#lighthouses – As we face into a period of stormy weather over the Christmas period Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) stands ready to respond to any marine emergency in Irish Waters. CIL is responsible for the maintenance of physical and electronic Aids to Navigation around the Irish Coast and for ensuring safe navigation of passenger and cargo traffic in the event of wreck or other new dangers.
CIL has provided AtoN services in Ireland for over 200 years. The time of the lightkeeper has now passed as automation came to the fore in 1996 but guiding those at sea home safely during Christmas is essential in CIL's service to the mariner.
Irish and UK AtoN are monitored 24 hours a day via a sophisticated network of remote coastal communications links. This ensures that Ireland's coastal navigation network of 72 lighthouses, 29 beacons, and 118 buoys meets the international availability standard of 99.8%, giving all mariners a high degree of confidence and security for passage planning.
In the case of emergency in Irish waters, the Granuaile, CIL's 80 metre multifunctional ship with her highly experienced captain and crew of 15 will respond immediately. CIL's mechanical, electrical and electronic experts are on call 24 hours a day to cover any emergency. Lighthouse attendants around Ireland are also ready to deliver local response when required. A pilot and EC135 aircraft from Irish Helicopters is also on standby in case of emergency at offshore stations.
Modern technology now assists with the immediate response to any incident at sea. Virtual AtoNs can be digitally placed in areas of new danger through the Automatic Identification System (AIS) which all larger vessels are now required to use. As 95% of all goods arrive in Ireland by sea CIL's service and provision of maintaining AtoNs around the Irish Coast ensures the safety and efficiency of this vital service over the holiday period.CIL is a modern Maritime Safety Organisation whose mission is to 'provide aids to navigation and allied services for the safety of persons and infrastructure at sea, while also helping protect the marine environment and supporting the marine industry and coastal communities'. While CIL can date its establishment to a 1786 Act of Parliament, the organisation has always prided itself in its innovative and efficient service delivery. Today, the organisation remains committed to the efficient, effective sustainable delivery of services as it exploits new technology and new commercial opportunities.
CIL is based in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. CIL are responsible for providing marine aids to navigation (AtoN) under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.
• CIL provide and maintain over 300 general aids to navigation
• CIL manage 4,000 local aids to navigation
• CIL mark or remove dangerous wrecks outside harbour areas around Ireland
CIL AtoN include radio aids such as Differential GPS (DGPS), Radar Beacons (Racon), and Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), as well as traditional visual aids such as lighthouses, buoys and beacons. These AtoN complement Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as GPS, which are the primary means of navigation for most mariners. If satellites are not available, these AtoN provide position, spatial awareness, hazard marking and backup.
Please visit www.cil.ie for further information.