Lighthouses of the Salish Sea


lighthousesThe future of light houses

Technology has a way of making things obsolete, for instance, do you remember how fast mp3 players and iPods were wiped off the shelves when smart phones came into the picture? Advances in technology are all well and good but the problem is modern technology has a habit of failing, when technology fails on something as critical as ship navigation a lot is left on the line.

Let’s assume that you operate a large vessel and the GPS, radar or radio fails during a storm, what is the best way to navigate your vessel safely to shore? The obvious answer is a lighthouse. The issue is light houses are quickly becoming a thing of the past, most light houses today in British Columbia are passing on to private hands and others are simply not working. This simply means you will have problems at sea.

Is there a future for lighthouses?

As it stands the future of lighthouses is not that bright, in some countries such as Germany lighthouses have been shut down completely. New advances in marine navigation technology have rendered light houses almost useless; look at it this way, mariners can use radar, GPS, radio or even AIS.

The biggest issue with these technologies is they only appeal to large commercial vessels, this means that people who own smaller vessels have to learn to use these gadgets effectively which most don’t. What I am trying to say is even if you have the latest modern technology out there and you don’t know how to use it, it becomes useless to you.

A light house is a physical thing; you don’t have to take special classes to learn how to use a light house. All you have to do is look for one and figure out where you are. it therefore makes sense to leave lighthouses running for people who own smaller vessels and emergencies.

Keep up with technology

If you talk to mariners today it won’t take long for you to figure out that lighthouses have already become obsolete. look at it this way, there are advancements in marine navigation that allow mariners to plot out maps of the sea bed, and beside if one fails you can always rely on the other (always carry a backup navigation device).

Keep this in mind, a visual marker is always better than anything you see on screen and it is also free of charge, this means that as a mariner it is in your best interest to learn how to use light houses and buoys to plot your routes just in case.

For the love of light houses

Today most light houses are being converted to homes and historical centers; there is also a love affair that photographers have with light houses. You will find them on book covers, behind inspirational quotes on website banners and even in movies, or if you take a whale watching tour you will see a whole bunch, therefore, I think that lighthouses will remain as remainders of a time gone by when things were simpler and life was slow. Now, I am not saying that light houses don’t have a future all I’m saying is their future is uncertain we just have to wait and see.