Sunday 27th May, 2018

Technology powers change in the field of navigation aids

Photo: David Sexton
Photo: David Sexton

TECHNOLOGY is making a tangible impact in the field of ‘aids to navigation’ devices, NAV18 has heard.

Maritime Safety Queensland executive director maritime services Paul Brandenburg spoke at the Gold Coast event and noted the rate of change in aids to navigation had occurred rapidly, just as it occurred in the rest of the maritime sector.

“You only have to look outside at some of the displays (at NAV18) to understand the changes in technology. It is clear to say the introduction of LED lighting has been a real game-changer for aids to navigation,” Mr Brandenburg said.

He noted efficient solar power and new buoy types had all delivered significant cost efficiencies to aids to navigation providers as well as having “significantly reduced the workplace health and safety risk for our staff”.

Whereas light inspections previously needed to occur every six months, now they could occur every 18 months or even longer.

“More often now we’re going out to see if the actual structure is still standing, rather than (whether) the light is burning,” he said.

“Our maintenance task is also reduced, what used to take significant maritime plant – tugs and barges and cranes to go out and service a buoy – can now be done with a smaller vessel.”

Mr Brandenburg said even as they followed IALA guidelines, there was room for innovation and flexibility in the implementation of navigation guides, noting a case from North Queensland involving mangroves.

“Along the coast of Queensland as we get north, the species of mangrove changes and with that the colour of their leaves changes,” he said.

“So we have had to change the colour green that we use to paint our nav aids as we go north so you can actually discern them against the background of the mangroves.”

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