What does the Local Aids to Navigation Officer do?

I act as a key interface between local aid to navigation (AtoN) providers and Trinity House, communicating matters relating to the inspection of local aids to navigation. The scope of authorities includes—but is not limited to—ports, harbours, councils, utilities companies and renewable energy development companies.

By building strong relationships with these authorities, we are helping to maintain the safety of the mariner.

Tell us about a typical day in the Local AtoN team.

A typical day could begin with a casualty notification from a member of the public, notifying that a buoy has washed up on the beach. I would then investigate the charts for the area and our internal database to find the owner of the aid to navigation and contact them accordingly, advising that the buoy is missing and must be returned to station.

My mid-morning could consist of a meeting with our Inspector and Auditor to discuss the findings of the week and come up with solutions to any issues that have arisen.

My afternoon could then involve applications from authorities who are requesting to move their buoys, due to a shifting channel or other marine works. I would chart the new positions, analyse the risks and impacts in the area and prepare an Examiners Form, with my comments and recommendations on the request, to assist the Navigation (Examiner) Manager prior to them being accepted and signed off.

How do you process the data received from the inspection of 11,000 local aids to navigation?

On a weekly basis, I receive an inspection report from our Inspector, detailing the inspection results for on average 300 aids to navigation. I send out correspondence to the authorities, communicating what issues need to be rectified. This prompts action at the local authority.

At the end of the year, I consolidate all of the statistics for our Annual report to the Secretary of State, which is also used to direct Trinity House resources to the authorities requiring further auditing in the following year.

Does your role allow you to go out and about?

I have been fortunate to be able to join our Inspector of Seamarks for a week on the road at Lymington, Beaulieu and Exeter to observe the physical inspections of the aids and meet some of the Harbour Masters I usually liaise with from the office.

I also recently joined our Navigation (Examiner) Manager on THV Patricia for the Examiner’s sign-off of the new light at St Catherine’s Lighthouse.

What has been a highlight during your time with Trinity House?

My highlight at Trinity House is yet to happen in the coming months: I am the Project Lead for a redevelopment project, combining our internal AtoN management system and external AtoN availability database to a unified programme.

After a lot of hard work from the team, my highlight will be launch day for this new, online platform.

Do you have a favourite part of the job?

The preparation of our Annual Report to be delivered to the Secretary of State for the Department for Transport is definitely a highlight of the year. The whole team come together to consolidate the year’s findings.

My role in this is the preparation and trend analysis of the performance statistics of the marine aids to navigation for the inspection year.