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Keep the Beacons Burning: Robust and Reliable Navigation Lights for Harbours

Ports and harbours play an essential role in the UK’s economy and logistics chain. The UK’s port industry is the second largest in Europe, handling 95% of the nation’s imports and exports by volume, facilitating safe trade between water and land on a massive scale and acting as a beacon of safety for mariners.

Mariners rely on aids to navigation such as buoys and beacons to mark the safest route in open water and through narrow passages and port entryways. But at night, navigation lights – such as precision sector and leading lights – are what marine navigators use as visual references for safe navigation.

So, harbour managers must ensure port- based navigation lighting products are reliable, high-quality and backed up by an alternative power source so that mariners can always find their way safely – even when all other lights go out.

Guiding lights for marine pilots and seafarers

Thanks to modern technology such as global positional systems (GPS) and the internet of things (IoT), sailors have access to data and devices that allow them to chart precise paths, monitor equipment performance, prepare for bad weather and avoid hazards. Still, when approaching harbours at short range, pilots mainly navigate by visual references.

During cross tides or bad weather and at night when visibility is poor, navigators rely on navigation lighting to delineate navigable channels and define the limits of specific areas. Navigation lights provide a consistent indicator of a vessel’s position in relation to the hazards in all conditions.

Preparing for every eventuality

With the rapid development of technology comes plenty of cost-effective navigation aids that can improve safety and efficiency at ports and harbours. So, many harbour managers are upgrading harbour lights to improve the consistency, accuracy and dependability of these crucial pieces of equipment.

Navigation lighting should be instantly and easily recognisable to approaching pilots against background lighting. As such, suppliers must consider each navigation light’s intensity, flash character, height and relationship to other lights for every application. For example, leading lights provide an intuitive navigation solution, but sailors may notice the colour change of a precision sector light quicker in narrow channels.

Additionally, it is vital to prevent failures caused by mechanical issues, which can occur in the presence of moisture, impact or vibration. So, the placement and spacing of lights are crucial, and harbour managers must also invest in quality products to ensure lighting equipment is robust against the elements.

As the UK’s leading supplier of marine aids to navigation, Hydrosphere has retrofitted and replaced leading and sector lights for ports and harbours across the country, including for the Port of Bridgewater, Stornoway Harbour, Portland Harbour and many more.

For added reliability, Hydrosphere supply battery backups for navigation lighting to allow navigation to continue safely in the event of a mains outage. All their products meet IALA requirements. Each light is designed, installed and maintained to the highest standards, offering an excellent long-term investment for any harbour looking to make the most of the latest aids to navigation technology.

Hydrosphere supplies a range of Sabik Marine sector and leading light solutions for various applications. Contact Hydrosphere to discuss the unique requirements of your project with our technical experts.

+44 (0)1420 520374


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