In tight harbours, shallow passages and narrow ports, navigation lighting plays a crucial role in ensuring the safe transportation of vessels and cargo.

Leading lights, for example, are essential for helping navigators keep to the correct line of entry in hazardous waters or cross tides. When aligned, these pairs of beacons indicate a precise route of approach to the shore during daytime and nighttime to guarantee consistent and accurate navigation.

As the UK and Ireland’s leading supplier of aids to navigation, Hydrosphere has supplied several high-quality, high-intensity LED leading lights to replace outdated lamps at harbours and ports to improve visibility, safety and efficiency for approaching mariners.

Enhancing leading light solutions for Portland Harbour

Harbour managers at Portland Harbour, located beside the Isle of Portland off the coast of Dorset, came to Hydrosphere with a request to provide options for a new pair of high-intensity red leading lights, with a minimum daylight range of 1.5 nautical miles (NM) and a wide horizontal beam spread.

Hydrosphere recommended the EKTA 8554 (E8554) from Sabik Marine: a robust, high-performance marine LED range lantern with several standard beam configuration alternatives available — from simple robust flashers to fully programmable flashers with GPS synchronisation and calendar-based seasonal operation. This powerful, long-life leading light can be seen clearly in the daytime, even against a bright sunny sky, and at night from a distance of up to 18 NM.

The E8554’s field-proven design features lifecycle extension capabilities, with the option to replace LEDs in the field at between ten and twelve years for improved power efficiency. Mariners and harbour managers can easily make programming adjustments to the lights via the Sabik LightGuard Monitor app, which can be installed and managed on a smartphone.

These new and improved leading lights supplied by Hydrosphere are now utilised by ships and vessels entering Portland Harbour through the East Ship Channel — the main commercial vessel entrance to the port that 95% of all large commercial ships to the Inner Harbour pass through.

Modernising marine navigation and safety with E8554 lights

Since Portland Harbour upgraded its leading lights to the E8854 units, many visiting ship captains have subsequently commented on how much improvement they have made to visibility and navigation on the approach to the port.

Mark Rowles, Assistant Harbour Master at Portland Harbour, said: ‘I have to report that these leading lights are amazing. Local marine pilots have all reported their satisfaction so far. The new lights are easy to see at 3.5 NM in daylight, which is pretty much to the coastline. We are awaiting feedback on night visibility, but we have plenty of room to turn them up if necessary’.

Hydrosphere recently provided another five E8854 lanterns for the Port of London Authority (PLA) in a standard IALA white colour. The initial request was for a 6 NM day range, but after consultation between PLA and our team, a range of around 4.5 NM with a bright sky background was agreed upon as the preferred option.

We supplied these lights for several PLA locations, including the ports of Cliffe and Tilbury and the Canvey Island tanker terminal. The EKTA units have replaced ageing halogen warning lamps and are used as warning lights to signal ship movements on and off PLA berths to nearby passing marine traffic.

For further information about our range of leading lights or our other state-of-the-art marine aids to navigation solutions, please contact us at +44 (0)1420 520374 or email