The legacy of the lighthouse has for centuries played a critical role for navigational safety. Lighthouses symbolise strength, durability and hope. They have immense social and historic value not only for seafarers but also local communities and their visitors.
Lighthouses tell a rich story of culture and architecture. From their position on original lands to their engineering brilliance, many are still in use today. Their optic design with its many moving parts, is a testament to the physicists and engineers that were involved in their original design and construction.
In 2018 at the 19th IALA Conference in Korea, the Incheon Declaration was announced. It formally recognised the role of lighthouses and their cultural heritage.
Under the declaration “Cultural heritage includes but is not limited to navigational, technological, material, industrial, social, environmental, architectural, maritime and local aspects. It lends itself to education and wider cultural and commercial activities”.
This acknowledgement emphasises lighthouses as just not unique but as a meaningful legacy for maritime history. The declaration identifies that they should be celebrated, maintained and restored for the benefit of our future generations.
The Incheon declaration encourages IALA members to raise awareness for the need to conserve and sustainably manage historical lighthouses. As members the sharing of knowledge, training and international cooperation is encouraged to strengthen capacity for coastal nations to manage their lighthouses in a co-ordinated manner.
National Authorities are obligated to carefully manage heritage properties within their regions. Conservation and maintenance activities are undertaken to ensure these sites retain their heritage significance. The aim is to prevent further deterioration, avoid major repairs and restore where practical and feasible.
Governing bodies around the world consider sites that have been identified as having outstanding heritage value. The criteria used to assess includes (but is not limited to):
The Australian Heritage Council as one example, has developed Guidelines for the Assessment of Places for the National Heritage List to aid in the process.
Heritage listed buildings often have stringent rules and caveats attached relating to the level of restoration that can be undertaken. This often includes its visual appearance, shape, footprint and location.
Before a restoration project is even considered, the undertaking of a risk assessment is important to identify:
Taking into consideration the outcome of a risk assessment, it may not always be feasible to restore the lighthouse to its completely original state.
In addition, mariners themselves may have greater navigational requirements than the original system. Lighthouses provide stable platforms for launching additional AtoN services, such as AIS and/or RACONs. Furthermore, there are more modern energy efficient systems as a means of powering the lighthouse whilst still retaining the original lens and design features.
Using efficient LED light source technology , can drastically reduce the power demands and extend maintenance periods, but also has a life of up to ten years, as compared to traditional bulbs requiring replacement annually.
Of utmost importance is safety, stability and its ongoing costs of operation. Reduced maintenance is also another distinct advantage.
IALA members and other authorities have access to technical recommendations and guidelines to assist them with lighthouse conservation. The technical documents include recommendations on conservation of the building, the use of modern light sources in traditional optics and selection and display of heritage artifacts.
The full list of guidelines are available in IALA’s Technical Documents Catalogue 2021 (2.6 Heritage and legacy p29).
On behalf of Karachi Port I am pleased to acknowledge your good service and provision of the new SL-75 solar marine lanterns installed by your firm in the harbour channel at Karachi Port. The new lanterns are very feasible and useful and equipped with the latest navigational technology.
-Captain Muhammad Altaf
As one of your new distributors (Belize and Honduras, Waller Marine Belize LTD), I would like to express my congratulations to you and your people in providing reliable, dependable and inexpensive products. Formerly we were distributors for a Canadian made product but these were found to be too expensive for the market and also offered only difficult and complicated programming. Our first order of lights from you (SL15’s) took only four days to arrive from Aussie Land, when I opened the box they were still flashing. I tested a SL60 (white) for four days (steady on) before it required a recharge…remarkable. I will be placing another order shortly. Keep up the good work.
-Capt Andy Suddes
We choose to sell Sealite … this is a long story, well we treat Sealite as our own and the relationship we have developed with Jeff and Chris and their attitude and commitment towards growing Sealite to this stage is remarkable. We feel at home when talking to them and the staff of Sealite and this in turn gives us more security and strength in selling products in India.
-Aliasgar E Patrawala
I just wanted to say thank you for the light and bracket Sealite supplied to Birkenhead Marina. As the other lights (old ones) need new batteries I will be replacing them with new lights from Sealite and the same brackets that you supplied with the light we received last week … Your product is excellent and the system of setting the light is good also. Thanks again for all your trouble.