E-Bulletin June 2024

Irish Lights – Innovative training course for Local Lighthouse Authorities

The Commissioners of Irish Lights (Irish Lights) announced earlier this year the launch of an online, focused training course on the provision of marine aids to navigation which is designed specifically for Local Lighthouse Authorities in collaboration with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency.

The course aims to enhance the safe and efficient operation of local aids to navigation services under the remit of these authorities including ports, harbours, local authorities, and other bodies who manage aids to navigation at a local level.

Six modules

The course will be delivered over six modules through the BIM’s cutting-edge Learning Management System, harnessing technology to provide a dynamic and immersive learning experience for participants. This collaboration highlights the shared commitment of Irish Lights and BIM to support the ongoing development and training needs of Local Lighthouse Authorities.

Topics covered include the legal basis for providing marine aids to navigation, understanding the functions of the different types of aids to navigation, the maintenance schedules required and the need to for policies and procedures to cover outage reporting and availability requirements to international standards.

CEO of Irish Lights, Yvonne Shields O’Connor, (illustrated here at right with CEO of BIM, Caroline Bocquel) commented: ‘The training course will serve as an invaluable resource, enabling Local Lighthouse Authorities to expand their understanding of maritime matters concerning the provision of local aids to navigation.

By incorporating insights from both the Local Lighthouse Authorities themselves and maritime experts, the course content ensures relevance, practicality, and industry best practices. It represents our commitment to upholding the highest standards of safety and efficiency in maritime and navigation services. Through this course, we aim to empower and equip authorities with the necessary knowledge to effectively manage local aids to navigation, thereby ensuring the well-being of mariners and the protection of our coastal environments.’

Local Lighthouse Authorities are responsible for over 3,500 local aids to navigation around Ireland and Northern Ireland, comprising lighthouses, buoys, beacons, poles, and signs that play a crucial role in ensuring maritime safety by assisting vessels in the identification of safe navigable waters and highlighting the locations of marine hazards for all marine users.

These aids to navigation are used to maintain efficient and safe navigation channels for ports and harbours, lighting and marking of future offshore renewable energy sites and also marking aquaculture sites, identifying the locations of cables and pipelines, outfall pipes and the locations of recreation zones such as those used for swimming.

Reflecting IALA

It is important to note that the Irish initiative is a subset of the full IALA AtoN Manager Model Course delivered online.

This course is aimed at expanding local aids to navigation providers’ understanding of the principles of AtoN provision, empowering and equipping these providers with the necessary knowledge to effectively manage their local aids to navigation.

The Commissioners of Irish Lights and the World-Wide Academy are currently discussing how the Academy can embrace this course material and offer it in a wider concept worldwide.


Speaking about the success of the training course to date, Yvonne Shields O’ Connor said: ‘The first intake of delegates is due to complete the Local Lighthouse Authority training programme shortly and the initial response to the course has been encouraging. Irish Lights look forward to collaborating further with IALA and pursuing relevant partnerships with IALA’s World-Wide Academy on this and other areas of common interest.’

Rapporteur: Paul Ridgway

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