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/ 31 Aug, 2022
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Tide, light, height, and a bit of DIY

Installation of first-rate traffic lighting at Guernsey Harbour’s recently renovated VTS area has made a massive improvement in the control of aids to navigation and has ensured the safe passage of marine traffic in and around St Peter Port for many years to come.

As far back as January 2019, Guernsey Harbours, the organisation responsible for the administration and operation of St Peter Port and St Sampson’s harbours, requested a quote for a set of IALA-approved marine traffic lights.  The Hydrosphere team visited Guernsey that summer to assess the site and discuss the project’s requirements before responding to Guernsey Harbour’s invitation to tender, issued in January 2021, with the most effective design for an IALA-compliant light system that would be suitable and available.

Previous experience with marine traffic light systems enabled Hydrosphere to source lights that would be visible from an acceptable range. With a background of bright sunshine at St Peter Port, ensuring traffic light systems would still be seen from an east and west direction was challenging, exacerbated by the island’s tidal range of at least 10 metres and mariners’ physical viewing heights, given the variation in vessel types in the area — from condor ferries to canoes. How each light could be seen up close and up to a nautical mile away on approach in mid-summer skies was vital.

The VLB-44XE from Sabik, the new owners of Vega, was the ideal choice for this application, with remote control capabilities, super robust construction and a new brightness intensity that uses low power consumption.

With a combination of lenses (or layers), the lights can focus LED light beams narrowly to reach the furthest possible distance and also refract light up and downward to make it visible from a greater range of heights. This vertical divergence allows for varying viewing distances — from vessels inside and outside the harbour.

The coronavirus pandemic and the effects of limited visitor and vessel movements hampered the project’s programme somewhat. Nonetheless, things quickly got underway as soon as restrictions allowed.  Due to the challenges presented by the pandemic, the Guernsey harbour team was tasked with installing the lights and cables themselves.  The result is impressive, durable and neat — essential due to the severe weather and heavy wave action encountered by the harbour wall and pier head.

Installation of the VTS buildings, control systems and IALA lights was completed in time to see them fully operational in early May 2022, ready for a busy summer.

Exhibitor; Hydrosphere

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