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The Twilight Of Italy's Lighthouse Keepers

A forum to discuss lighthouses in Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia.

Postby TenofHearts12 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:22 am


"Your never too old to do goofy stuff" (Ward Cleaver, Leave It To Beaver)
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Postby island » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:12 am


On one hand;
In the UK, the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) is planning to shut down many of the coastal lamps, which have been largely made obsolete by GPS and electronic and satellite systems.

If this is true than what is the justification to maintain a system of ATONs, the physical aids-to-navigation (lighted or unlighted buoys and fixed beacons and the lighthouses)?

On the other hand;
“Lighthouses must be kept working,” says Adm. Alberto Gauzolino, who is in charge of the Lighthouse Authority of the Italian Navy. “GPS works for high-sea navigation. But along the coast, the commander needs to have everything under control, and a lighthouse is irreplaceable.”

There exists no electronic navigation system or device that can replace a fixed point visual landmarks such as the light from a lighthouse to determine position when navigating an irregular shaped coast.

From the U. S. Coast Guard Boat Crew Seamanship Manual:
There are three major categories of boat navigation. 1. Piloting: use of visible landmarks, ATONs, and soundings to determine position. 2. Dead Reckoning: use of compass and clock to determine distance and direction traveled from a known point. 3. Electronics: use of gps etc. to determine position.

To safely and effectively navigate all three methods should be used to be absolutely certain of ones position at all times. A search and rescue mission must never fail for failure of the navigation electronics, thus the boat operator (coxswain) must be highly skilled at both piloting and dead reckoning.
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