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Visual and electronic navigation tools

We manage a network of about 500 visual and electronic aids to navigation (AtoN) at hundreds of sites around Australia's coastline.

The network includes:

  • traditional lighthouses
  • beacons
  • buoys
  • radar transponder beacons (racons)
  • Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS)
  • Automatic Identification System (AIS) AtoN
  • Met-ocean sensors such as:
    • broadcasting tide gauges
    • directional wave rider buoys
    • current metres
    • weather stations.

Our AtoN are used as key navigational tools by seafarers, enabling them to take responsibility for their own safety at sea.

By maintaining and improving this service, we are making coastal navigation safer and helping prevent loss of life and marine pollution that could result from wrecked or stranded vessels.

Our navigation sites

Our AtoN site map will show you where our AtoN sites are located around the Australian coastline.

Our interactive map of historic lighthouses

Our network of operational aids to navigation includes 55 historical lighthouses which you can view using our heritage lighthouse interactive map.

Heritage management

We operate many heritage listed sites and have an obligation to protect and preserve the natural, cultural, indigenous and historic integrity of the sites.

We have worked with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to develop the Dent Island lightstation heritage management plan. Heritage management plans for other sites are being developed.

About the AtoN network 

    The AtoN network is used primarily by the commercial shipping industry and provided in accordance with International Maritime Organization (IMO) obligations and international best practice reflected in guidance issued by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). We are an active member of both the IMO and IALA who work together to improve aids to navigation standards globally.

    Our obligation to protect and preserve the natural, cultural, indigenous, and historic integrity of the sites is legislated through the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and state legislation.

    Related information

    Find out more about our navigational services at Navigational Services in Australian Waters 2010-2025.

    Last updated: 

    Monday 3 December 2018