keep the red on your right

A navigation beacon, a single oil lamp, was first erected here at the point of the South End peninsula in 1842. Then in 1847, it was replaced with this triple gas lampstand, known as the Three Sisters. It was refurbished in 1997.

Apparently the red colour facing the sea was visible for three miles from shore — a helpful aid in fog or dark. When coming into harbour from the Bay of Fundy, sailors would chart their course from the Three Sisters. The colour red shows the starboard limit of a channel, so they would know to keep red lamps on their right. If they could see all three red lamps, sailors would know they were heading straight into the harbour, however if only one or two could be seen, sailors knew they needed to change course. The street-side is white, so it guess it doubled as a regular streetlight.

In this photo, you can barely see a cruise ship docked in the foggy harbour. I’m glad these huge boats don’t have to rely on the Three Sisters to guide them into port!

Taken on July 11, 2009


4 thoughts on “keep the red on your right

  1. Those are very interesting lights. I don’t recall ever seeing red used in this way.
    But… I’m confused. Don’t you keep red to your left? I recall learning “There’s no good Red Port Left in the world” as a memory jog.

    • Well, I wonder if that is for a boating channel, or on your way out of the harbour. Here’s a short excerpt from the Canadian Coast Guard Pleasure Craft Operator Course (
      The traditional 3R rule states: Red Right Returning, which means when returning to harbour or going upstream keep red marks on the right hand side; when leaving harbour or going downstream, the red marks are kept on the left side. This is why buoys must be read in conjunction with charts; a nautical chart will show you the flow of the river/lake so you know when your craft is travelling upstream or downstream.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s