Start Point re-engineered
UK lighthouse operator Trinity House has completed the modernisation of Start Point Lighthouse in Devon.
The project entailed upgrading the site’s aids to navigation and control systems to provide simplified maintenance and reliable performance that will extend the life of the station for a further 20 years.
Start Point Lighthouse—located close to the most southerly tip of Devon—was built by Trinity House in 1836 and automated in 1993. It provides a navigational light of character comprised of three white flashes every ten seconds that can be seen from Prawle Point to the west and across Start Bay to the east, as well as a red sector light that marks the Skerries Bank, a shallow area to the east of the lighthouse. A hazard warning signal sounds during low visibility conditions that blasts once every 30 seconds when visibility drops below one nautical mile.
Trinity House scheduled the lighthouse for a routine modernisation with a projected completion by March 2019; on-site works started early in 2018 with the installation of a new 600m supply cable that powers a borehole water pump, providing fresh water for the lighthouse and holiday cottages.
The installation necessitated the excavation and the consequent re-surface of a long section of the lighthouse access road; Trinity House managed with care the closure of the public right of way to the lighthouse, allowing the much-loved Southwest Coast Path to remain open throughout the work.
In September 2018 work started on the lighthouse itself, replacing the tower’s old aid to navigation control equipment and domestic electrical equipment with a new 230V AC system including new low power LED lighting, power sockets and heaters.
In December 2018, Trinity House decommissioned and moved the historical rotating optic from the Lantern Room to the visitor display in the Flag Room two floors down the tower.
After installing a new lantern platform and pedestal in the Lantern Room, two new flashing LED lamps were put in place as the main navigational light, and a new hazard warning signal was installed at the top of the tower. The nine nautical mile red sector light that Trinity House installed five years ago remains in place.
The re-engineering project culminated with a test period that will conclude a little later this year and the light is now fit to keep shipping and seafarers safe for the next 20 years.
Upon completion of this project, the lighthouse visitor centre will re-open to the public.
Visit Trinity House at Seawork international 2019 on stand PG7
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