Lighting Portugal’s waterways with solar LED technology

Whether marking a channel or flagging an underwater hazard, solar-powered light emitting diode (LED) lanterns are an increasingly popular upgrade for illuminated aids to navigation around the world. Thanks to the impressive durability, reliability and convenience of a solar LED solution, this technology is proving itself in a range of applications, from marking channels in Portugal’s Port of Viana do Castelo, to flagging an artificial reef off Madeira Island. Wherever light is needed, solar LED technology is translating into increased reliability and reduced operating costs for those who use and maintain aids to navigation.

In a recent application of solar LED technology, Portugal’s Port of Viana do Castelo upgraded its system of channel markers with a high-visibility, low-maintenance system of solar LEDequipped aids to navigation. Located along Portugal’s scenic Costa Verde (The Green Coast), Viana do Castelo is the country’s northernmost port city. Established in the 13th century on the site of a pre-Roman settlement, this historic town has a long history as a center for trade, and a departure point for explorers and colonists.

Today, Viana do Castelo’s marina, fishery, shipyard, and commercial port offer modern facilities that accommodatea mix of commercial, recreational and industrial  vessel traffic. Situated along the estuary where the River Lima meets the sea, the port opens onto a busy channel characterised by strong river currents, eddies and backflows that emphasise the need for reliable and effective channel marking.

Marine traffic is guided to the Port of Viana do Castelo through a system of 15 channel markers, but after years of use, the equipment was showing its age. The original markers consisted of steel buoys equipped with incandescent lights, but due to difficulties maintaining these lanterns, as well as ongoing abuse from the elements and sporadic vandalism, many of the illuminated marker lights had stopped working altogether. Rather than restore this aging system, the Port of Viana do
Castelo’s port authority chose to upgrade its channel markers with a system of modern and reliable aids to navigation.

Assembling the new solar LED-equipped buoys After a public tender, the port authority awarded the turnkey contract to Ahlers Lindley – a local contractor with more than 75 years’ experience in designing, constructing and deploying navigational buoys and signal lighting systems. For this application, Lindley recommended a system of 15 solar-powered LED lanterns equipped with global positioning satellite (GPS) synchronisation, mounted on a set of two-metre focal plane buoys.

For maximum durability, Lindley selected buoys with a galvanised and painted steel structure, mounted on a polyethylene core with an elastomer-coated hull. Each buoy was equipped with day and top marks made from glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), and a radar reflector made from aluminium. Except for the hull, which was manufactured by Hippo Marine in the United Kingdom, the buoy and the ancillaries were developed and fabricated locally by Lindley.

For signal lights, Lindley used Carmanah 702-GPS marine lanterns. The 702-GPS lantern is a solar–powered LED marine beacon with GPS synchronisation, and visibility of up to threeWhether marking a channel or flagging an underwater hazard, solar-powered light emitting diode (LED) lanterns are an increasingly popular upgrade for illuminated aids to navigation around the world. Thanks to the impressive durability, reliability and convenience of a solar LED solution, this technology is
proving itself in a range of applications, from marking channels in Portugal’s Port of Viana do Castelo, to flagging an artificial reef off Madeira Island.

Wherever light is needed, solar LED technology is translating into increased reliability and reduced operating costs for those who use and maintain aids to navigation.
In a recent application of solar LED technology, Portugal’s Port of Viana do Castelo upgraded its system of channel markers with a high-visibility, low-maintenance system of solar LEDequipped aids to navigation. Located along Portugal’s scenic Costa Verde (The Green Coast), Viana do Castelo is the country’s northernmost port city.

Established in the 13th century on the site of a pre-Roman settlement, this historic town has a long history as a center for trade, and a departure point for explorers
and colonists. Today, Viana do Castelo’s marina, fishery, shipyard, and commercial port offer modern facilities that accommodate a mix of commercial, recreational and industrial vessel traffic. Situated along the estuary where the River Lima meets the sea, the port opens onto a busy channel characterised by strong river currents, eddies and backflows that emphasise the need for reliable and effective channel marking.

Marine traffic is guided to the Port of Viana do Castelo through a system of 15 channel markers, but after years of use, the equipment was showing its age. The original markers consisted of steel buoys equipped with incandescent lights, but due to difficulties maintaining these lanterns, as well as ongoing abuse from the elements and sporadic vandalism, many of the illuminated marker lights had stopped working altogether. Rather than restore this aging system, the Port of Viana do
Castelo’s port authority chose to upgrade its channel markers with a system of modern and reliable aids to navigation.

Assembling the new solar LED-equipped buoys

After a public tender, the port authority awarded the turnkey contract to Ahlers Lindley – a local contractor with more than 75 years’ experience in designing, constructing and deploying navigational buoys and signal lighting systems. For this application, Lindley recommended a system of 15 solar-powered LED lanterns
equipped with global positioning satellite (GPS) synchronisation, mounted on a set of two-metre focal plane buoys.

For maximum durability, Lindley selected buoys with a galvanised and painted steel structure, mounted on a polyethylene core with an elastomer-coated hull. Each buoy was equipped with day and top marks made from glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), and a radar reflector made from aluminium. Except for the hull, which was manufactured by Hippo Marine in the United Kingdom, the buoy and the ancillaries were developed and fabricated locally by Lindley.

Anthony Tisot, Carmanah Technologies Corporation, Victoria, BC, Canada
Edition: Edition 37

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