Tackling navigation buoys wandering off station
Hydrosphere thinks it has the solution to the problem of marine navigation buoys wandering off station because of exposure to the elements at their location.
Its solution involves replacing the leading lights with a high intensity LED sector light and removing the navigation buoys entirely from the equation.
Not only does this provide a sustainable solution to the problem, but there is an affordable initial outlay and minimal maintenance costs. It was important that this provided a long-term solution to the issue.
It can be costly to reposition an off-location buoy even just once or twice, so when it happens more frequently, this can have unsustainable consequences to a budget.
Scotland’s Highland Council was facing this challenge with the small fishing harbour at Helmsdale which is about 80 kilometres north of Inverness.
The harbour’s previous navigation aids were a set of leading lights with two unlit buoys marking a narrow harbour entrance. But due to the location’s exposure, the buoys were frequently off station and couldn’t be relied upon.
Hydrosphere’s solution was to replace the leading lights with a high intensity LED sector light and remove the navigation buoys entirely from the equation.
An LED sector light, in this case the Sabik’s Vega VLS-46, now accurately marks the channel, without being affected by weather or sea conditions.
The light requires virtually no maintenance, consumes less power than incandescent bulbs and can be run on a solar power supply. It can achieve night ranges of up to 12 NM and day ranges of over a mile, marking the channel with sharp boundary resolution and removing any need for unlit buoys or the leading lights.
Added to this, the cost of the sector light equated to approximately the same as repositioning the buoys, but an added advantage is that there will be minimal maintenance expenditure in the future.
By Anne-Marie Causer
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