Bi-monthly public tours to Raffles Lighthouse to begin in February
Previously opened to the public only once a year, Singapore's second-oldest lighthouse will now receive guests on a regular basis.
Members of the public can now book guided tours to the lighthouse, organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and conducted by tour operator Lion Heartlanders.
Transport Minister S. Iswaran, who visited the lighthouse on Saturday (Jan 29) for the launch of the tours, said they are meant to introduce more Singaporeans to the maritime sector and Singapore's maritime heritage.
He was joined on the inaugural tour by 14 students enrolled in maritime-related courses in institutes of higher learning.
In particular, Mr Iswaran said he hoped the tours would reach out to a younger generation of Singaporeans so they could learn about employment opportunities in the maritime sector.
The five-hour tours set off from Marina South Pier, where visitors will be taken through MPA's Singapore Maritime Gallery.
They will then take a 75-minute ferry ride to Pulau Satumu, where Raffles Lighthouse is located. An audio tour during the ferry ride introduces visitors to ports located along the route, such as those at Tanjong Pagar and Pulau Brani.
Participants are also taught aids to navigation and various vessel types during the ride.
At Pulau Satumu, visitors can climb a flight of 88 steps leading to the top of the lighthouse, where they can enjoy a panoramic view.
Among the students on Saturday's tour was Singapore Management University undergraduate Samuel Poh, 24.
Mr Poh, who majors in international trading and maritime business operations, said he could better appreciate Singapore's strategic position as a maritime hub through the tour.
"It's interesting to see how Singapore has always had a long-term plan for its ports, and that its position as one of the world's leading ports was meticulously planned for," he said.
Built using granite from Pulau Ubin's quarries, Raffles Lighthouse has been in operation since November 1855.
Located on Singapore's southernmost island, the 29m-tall structure marks the spot when ships leaving the Singapore Strait should turn right into the Strait of Malacca, and is among five lighthouses managed by MPA today.
The other four are Horsburgh Lighthouse - Singapore's oldest, operational since 1851 - on Pedra Branca, Sultan Shoal Lighthouse, Pulau Pisang Lighthouse and Bedok Lighthouse. They are all out of bounds to the public, owing to security concerns.
Raffles Lighthouse's beam, which flashes thrice every 20 seconds, can be seen from as far as 37km away, depending on weather conditions.
Tours to the lighthouse, located about 23km from mainland Singapore, will be held every second and fourth Saturday of each month, and can be booked at MPA's website.
For participants' safety, only those aged 18 and above will be allowed on the tour.
A standard ticket is priced at $62.71, inclusive of booking fees. It costs $34.70 for students with a valid student pass issued by a Singapore-based institution.