for use on Weds 10th May
A new beacon will appear on the Nelson seascape today - weather permitting. The 'North Cardinal Beacon' will stand 12.m above high water and will gather weather and wave information to assist pilots bringing ships into and out of Port Nelson by providing real time information.
Port Nelson Infrastructure Manager Dick Carter said the steel beacon will be mounted on a pile driven into the seafloor 4km outside the Cut on the Tahunanui side of the shipping channel.
"The beacon has been constructed by Reliance Engineering and will be fitted with sophisticated wind and wave monitoring equipment that we are importing from overseas," he said. "It will be able to transmit information on tide height, wave height and interval and wind speed, and will link to information from a new current meter on a pile beacon just inside the Cut, back to the pilots' office at the port."
The pile beacon also houses a powerful navigation light (9 nautical mile range) that can be seen by ships approaching the Port.
Mr Carter said with more accurate information pilots would be able to accurately determine the under-keel clearance for incoming and outgoing vessels, depending on sea conditions.
"Nelson is a tidal port and ships are getting bigger and bigger," he said. "We need accurate information on wave height and sea depth for safe management of ships entering and departing our port."
The information gathered will also be programmed into the Port Nelson simulator at the Launceston maritime college, used for training pilots in the safe handling of vessels under all conditions.
Once the beacon is erected, equipment will be installed over the next few weeks. It is expected the weather station will be operational in July. Boaties are reminded to keep an eye out for the new beacon when they are outside the Cut.
A pile driving barge will leave Port Nelson this morning to begin work, weather permitting.