Ports' navigational aids are in shipshape

Navigational aids which guide mariners and enhance safety at Wisbech and Sutton Bridge Ports have been given the seal of approval following an annual inspection.

Wisbech Port

The network of river beacons and navigation buoys managed by the Nene Port Authority, Fenland District Council, were inspected by seafarers' charity Trinity House last month.

Under the Government's Port Marine Safety Code, all aids to navigation maintained by port and harbour authorities and any other Local Lighthouse Authorities must be maintained to standards set by General Lighthouse Authorities and be subject to periodic review. 

As the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales, Trinity House, which has played a major role in UK and international maritime safety for over 500 years, inspects and audits over 11,000 local aids to navigation every year. It ensures the aids are functioning correctly for mariners and that ports are in good order.

Cllr Ian Benney, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder responsible for Port and Marine Services, said: "Aids to navigation are vital tools that mark out safe waters for mariners, in a similar manner to traffic signals on our roads. Our marine team maintains 65 river beacons and 29 navigation buoys in Wisbech and Sutton Bridge waters, helping vessels to get in and out of the ports safely and marking the navigable water for shipping channels, shallow water, wrecks, windfarm power cables, gas pipelines, telephone line crossings and much more.

"Our recent inspection received a 100% audit score with no deficiencies. This is a great score to receive and is testament to the team's hard work throughout the year."

Wisbech and Sutton Bridge's aids to navigation were inspected by one of Trinity House's Elder Brethren and Master Mariners, Captain Nigel Hope.


Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community with a statutory duty as a General Lighthouse Authority to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

The Corporation of Trinity House was incorporated by Royal Charter by Henry VIII on 20 May 1514 and today work to a very similar mandate, with powers derived from a renewed Royal Charter of 1685 and the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

Trinity House is governed by a Court of 31 elected Elder Brethren, supported by a fraternity of Younger Brethren selected from across the nation's maritime sector. Elder Brethren are sworn in from the ranks of over 400 Younger Brethren and retain their title for life.

Over the centuries, the Court's powers and interests have grown to the extent that there are very few maritime affairs that do not involve at least one of the Brethren. There have been many high-ranking and well-known Brethren over the years, including Samuel Pepys, Sir Winston Churchill, William Pitt and the Duke of Wellington.

The Court Master is Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, sworn in in 2011 and re-elected annually.

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