New Led Beacons for the Gibraltar Trinity Lighthouse
by Gibraltar Rock Tours
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Gibraltar Rock Tours had the great honor to be pre booked by Trinity House UK, and on 15 th March this year we provided an all day service for the Directors and the Engineers. I must add that we worked under extreme gale force 9 storm winds that day !!!
The service we provided included transfers to and from the Trinity Lighthouse at Europa Point to the University of Gibraltar.
It was certainly a day to remember, I calculated a total of 4 hrs of driving to and from the lighthouse and the University. The Impressive waves that day crashed against the cliffs in the Area and beyond. It was to be quite honest a bit of a nightmare, only weather wise though, I was extremely pleased to have got the job done, even though I was drenched to the bone that day, I felt like I had stepped of a ship by the end of day and not a my vehicle.
Even enduring the awful weather, couldn’t dampen the experience, as I had an unforgettable day, not only for the dreadful winds and salty waves drenching me but because of it’s uniqueness, i must say I feel extremely privileged at having had a one to one private tour of the Lighthouse by the Trinity engineer. It was such a great experience to visit and go right to the top to the newly installed led lantern and see the breathtaking views of the storm below, a visit to the Lighthouse is a very rare thing in Gibraltar as it’s strictly closed to the public.
It brought back great memories as I have been very lucky to have visited once before about 40 years ago on my Middle school daytrip.
Here is a load of interesting information on the Lighthouse…… by Johnny Lopez
Europa Point Lighthouse
Europa Point Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1841 at the southernmost point of Gibraltar, the gateway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean
Height of Tower 20 m
Height of light above Mean High Water 49 m
Electrified 1956 (Re-engineered 2016)
Lamp 1-Tier White LED Lantern
Character Iso W 10s
Intensity 72216 candela (peak)
Range of light 18 NM
Responsibility for the lighthouse—a landfall and waypoint for vessels passing through the Strait—was vested in Trinity House by an Act of Parliament of 1838 and under the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 the Corporation became the General Lighthouse Authority for Gibraltar.
Europa Point Lighthouse was first lit in 1841 and initially a fixed light was exhibited by a single wick oil lamp augmented by a dioptric fixed lens and catoptric mirrors. In 1864 an improved light was exhibited, a Chance Brothers four wick burner with new lens and a red arc incorporated to cover the Pearl Rock, a dangerous group of pinnacle rocks on the western side of the entrance to Gibraltar Bay. In 1875 the light was improved again with a four wick mineral oil burner installed.
In 1894 the power of the light was increased with a Douglass eight wick burner and the character changed from fixed to occulting. A new lantern was fitted with the power of the new light being 35,000 candelas. An explosive fog signal was also installed at this time with a character of two reports in quick succession every five minutes. In 1905 a new light source was installed, a triple incandescent mantle burner. This was replaced in 1923 by the Hood petroleum vapour burner with a single mantle.
Extensive structural alterations were carried out from 1954 to 1956 and the optical apparatus modernised by the introduction of an electrically operated lighting system. A revolving lens system of much greater power was installed for the main light and a subsidiary light was installed below the main optic to give a fixed red light over the Pearl Rock in addition to the red sector of the main light that already marked this hazard. The height of the tower was raised by six feet in order to accommodate the subsidiary light apparatus over the service room.
Automation of Europa Point Lighthouse was completed in February 1994. The existing optic was retained and fitted with a three position lampchanger. The air fog signal was replaced by an electric system, a single directional 500 Hz emitter stack mounted on the lantern gallery.
The lighthouse was re-engineered in 2016, along with the discontinuation of the Fog Signal and Subsidiary Light. The rotating optic was removed and replaced with two LED lanterns, positioned one above the other to provide a Main Light and a Standby Light arrangement, both achieving the Navigational requirements.
Other improvements to the station included the installation of lightning protection, increased battery capacity to maintain the station’s aids to navigation in the event of a power failure and renewal of all electrical systems. The historical optic is now on display at the University of Gibraltar.
The lighthouse’s aids to navigation and other systems are monitored and controlled from Trinity House’s Planning Centre in Harwich, Essex.
Gibraltar’s Trinity Lighthouse has been fitted with modern LED beacons capable of beaming light 18 nautical miles out to sea.
Trinity House, the General Lighthouse Authority responsible for the operation of Europa Point, said the new equipment unveiled yesterday is expected to last more than 20 years.
The Gibraltar Trinity Lighthouse is the most southerly Lighthouse of Trinity’s 66 Lighthouses across the UK, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar.
The works over the past few months have included the removal of the 60 year old rotating optic now replaced by new technology and two LED lanterns. It is this historical optic – the Second Order optic – which was yesterday presented to the University of Gibraltar, which is now in its lobby for all to see.