New navigation system in Finland

Smart fairway pilot increases maritime safety in Saimaa deep fairway.

Lots of navigable rivers. lakes and canals in the US. Could this be something to copy from Finland?? (Subject to EU approval)

I didn’t understand it. The video talks about ‘atons’ Or some such but never explained it. I’m guessing it means ‘aids to navigation’ but have never heard them referred to in that way.

So you have navigation light buoys that can be controlled remotely but to do what? What’s special?

1 Like

ATON = Aid TO Navigation, generally buoys, sometimes written as AtoN

1 Like

The video doesn’t explain much. All I got was that the intensity of the lights can be remotely controlled from the bridge of a ship. There has to be more to it than that.

Safety is enhanced in particular by the fact that the pilots and VTS can adjust the light output of beacons and the rhythm of lights to support the navigation of vessels in poor visibility and weather conditions. The light output can be adjusted in real time centrally by the VTS center and, if necessary, even with a tablet used by the pilot.

How can giving the VTS and pilots the ability to adjust the lights on buoys improve safety?

I think, with dense fog, they can power the light to a level that would blind everyone under normal conditions.

Re: ATON/AtoN
I did see this denomination only in inland waters, as buoys or on bridges to indicate the span to pass or not to pass.

If visibility in fog is zero-zero , no amount of light intensity is going to penetrate.

Maybe there is a small thermonuclear warhead on top of every buoy, if there is fog the pilot detonates it and it clears all the fog away.

1 Like

OK, but I’ve never heard this term used by mariners verbally talking about atons as if it’s a commonly used term that we all understand. It’s the first time I’ve heard the word spoken.

I, too, hadn’t seen the term until recently, but when they started marking buoys (and other marks) with AIS, the USCG started using the term extensively. Not sure if that’s related, but that is when I noticed it (ca. 3-4 years ago).

1 Like

A few years back I had a chat with the (now former) USCG Admiral in charge of the Western Hemisphere. He was wondering how I would feel if they removed most AtoNs - everyone has GPS & AIS, right? I offered to have him out on my friend’s 1947 wooden sloop on a foggy day in San Francisco Bay - sort of got the conversation rolling. I explained that we not only use the buoys, but yes even the bells, gongs, whistles, and horns. But long-term the USCG would like to eliminate all of them so they can shift the budget to “warfighting”. I’m not making this up.