Under Section 193 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses are appointed as the General Lighthouse Authority for Scotland and its adjacent seas and islands, in addition to the Isle of Man. Under Section 195 of the act, we are vested with responsibility for the superintendence and management of all associated lighthouses, buoys and beacons.
We have provided a vital safety service to mariners since 1786 and are responsible for the superintendence and management of all lights, buoys and beacons within Scottish and Isle of Man waters. Our service makes a significant contribution to the prevention of accidents and incidents around the coastline, safeguarding not only lives and property, but also protecting our precious marine environment.
We currently operate and maintain 207 lighthouses and 170 buoys as well as providing radio aids to navigation (AtoN). We are also responsible for ensuring other AtoN providers in our area, such as port authorities, are conforming to international standards. We operate two ships NLV PHAROS and NLV POLE STAR. The ships carry out buoy work, deliver stores and supplies to lighthouses and inspect navigation aids on oil and gas rigs in the Scottish sector.
Our principal concern is with safety: the safety of the mariner at sea; the safety of our own people employed in or around some of the world’s most dangerous coastlines; and the safety of the environment in which we, and those who come after us, must live and work.