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What are lighthouses used for?

  • 01-08-2011 8:34am
    Closed Accounts Posts: 878 ✭✭✭

    Just wondering who actually uses them?

    A few years ago all foghorns were made obsolete which basicly means that thanks to GPS and radar etc. ships can see in the dark, so why the need for a light you can't see on a foggy day or night?

    How long before they are all switched off?

    As I understand it commercial shipping pay for the running of these and if they are not using them then they won't want to be paying for them.

    So that leaves pleasure craft and trawlers etc. which mostly go out on nice days and probably have GPS if they are out at night. I can't see them being able to pay for the expensive cost of running and maintaining lights.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,180 ✭✭✭✭Victor

    Funding is only partly met by users - they government makes up the rest.

    There are more facilities than lights and foghorns. Many are also weather stations and have radar.

    It is imprudent to rely on only one navigation system.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,905 ✭✭✭✭CJhaughey

    Have you heard of the concept of redundancy?
    Not in job terms but in terms of back up systems.
    GPS is an electronic system and could fail or things like ash clouds could reduce the satellite signals to a level that the receiver might not be able to pick up.
    If the vessel had an electronic failure, the GPS and radar might not work.
    In these cases you would be as well to have a clearly understood system of lights.
    All vessels still use navigation lights and the lighthouses are an extension of that system.
    Trawlers go out in all weathers not just nice weather..

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann

    Pat Kenny had an extended report about fog horns on 23 December 2010. Apparently there are all going to be shut down this year. I'm sure the podcast is out there somewhere.