We are now well into autumn and the winter months are fast approaching, which means one thing: you are running out of time to ensure your marine aids to navigation (AtoN) equipment is in the best possible shape before the weather turns.

The harsher winter conditions make it too complex and dangerous to carry out routine maintenance during this season. But without regular planned maintenance, AtoN are likely to encounter serious problems down the line.

The cost of an urgent navigation light repair or buoy casualty extraction can quickly exceed the price of a maintenance contract. So, now is the moment to be proactive — or risk compromised performance, wasted resources and expensive emergency repairs.

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail

No business can afford to throw money and supplies at unnecessary upkeep and call-outs as a result of cutting corners in maintenance — especially in the current climate.

Every system malfunction or light failure during a buoy’s deployment could have severe consequences for mariners and shore-based operators. So, it is advisable to ensure all AtoN equipment undergoes a thorough annual inspection to avoid faults or problems going undetected until it is too late.

Regular inspection helps trained experts to identify problems before they develop into a major hazard or fault. High-quality maintenance can prevent emergency call-outs and increase equipment longevity to generally provide a cost-effective means of caring for navigation lights and markers.

If you are currently operating older steel-based equipment, it may also be worth considering whether a replacement device may be a better long-term solution. Metal buoys are sturdy but often require lifting out of an application for repainting and refurbishing. On the other hand, a contemporary polyethylene buoy can be more easily maintained — and comes equipped with the capabilities of modern technology.

Not only do we supply advanced aids to navigation, but we also offer a choice of scheduled and ad hoc maintenance services to care for AtoN devices, power supplies and ancillary equipment. Our trained engineers are qualified to lift buoys and sinkers to the deck and inspect all equipment — such as lights, shackles and moorings.

Long-term maintenance, long-term gain

Regular maintenance checks will significantly prolong the service of products and equipment by ensuring they remain compliant and perform an uninterrupted service — both safely and accurately.

During a routine maintenance service, professionals will clean equipment with high-pressure water jetting to prevent a build-up of dirt and rust. Our team of engineers is on hand to respond to emergency repairs, buoy and beacon casualties, as well as support maintenance, replacement and removal work.

We also supply state-of-the-art remote monitoring equipment, which allows harbour masters, researchers and mariners to track the deployment of a buoy and confirm correct positioning within five metres using differential global positioning systems (DGPS) and other developments in technology.

Additional digital technology can also be installed to provide more accurate information about the location and system health on AtoN equipment from afar, removing the need for an unnecessary and potentially dangerous physical inspection.

For example, the advanced core technology used by devices such as SRT’s Carbon AIS AtoN supplies enhanced sensor modules for environmental data monitoring with minimal maintenance. Plus, automatic monitoring systems such as Oceanwise’s Port-Log Data System provides crucial daily reports from the buoy itself using cloud-based servers for an easy-to-use, secure and customisable data record.

Are your marine aids to navigation ready for winter? Get in touch with our team of expert engineers to discover more about our maintenance services.