Lighthouses are one of the traditional necessities in maritime navigation. They were tower houses which shone light from an installed system, with the intent of showing vessel navigators dangerous areas, that they needed to avoid. These included reefs and shoals, as well as indicating areas where ships could get into harbours safely.
Location and Operation
Usually, lighthouses were located on top of the reefs which they were meant to indicate. They could also be built on nearby islands, from where they were easily visible from vessels passing by.
The houses were operated by turning lights on and off to send out different messages. The person in charge of controlling lights in the tower house was known as a keeper.
Besides safety indication, lighthouses were also used as residential apartments. Mainly they were used by people involved in maritime activities such as pilots and ship crew.
Decline in Use
As maritime technology evolved, the use of lighthouses became less and less popular. For one, the lighting systems in these houses were expensive and inefficient to maintain. They needed to have back up power sources in case the electricity supply failed and could cause massive inconvenience if they broke down.
Also, technology saw the introduction of new systems which could be used to navigate even dangerous areas with more efficiency. Today, they have been entirely replaced by GPS navigation, and just stand as monuments in maritime regions.
Lighthouses also acted as stops where an ailing crew could be taken care of as their ships entered the harbour. Not anymore though. Just like lighthouses have become obsolete as navigation guides, so has their use as stopovers for medical care.
Today, people make contact with professionals such as livi medical from aboard ships without going ashore. With a GP that can be accessed online with just the tap of phone screen, crew and other people at sea can get real time advice regarding the issues they face. This is professional advice from an experienced team of doctors, which sinks lighthouses further down the pecking order of important maritime infrastructure.
Every single lighthouse, (there are around 18000 of them in the world), has its own unique design. However, some are more famous than others due to their grandness and design.
The Pharos Lighthouse in Alexandria, Egypt, was the most famous lighthouse of the olden age. The house built in 280 BC was huge and illuminated one of the most popular commerce destinations.
The 109-meter tall Yokohama lighthouse in Japan is the tallest lighthouse in the world, while Hibre Island (3m tall) is considered the smallest. However, controversy sometimes arises in the definition of a lighthouse. Huge monuments such as the Jeddah Tower and the Statue of Liberty, which are lit and visible from maritime locations are sometimes regarded as lighthouses. These, thus, would be famous for their height alone.
A small lighthouse is in no way inferior to a huge one. This is because its primary purpose is to guide vessels, and size is determined merely by the height of land on which it is built.