CCG Introduces Solar-powered LED Aids to Navigation

August 1, 2002
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With the help of a small Canadian technology company the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) has installed the first fully lit marine navigation system in the world. Carmanah Technologies Inc. (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) has invented a small, powerful, lightweight and inexpensive solar-powered marine light that completes the CCG’s quest to build a low-cost lighted navigation buoy that runs for five years with no maintenance.

“Carmanah lights are small and lightweight so local fishermen can install and remove them each year around the fishing season,” said Mike Clements, manager of the Aids to Navigation Program for the Canadian Coast Guard in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The St. John’s office of the Canadian Coast Guard provided valuable feedback during the product’s development. The result is that the CCG is now able to outline the entire Labrador and Newfoundland coast (23,000 kilometers) with 1,650 lighted buoys — half of which are outfitted with Carmanah’s short range LED lights.

The CCG expects to save $830,000 annually in Newfoundland and $2,900,000 nationally by introducting lighted buoys that have a five-year lifespan.

Previously, large coast guard ships were needed to haul big buoys in to change their lights and batteries. Installation of the new, smaller lights and buoys can be contracted out to small operators in local communities, helping create employment and give locals control over the navigation lights they rely on. This is expected to save fuel costs and ship time and allow the CCG to focus their resources on other tasks such as search and rescue and environmental protection. For further information, visit