The Great Fish Point Lighthouse celebrated 122 years of service on 1 July 2020. The day also marked World Marine Aids to Navigation Day.

Great Fish Point Lighthouse is one of 45 active lighthouses operated and managed by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), and it is one of few with a lightkeeper. Martin Peterson, a second-generation lightkeeper, and Mzwamadoda Siyazi look after the day-to-day maintenance of the lighthouse, the surrounding buildings and the extensive grounds. They also welcome visitors to climb the tower, and host guests at the two self-catering cottages on the grounds*.

The Great Fish Point Lighthouse stands 85 metres above sea level and 800 metres from the beach, due to the prevailing drift sands. The 9-metre octagonal masonry tower is painted with vertical black and white stripes and has a white lantern house with red dome. The revolving electric light produces one flash every 10 seconds that can be seen 55 kilometres out to sea.

World Marine Aids to Navigation Day was established by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), the only international body concerned with the provision of marine aids to navigation systems at sea and on inland waterways. South Africa, represented by TNPA, is a founder member of IALA and was re-elected to serve on the Council for the period 2018-2022. *The lighthouse and accommodation are currently closed due to COVID-19.

Great Fish Point Lighthouse. Port Alfred
Great Fish Point Lighthouse. Port Alfred

Some more information about Great Fish Point Lighthouse:

Latitude: 33o 31.2’ S

Longitude: 27o 06.5’ E

Date commissioned: 1 July 1898

Architect/builder: Constructed by Messrs McAllister, Murray and Ross

Primary structure/material of construction: Octagonal masonry tower painted with alternative vertical black and white stripes, white lantern house with red dome

Height of tower: 9 metres

Height of focal plane: 85 metres above sea level

Optic: 1st Order, 2-panel Chance Brothers dioptric rotating lens system equipped with a 400-watt metal halide lamp

Character of light: One flash every 10 seconds

Intensity of light: 5 000 000 candelas

Range of light: 30 nautical miles