The first “World Marine Aids to Navigation Day (WAtoN-Day)” took place on 1 July last. A date chosen to commemorate, promote and publicise all the port maritime systems, devices, and services used to improve the safety and efficiency of navigation, as well as the preservation of the environment.
The navigation aid harmonisation festival
This event is sponsored by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). IALA is a non-profit international technical association founded in 1957. Its main purpose is the exchange of experiences among everyone involved in the navigation aid sector (, navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants, scientific institutes, etc.) with the aim of harmonising these aids globally and thus making sea transport safer and more efficient, while protecting the environment.
And it was Spain that put the idea of celebrating this day to IALA, and was therefore the country selected to host the central event on an international level of the first year of this event, through the coordination of State Ports. However, the different member countries of IALA were invited to create their own agenda of events, with the event therefore taking place in several countries, including Denmark, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Japan and Korea.
The celebration included activities such as exhibitions, open houses and conferences in different locations and a central event in Palma de Mallorca, which was attended by acting Minister of Public Works, José Luis Ábalos. This reiterated the commitment of a country with a total of 4,122 navigation aids, 1,916 of which are managed by the 28 Spanish Port Authorities, including 187 lighthouses.
Objectives of the WAtoN-Day
The objective of this world day is to highlight the technical aspects related to the safety of navigation and the preservation of the marine environment. This is achieved through the marine aids to navigation, which are all devices, systems, or services, outside of the ship, that are designed and operated with the aim of improving the safety and efficiency of the navigation of ships and individual vessels and/or maritime traffic.
The event involves the celebration of what has been achieved up to now, focusing on the classic symbol of the lighthouse. However, it also looks to the future, at technical innovation, such as the VTS control services and management of maritime traffic. And one of the intentions behind this celebration is to disseminate technological innovation in this area, in order to achieve global harmonisation of marine aids to navigation.
We at Prosertek are also working on the objectives pursued by the WAtoN-Day, something evidenced in our product catalogue, based on basic equipment for any port, such as bollards, defences and hooks. Worthy of mention in this regards is our berthing aid systems that facilitate the part of navigation that is most susceptible to accidents, which is performed within the ports.