If you have ever gone to the seaside, the chances are high that you have seen one of these beacons before. However, have you ever actually wondered what they are really used for? The answer to this question is relatively simple.
The main reason why these tall towers are built, is to inform passing ships of dangers in the area. Beacons are usually constructed to indicate to sailors that there are hazardous rock formations in the water. They also mark the beginning of inlets, and will sometimes be placed to show the end of a jetty. Initially, these beacons were built to indicate to the crew on ships where their position was, in relation to the land during the night time. These lights could also be used to send short messages to passing travellers in the form of flashes of light used as morse code. As technology has progressed, this is no longer the sole function of these buildings.
Another function which these towers performed, was to provide a home to the keeper of the beacon. Then, when ships would run aground or wreck, someone would be there to provide them with assistance and much-needed shelter. However, as more and more of these towers became automated, this profession went into extinction. Now stranded sailors are provided with support from professionals who are trained in the art of sea rescue.
The real reason that beacons were built was to provide a sense of safety and guidance to the boats and ships travelling through dangerous waters in the darkness of night.