The daymark of Iso-Kraaseli guides traffic into the city of Raahe

The island of Iso-Kraaseli is located in the Bay of Bothnia, off the city of Raahe and about three kilometres offshore. The city of Raahe was founded by Count Per Brahe the Younger in 1649 to promote commerce. Even from the time of its founding, shipping was an important part of the city’s life.

Entrance ship lane to Raahe from 1858.

The city was granted the right to conduct international trade in 1791, which led to an increase in both commerce and maritime traffic. Three sea lanes led into the city’s harbour, and a daymark beacon and pilot station were built on the island of Iso-Kraaseli, just off the coast of Raahe City.

Over the years, the old nautical markings became rotten, and eventually a new day beacon was built in 1852. The completed daymark consisted of a unique wooden tower with one red side and one white side.

Together with the church tower of Raahe City, the Iso-Kraaseli Daymark formed a navigational alignment for ships on the fairway leading into the Port of Raahe. It also formed a functional pair of nautical signs with the Tasku Daymark.

The Iso-Kraaseli Daymark and fences.

Pilot operations on Iso-Kraaseli Island

Beside the day beacon was a two-storey pilot's cabin with a low observation tower on the roof. From there, the pilots could follow the ships with binoculars and telescopes. To facilitate good views around the entire pilot station, all of the trees were cut down as far the western shore.

A Pilot Master and three pilots were on duty on the island. These were men who knew the fairways of Raahe like the backs of their own hands. The daymark was also used to assist in observations and flags raised on its tower could be used to signal the approaching ships. Similarly, such a raised flag  was also visible on the tower of Raahe Church, where another watchman was able to inform the city of the ship's arrival.

In its heyday, life on the island of Iso-Kraaseli was busy and the pilot station was the centre of everything. The pilots lived on the island with their families and there were also cottages for their accommodation. There was easy access to the nearby mainland and the islanders did not have to live in isolation like on many other lighthouse islands. Leisure time was spent boating, fishing, and swimming or collecting berries.

The old pilot station on Iso-Kraaseli Island.

Iso-Kraaseli Island is an easy excursion destination

The Finnish Maritime Administration handed over the pilot station and the lighthouse to the town of Raahe in 1983. Since then, the island has operated as a excursion destination for tourists.

There is accommodation available on Iso-Kraaseli Island, as well as a summer café in the old yellow pilot house. A path circles around the island along which visitors can explore the diverse nature and enjoy the seascapes.

There are also piles of ballast brought by old sailing ships, which are now considered ancient artifacts. There are also many shipwrecks in the surrounding waters. More information about the ancient remains and wrecks can be accessed in the cultural environment service window.

The pilot station and daymark of Iso-Kraaseli Island. In the picture, the pilot station is being repaired.
The icebreaker Tarmo in 1909.

The icebreaker Tarmo is now a museum ship in Kotka, near the Finnish Maritime Museum building known as Vellamo. This ship can also be accessed virtually at National Museum's website!

The icebreaker Tarmo under tow in the 2000s

Why and how is this location protected?

Iso-Kraaseli Island is an important maritime monument. The buildings on the island form a historically valuable entity. The site is defined as a nationally significant built cultural environment.

Check out the site in the Finnish Heritage Agency's register!


It is possible to go to the island with your own boat or order a shuttle via MeriRaahe Island Transport.

Read more about visiting the island:

Finnish Heritage Agency's mapservice

N: 7175303, E: 376119 (ETRS-TM35FIN)