Hydrosphere is dedicated to supplying and installing the very finest Aids to Navigation for every mariner, and we take great pride in keeping vessels out of dangerous waters.

Recently, we were delighted to work with Sedgemoor Council at the Port of Bridgwater, to help create a safer and more reliable navigational line of passage across the River Parrett which runs adjacent to Somerset’s seaside town of Burnham-on-Sea and over the shallow sands situated in the entrance to Bridgwater Bay.

The project was threefold. Firstly, we replaced and updated the two leading lights, before installing a new weather station at the pilot office. We then completed the third phase of the project, which involved upgrading the online monitoring system on the Low Lighthouse’s sector light (which was also supplied and installed by Hydrosphere in recent years).

Replacing Burnham’s leading lights

The first leg of the project involved updating Burnham’s old set of leading lights, which had begun to show signs of unreliability. We provided consultation in respect of the supply and installation of the replacement lights. One of these sits on St. Andrew’s Church Tower, mounted on the wind vane, and the other atop an esplanade lamppost – providing a pair of beacons which offer maximum visibility when correctly aligned to help guide vessels safely through this area of shallow water.

In the first instance, we fitted the mains-powered lights with upgraded power supplies. We also included battery backups to both lights for added reliability, so that navigation could continue safely in the unfortunate event of a mains supply failure.

On assessment of both locations and consideration of the purpose of the replacement lights, we recommended using the Vega VLL-43 LED Linear Lead Light. These have a track record of being particularly reliable and serving excellently as leading lights. Each unit is also fitted with its own control board and can be operated individually.

The VLL-43 is a uni-directional lantern with a powerful beam – perfect for identifying short-range obstacles as well as easing navigation in wider positions. It is easy to program and once set, is very low maintenance.

With five different colour settings and nine varying intensity settings for day and night, the light is highly visible in various circumstances. Automatic Schmidt-Clausen correction for the flash character also increases the peak intensity and helps to maintain the range of the light.

Both lights were fitted with Hydrosphere’s Hydrowatch Monitoring and Control System. This is an online system which keeps track of the power supply and sends live data to a remote desktop browser – allowing the Harbour Master to easily ensure the light is operating correctly and to identify whether the correct voltage is being supplied. In the unlikely event of a problem, the Hydrowatch System will ensure any issues can be addressed as soon as they arise.

In addition, we also designed, built and installed specialist enclosures and brackets for both lights and their battery backups, as well as the power supplies.

Installing a new weather station, including a wind anemometer

As part of this project, we also visited the pilot station on Burnham’s Seafront and installed a weather station, thus updating the Harbour Master’s weather monitoring systems with the latest technology. These will give the Harbour Master live data on a web page, including wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure and dew point.

This data can then be shared with any incoming vessels to ensure maximum safety in the harbour area and it can also be recorded, allowing access to data from the previous 14 days.

Upgrades to the Low Lighthouse

The Low Lighthouse further along the beach also saw a Hydrosphere “Hydrowatch” makeover on its PEL Sector Light, which is situated within that structure on the beach. This is a precision sector light which gives mariners a visual indicator as to whether they are on a correct line to transit directly into the mouth of the Bay’s entrance.

Hydrosphere also upgraded the Hydrowatch Monitoring System at this location, allowing it to operate on the same platform and at the same level of sophistication as the other navigational aids. Once again, this upgrade was done with increased safety to navigation in mind.

To find out more about our other projects, or to discuss working together, please get in touch today!