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Leading the way to safer navigation - project spotlight

Keeping vessels out of dangerous waters is a matter of pride for Seawork exhibitor Hydrosphere which was recently commissioned to improve navigation at the entrance of Bridgwater Bay in Somerset UK.

Working with Sedgemoor Council at the Port of Bridgwater, Hydrosphere designed and implemented the three-fold project to help create a safer and more reliable navigational line of passage across the River Parrett, which runs adjacent to Somerset’s seaside town of Burnham-on-Sea and over the shallow sands situated in the entrance to Bridgwater Bay.

Replacing and updating Burnham’s two leading lights was first on the list, followed by the installation of a new weather station at the pilot office. The third phase of the project involved upgrading the online monitoring system on the sector light of the Low Lighthouse (which was also supplied and installed by Hydrosphere in recent years).

Of the two leading lights, which had begun to show signs of unreliability, one sits on St. Andrew’s Church Tower, mounted on the wind vane, and the other atop an esplanade lamppost – providing a pair of beacons which offer maximum visibility when correctly aligned to help guide vessels safely through this area of shallow water.  The lights were replaced with Vega VLL-43 LED Linear Lead Lights with each new unit being built and installed in its own specialist enclosure along with its own control for individual operation.  Upgraded power supplies were fitted plus additional battery backup for added reliability in the event of mains failure.

Both lights now feature Hydrosphere’s online Hydrowatch Monitoring and Control System which keeps track of the power supply and sends live data to a remote desktop browser – allowing the Harbour Master to easily ensure the light is operating correctly and to identify whether the correct voltage is being supplied.

As the second part of the project, Burnham’s pilot station had its own weather station installed. Situated directly on the seafront, this updates the Harbour Master’s weather monitoring systems with the latest technology, giving live data on a web page, including wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure and dew point. The data can then be shared with any incoming vessels to ensure maximum safety in the harbour area and can also be recorded, allowing access to data from the previous 14 days.

The Low Lighthouse, further along the beach at Burnham-on-Sea, was upgraded via a Hydrosphere “Hydrowatch” makeover on its PEL Sector Light. This precision sector light gives mariners a visual indicator as to whether they are on a correct line to transit directly into the mouth of the Bay’s entrance. The Hydrowatch Monitoring System at this location also received an upgrade enabling it to operate on the same platform and at the same level of sophistication as the other navigational aids - done with increased safety to navigation in mind.

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