Our Locations and Ships

Our headquarters are in Edinburgh and it’s from here that we remotely monitor our network of lighthouses and aids to navigation. Around 80 staff are based at HQ. Technical operations are carried out at our Oban base where there are maintenance workshops and facilities for the construction of buoys and beacons. Our ships, NLV PHAROS and NLV POLE STAR are based in Oban. We also have Technicians based in Inverness, Shetland and Orkney.

Exterior of 84 George Street with flags

84 George Street
Tel: +44(0) 131 473 3100
Email: enquiries@nlb.org.uk

Oban base taken from above

NLB Oban
Gallanach Road
PA34 4LS
Tel: +44(0) 1631 562146
Email: enquiries@nlb.org.uk



We have had a base in Oban since 1904 and employ around 20 staff there. The team range from Administration, Stores, Information Systems, Helicopter and Buoy Co-ordination, Base Assistants and Engineers. Staff are engaged in the maintenance and refurbishment of floating aids to navigation (buoys) using modern and environmentally conscious processes. The solar powered navigational buoys are maintained to the highest standard to allow for six years continuous deployment “on station” in harsh environments, at the end of which the buoy is brought back to Oban for refit after being replaced by an exact duplicate. The buoy refurbishment process involves descaling and paint application systems, ultra high pressure washing, airless paint spraying, thickness testing and electronic systems monitoring and repair.

Oban is also the base port for our two ships NLV PHAROS and NLV POLE STAR. The ships deliver stores and supplies to lighthouses, carry out buoy work and the statutory inspection of navigation aids provided by ports, harbours and other third parties.

The base also provides berthing facilities for visiting cruise vessels and MV HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS is a regular visitor during the Summer season.

Our ships carry out buoy work, deliver stores and supplies to lighthouses and inspect navigation aids on oil and gas rigs in the Scottish sector. PHAROS is also able to carry out helicopter operations, hydrographic surveying and wreck finding and other commercial work under contract. Between the two ships, there are 57 crew members, four Chief Engineers and four Masters who work on a rotating shift pattern.


Pole Star ship






Pharos with helicopter

Heli deck