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Northern Lighthouse Board

TECHNICAL FEATURE

The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) was created by Act of Parliament in 1786, with the intention of constructing, maintaining and administrating four lighthouses in Scotland.

Today the NLB oversees 83 major automated lighthouses, 117 minor lights, 118 buoys, 42 unlit beacons, 22 radar beacons, 16 fog stations and three differential ground positioning system (DGPS) stations.

The NLB has two ships, the MV Pharos and the MV Pole Star, for supply delivery, buoy working and oil rig navigational aid inspections.

From its headquarters in Edinburgh, the NLB controls an area stretching from Muckle Flugga in Shetland, to Chicken Rock off the Isle of Man. The NLB, together with the Commissioners of Irish Lights (Eire and Northern Ireland) and Trinity House (England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar), make up the General Lighthouse Authorities for the UK and Ireland.

Although administered by the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions, the NLB is wholly funded by a share of the Light Dues, which are paid by all commercial ships and fishing vessels over 10m in length calling at British and Irish ports.

The NLB has long been at the forefront of navigational technology. The NLB's light buoys were all converted to solar power four years ago, with all major lighthouses fully automated a year later.

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