Covehead Harbour Lighthouse


Status: Active
GPS Coordinates: 46 25 48.2N 63 08 35.3W on Cape Stanhope
LOL number: 1051
Date Built: 1975

Electrification and De-staffing Dates: Always was electrified and never was staffed.
Nominal Range: 11 nautical miles
Focal Height: 11 meters 36 ft
Light: White Flashing light
Flash Pattern: Flash 0.5 seconds Eclipse 4.5 seconds seasonal
Tower height: 8.2 meters   26'9" ft

Driving Directions:

 

North Shore

Central Coastal Drive - PEI MAP - D - 9

From Route 6, south of Stanhope, take Route 25 (Bayshore Road) north into town until it ends. Turn left onto Gulf Shore Parkway, and the Covehead Harbour Lighthouse will be on your right after a short distance on Cape Stanhope at the entrance to Covehead Bay in the Prince Edward Island National Park.

Grounds open - tower closed.


Description:

The present lighthouse is one of the smallest on the Island. It is a squared tapered tower, 8.2m (26.8 feet) high, base to vane. The pressure treated cedar siding which was installed in 1994 is painted white. The windows and door have decorative pediments, trimmed red. A simple deck with red metal railings surrounds the upper portion of the tower. It is supported by unique wooden brackets. The corner casings are also painted red and add to the pleasing appearance of this lighthouse.

The fog horn which is located on the lantern, is maintained by the local harbour authority. It points due north 005 degrees and, when needed, sounds a three-second blast followed by twenty-seven seconds of silence. The use of all fog alarms was  discontinued around 2000.            

It features a 100 year old bull's eye Fresnel Lens which was formerly used at Dalhousie, New Brunswick.


Historic Data:

The 1893 Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries gives the following description of the Covehead Range Lights:

"The arrangement of the range lights at the entrance to this harbour has been changed. The front light is now close to the edge of the sand beach at the entrance to the harbour. It is elevated 18 feet above high water mark, and is a fixed white light, shown from a lantern hoisted on a mast 17 feet high, and visible over three miles from all points of approach. The back light is located 225 feet S.W. from the front one. It is also fixed white, elevated 25 feet above high water mark, and is visible three miles from all points of approach. The lantern is hoisted on a mast 27 feet high. The position of the light is liable to be moved to suit the changes in the channel, and only 3 feet can be depended on at low water on the bar. "

Though there had been range lights on this site since 1879, the first Covehead Lighthouse, a three-sided structure, was not built until1967. It was located at Red Point.

In 1975, the site of the lighthouse was moved to its current location and the first lighthouse was replaced by the current one.       

On the side of the lighthouse there is a plaque which commemorates the Yankee Gale which caused the loss of eighty boats and 161 lives.               

This is a direct quote from the plaque:

                                         " The Gale of 1851

The forenoon had been particularly balmy. Schooners had sailed into the shallow waters in search of Mackerel and Cod, but darkness found the vessels trapped in the stillness close to land. Theses was no breeze to carry them offshore. That evening a strong wind blew from the northeast. By midnight it had raged into a powerful gale.
For several days the wind and waves gathered strength. On the morning of the fourth day, the sea subsided. Battered ships were strewn along the north shore. Bodies of sailors and fishermen were entangled amongst the wreckage.

  Many men were buried here in Prince Edward Island. Their graves are a silent reminder of the changing moods of the sea."

 


Keepers:

This lighthouse has always been electrified so has never had any light keepers.

Historically, though, back in 1879 there were two men who were keepers of the two masts that opperated as ranges.

Earnest Mc Millan served as keeper for the inner (rear) range.

John McCabe served as keeper for the outer (front) range light.


Current Owners/ Operators:

Government of Canada. The Friends of Covehead Light has submitted a petition for ownership through the Parks Canada Heritage Lighthouse Program.

Last Updated: December 7, 2013