International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities
Maritime and Coastguard AgencyRoyal Institute of Navigation
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The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) is the General Lighthouse Authority for the waters surrounding Scotland and the Isle of Man, and is responsible for the superintendence and management of all lights, buoys and beacons within this area. The majority of these aids to navigation are provided by harbour authorities and other local bodies under the supervision of NLB. However, most of the significant lighthouses and other aids to navigation outside harbour limits are provided directly by the Northern Lighthouse Board.
This area covers half the waters and coastline of the United Kingdom, together with the majority of offshore manned oil installations. The area is subject to severe weather conditions for many months of the year. The approximate length of this coastline is 6,214 miles (10,000km) a land area of 30,405sq miles (77,700 sq km) and 790 islands. * Source Scottish Statistics The Board owns and maintains:-
The Northern Lighthouse Board is an active member of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) and is involved in their activities and Committees, which enable all members to share expertise and experiences and keep abreast of developments in their field.
The method of measuring Aids to Navigation and the recognised availability standards are set for each category of Aid by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities. These are published in the IALA Aids to Navigation Guide (NAVGUIDE - Fourth Edition December 2001). The Northern Lighthouse Board is a member of IALA and operates to these standards.IALA states that the absolute minimum level of operational availability for individual aids to navigation is 95%. If availability of an individual Aid falls below this level then consideration must be given to withdrawing the Aid to Navigation from service. The availability of the actual Aid to Navigation (e.g. whether the light is flashing correctly or a buoy is on station) is over a 3 year continuous period. High levels of availability, which matches or exceeds Internationally recognised standards, ensures that the Board provides the service required by mariners in our hostile marine environment.
Each of the Traditional Aids to Navigation operated by the Northern Lighthouse Board are allocated a category as follows:
Category 1An Aid to Navigation that is considered by the Northern Lighthouse Board to be of primary navigational significance. It includes the lighted aids to navigation and racons that are considered essential for marking landfalls and primary routes. Category 2An Aid to Navigation that is considered by the Northern Lighthouse Board to be of navigational significance. It includes lighted aids to navigation and racons that mark secondary routes and those used to supplement the marking of primary routes.Category 3An Aid to Navigation that is considered by the Northern Lighthouse Board to be of less navigational significance than Category 1 and 2.
Availability is measured by dividing total time (i.e. the sum of the total number of hours in a year multiplied by the number of Aids to Navigation in each category) into the difference between total time and the number of hours that the Aids were not available to the mariner. This calculation is then expressed as a percentage. Click here to see the current performance of our Aids to Navigation
Feedback from our users is essential if we are to continue to provide this vital service. The Northern Lighthouse Board would very much like to hear your views on the service we provide.For example you might think that lights are in the wrong place, wrong range, wrong colour or that new Buoys should be established or Fog Signals removed. You may have views on the colour or condition of our lighthouses. Please let us know.If you have any views or suggestion please contact the Navigation Team on firstname.lastname@example.orgTel 0131 473 3100 and ask for the Navigation Section