As stormy conditions continue around Ireland’s coastline with intermittent calm periods, the Commissioners of Irish Lights are on standby to respond to any marine emergency in Irish waters.

CIL is responsible for the maintenance of physical and electrical Aids to Navigation around the Irish coast and for ensuring safe navigation of passenger and cargo traffic in the event of wreck or other new dangers.

Granuaile lying alongside in Dún Laoghaire Harbour, Co Dublin. Photo Gillian Mills

Granuaile lying alongside in Dún Laoghaire Harbour, Co Dublin. Photo Gillian Mills

CIL has provided AtoN services in Ireland for over 200 years. While the time of the lightkeeper is no longer since automation in 1996, ensuring safe passage is essential to CIL’s service to mariners.

Irish and UK AtoN are monitored 24 hours-a-day via sophisticated network of remote coastal communication links. This ensures that Ireland’s coastal navigation network of 72 lighthouses, 29 beacons and 118 buoys meets the international availability standard of 99.8%, giving all mariners a high degree of confidence and security for passage planning.

 CIL is a modern Maritime Safety Organisation whose mission is to ‘provide aids to navigation and allied services for the safety of persons and infrastructure at sea, while also helping protect the marine environment and supporting the marine industry and coastal communities’.

While CIL can date its establishment to a 1786 Act of Parliament, the organisation prides itself in its innovative and efficient service delivery.

Today, the organisation remains committed to the efficient, effective sustainable delivery of services as it exploits new technology and new commercial opportunities.

CIL is based in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin and is responsible for providing marine aids to navigation (AtoN) under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.

  • CIL provides and maintains over 300 general aids to navigation
  • CIL manages 4,000 local aids to navigation
  • CIL marks or removes dangerous wrecks outside harbour areas around Irelan

CIL AtoN include radio aids such as Differential GPS (DGPS), Radar Beacons (Racon), and Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), as well as traditional visual aids such as lighthouses, buoys and beacons.

These AtoN complement Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as GPS, which are the primary means of navigation for most mariners. If satellites are not available, these AtoN provide position, spatial awareness, hazard marking and backup.

Further details: for further information