In cooperation with the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), the U.S. Lighthouse Society is pleased to present this unique resource to those interested in lighthouse conservation.
Originally published 2006
Lighthouses, the Sentinels of the Sea, have inspired poetry, prose, paintings. These Lighthouses formed a global network for the safety of the mariner long before globalization. The lighthouse keepers have been romanticized in books and poetry such as ‘The Lighthouse Keeper Wonders’ by Edgar Guest.
is now to be run by a set of gears…
…And I wonder now-will the grass stay green?
Will the brass stay bright and the windows clean?
IALA has its roots in the requirements and technology for lighthouses – indeed it is an organization that was born to serve the needs of lighthouse authorities. Although discussion on the possible formation of an association for heads of lighthouse and marking services began in 1926, the organization formally began taking shape in 1955, and the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) was formally established on July 1st, 1957.
Through the years the emphasis on lighthouses and marking has changed. Modern technology provides effective and cost efficient means of guiding ships safely into ports through a smorgasbord of technologies – and IALA has adapted to provide guidance on these changes. Now known as the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities, IALA continues to provide a forum for information exchange, and a focus for harmonizing all aspects of marine aids to navigation.
In 1996 IALA established the Panel for the Preservation of Historic Lighthouses, Aids to Navigation and Related Equipment – the PHL. This panel met throughout the years, organizing a workshop in Kristiansand, Norway in May 2000 to look specifically at the challenges and options of preserving historic lighthouses by alternative use. In 2002 the membership of the PHL was absorbed into the IALA Engineering, Environment and Preservation Committee (EEP) and continued its work. Through the years, the membership has recognized that the challenges in the conservation and maintenance of lighthouses are not limited to ‘historic’ lighthouses, but to all navigational structures.
The IALA Conservation Manual is the result of many years of work by the members of the PHL and later the working group of the EEP Committee. It sets out, in a workbook format, guidelines for the conservation and alternative use of historic lighthouses. I recommend the effort of the persons involved in developing this manual, as it is a tribute to the dedication and devotion of professionals, already very busy in their own organisations, to the conservation of these ‘Maritime Icons’ for future generations.