Administration and Management of Aids to Navigation


(1)Organization of Aids to Navigation 
 Once,aids to navigation are constructed, they are required to operate constantly without a moment's stop,as vessels from countries all over the world depend on the facilities. 
  The facilities must be of uniform characteristics and performance. 
  Therefore, in most countries,the government organ or similar national agencies are responsible for the eishment and operation of aids to navigation. 
  In Japan,from the Meiji era,the government has solely been responsible for the establishment and operation of aids to navigation. 
 Private organs must receive permission from the government to establish aids to navigation,and the facilities must receive in spection from the government. 
  In Japan,January 1868,under the Foreign Affairs Secretariat,a lighthouse officer was appointed. 
  Hence the Lighthouse Department has been transferred to the Foreign Affairs Department,the Ministry of Finance,the Home Affairs Department,the Engineering Department, the Ministry of posts and Telecommunications,the Ministry of Transport and Communication,and the Ministry of Transport. 
 With the establishment of the Maritime Safety Agency as an outer department of the Ministry of Transport,the Aids to Navigation Service has been under the jurisdiction of the Maritime Safety Agency. 

(2)Management System of Aids to Navigation 
 Formerly, resident staff at major coastal lighthouses carried out the maintenance and the operation of lighthouses and lighted buoys in nearby ports. 
  The operating area is small, and the staff are required to live in inconvenient quarters in remote areas. 
  With the installation of lighted buoys to indicate areas where submarine mines were placed during the pacific war,and the transfer of the control of aids to navigation under the control of local public bodies to the Central Government, by 1930,the number of aids to navigation reached the number three times the figure of the pre-war days. 
 With the development of marine transportation and fishing industries,it was quite obvious that the number of facilities must be increased to meet the growing demand. 
The situation called for an efficient administration system. 
The principle of the new administrative system was; 
 @To locate the office in a convenient site,to increase the efficiency of operation,and to improve the living standard of the staff. 
 ATo improve the automation of facilities so that the staff need not be stationed at the site as far as possible. 
 BTo provide boats and motor cars to establish a wide area management system and to increase the efficiency of operation. The new management system was starred in 1957.  The remarkable development of the electronics technology contributed to the automation of up-to-date facilities,accelerating the establishment of the new organization. 
  Today,except at facilities where the staff are required to stay for the operation of the facilities,the majority of the facilities are unattended. 
  With boats and motor cars,at fixed intervals,the staff are sent for the maintenance and repairs of the facilities. 
  Helicopters are also used in locations with difficult access from the sea. 
  At present,as offices to maintain and operate aids to navigation,as agencies of the eleven Regional Maritime Safety Headquarters,there are 79 aids to navigation offices,26 maritime safety offices and 6 Traffic Advisory Service Centers and 1 Loran Center. 

(3)Automation of Facilities 
 Aids to navigation provided with necessary equipment,automatically control the turning on and off the lights,change the electric bulbs, and in cases of power failure,switch on to a reserve power source (electric generator or batteries). At lighthouses with diesel generators(electric generator), the starting and stopping the engine,switching to a reserve power source,turning on and off the lights are operated automatically.  The operating condition of facilities at the lighthouses are supervised by the aids to navigation offices by the radio and the NTT circuits between the lighthouse and the office. 
  In the case of lighted buoys,a light failure alarm system of wireless radio is attached so that light failures are immediately notified to the office. 
  In case of fogs and snow,an equipment to recognize the situation is attached,and fog signals are blown automatically. 

(4)Availability of Natural Energy 
  At lighthouses,offshore fixed lights and lighted buoys where commercial electricity is not available,the power source depends on diesel generators and batteries.  Various problems are involved in the transportation of fuel and batteries. 
  Therefore,energy derived from the wind,waves and sunshine have been used as the energy source for aids to navigation. 
  In 1934,at an offshore fixed light,a light of 14.5 w from a solar cell apparatus was the first case where a natural energy source was applied.Today,solar cell apparatus of a maximum capacity of 1 kw are equipped at lighthouses. 
  The first wave activated generator gave a light of lO w,but at present, lights of 100 w are in use. 
Recently,a hybrid system of combining the solar generator and the wind activated generator,and the solar generator and the wave activated generator has been introduced. 
  To apply the use of energy derived from the wind,waves and sunshine is a favorable system for aids to navigation from the environmental point of view. 

(5)Local weather Information Service 
  Local Weather Broadcast Service provides local weather data collected at the major lighthouses throughout the country to vessels navigating on the sea. 
Formerly,upon the request from vessels,the lighthouse provided data of wind direction,Wind speed,visibility,weather,waves and swells col1ected at the lighthouse.Later,upon request for broadcasting of meteorological and marine information,in June,1949, regular information service by wireless telegraphy was started.  In 1954,for small boats that are not equipped with wireless telegraphy,a radio telephone system was developed so that information may be received by the radio. 
  The system has gradually been developed to cover all vessels. 
  In response to the request of the users,further development of the telephone service and frequent broadcasts are carried out to improve the service for the users.