety of places, on rocky cliffs or sandy shoals on land, on a waveswept reef in the sea, and at entrances to harbors and bays. 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 lighthouse might be --STAY AWAY, DANGER, BEWARE, or COME THIS WAY. Every lighthouse tells the mariner, "This is exactly where you are."

Tillamook Rock, OR

Fire Island, NY

Minot's Ledge, MA

Cleveland, OH

Our country has several coastlines used by ships from around the world. In the East it borders the Atlantic Ocean, in the West the Pacific Ocean, and in the South the Gulf of Mexico. But we also have another very important area of coastline where the land meets the sea, the Great Lakes. So, all of these four areas bordering our country need and have lighthouses, as well as some of our more important navigable inland waterways. For example, the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Chesapeake Bay and San Francisco Bay are also dotted with lighthouses.

Saugerties, NY

Crown Point, NY

Drum Point, MD

Alcatraz, CA

The U.S. Lighthouse Society originally designed this packet to furnish teachers with basic information about lighthouses, their purpose, history, operation and technology in a form presentable to young students. with the society's permission the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office is posting this modified version with additional photographs and information.

The U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office would like to thank Mr. Wayne Wheeler and the other members of The U.S. Lighthouse Society who produced and distributed the original version of this curriculum.

For more information on lighthouses, teachers and students should contact The U.S. Lighthouse Society, 244 Kearny Street, San Francisco, Ca 94108 or consult the lighthouse web pages on The U.S. Coast Guard Historian's web site.