There are many instances when a harbour master or port authority can purchase off-the-shelf aids to navigation to solve an issue or replace failed equipment. However, there are also many instances when a more bespoke solution is required. That might be to address changes such as a new channel, increases in shipping volume, or to improve an existing solution that doesn’t provide the performance required.

We provide aids to navigation for both scenarios, whether you’ve already identified the products you require or need our experts to provide advice and a bespoke solution.

This was the case with a recent project we undertook for ABP Hull.

Busy Port Requires Explosion Proof Solution

Hydrosphere won the tender to supply and install a fog horn and power supply to ABP Hull for their jetty. This is an extremely busy port on the north bank of the Humber Estuary, just 20 miles from the North Sea. The Port of Hull is the UK’s leading softwood timber port, specialising in the handling of forest products and a range of bulk commodities. BP also operates from this port, which is located close to its Saltend Chemicals Park. Alongside these activities the port also handles containers, ferry travel and roro, and has the UK’s first fully-enclosed cargo-handling facility for weather-sensitive cargoes, such as steel.

The key challenge for replacing the existing failed units, was that the fog horn and power supply had to be explosion proof. This meant that an off-the-shelf product was not an option, so we needed to work closely with our partners to find a viable solution.

In collaboration with our supplier and partner Sabik Marine, we recommended an ATEX fog horn and power supply, which offered reliability and low cost of ownership. More importantly, it was also suitable for Zone 1 and Zone 2 areas with gas explosion hazard. We had to work closely with the engineers to ensure these products met requirements, were fit for purpose and could be installed on site, replacing the existing failed units.

ATEX approved products are highly specialised because they don’t create any sparks and therefore meet health and safety requirements. However, they are manufactured in the US and require ATEX certification in Finland so the project also presented some logistical challenges.

Another key consideration when planning the project, was installation. ABP Hull already had the wiring to power these products, so all that was required was to ensure that the existing cables were compatible. A small point, but one that can be easily overlooked when purchasing off-the-shelf solutions.

This project highlights how suppliers of aids to navigation are not just product vendors. Our expertise means that we can offer consultancy services, source products that aren’t necessary listed in our catalogue, and find bespoke solutions to unique challenges.

Why not test us with your own navigation aid challenge? Get in touch with our team to discuss your specific requirements. Call 44 (0)1420 520374 or email