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Publications on Aids to Navigation

Beside nautical charts, the conscientious mariner will have other nautical manuals on board, such as Coast Pilots and List of Lights.
Charts as well as the List of Lights are published in annual intervals and must be kept up to date with regular (most weekly) publication of the "Notices to Mariners".

List of Lights

The "List of Lights" is a publication of the national coast guard authorities or hydrographic offices, offering a detailed description of lights, day beacons, radio beacons and fog signals used as aids to navigation. It is published annually and is intended to furnish more complete information concerning these aids to navigation than can be conveniently shown on nautical charts. It is meant to be used supplementary to nautical charts and Coast Pilots.

The two most widespread List of Lights are:

Below is a short description of the contents of these publications.

The Admiralty List of Lights and Fog Signals (UK)

The eleven volumes that make up the series of the English Admiralty List of Lights and Fog Signals for the World (NP74 - NP84) provide a complete and comprehensive listing of all lighthouses, lightships, lit floating marks (over 8m of elevation), fog signals and lights of navigational significance - world wide.

The information contained within each publication focuses primarily on the characteristics of lights and fog signals, together with a detailed and comprehensive listing of equivalent foreign language light descriptions. Tables for the calculation of the geographical and luminous ranges of lights are also included.

Details for all lights listed within each publication are tabulated to include:

  • Identifying number.
  • Location and or name.
  • Geographical co-ordinates.
  • Characteristics and intensity.
  • Elevation in meters.
  • Range in sea miles.
  • Description of structure.
A sample page can be seen here.


The Admiralty List of Lights and Fog Signals offers global coverage as follows:

  • Volume A (NP74) - British Isles and North Coast of France
  • Volume B (NP75) - Southern and Eastern Sides of the Northern Seas
  • Volume C (NP76) - Baltic Sea
  • Volume D (NP77) - Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Western Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea
  • Volume E (NP78) - Mediterranean, Black Sea and Red Sea
  • Volume F (NP79) - Bay of Bengal and Pacific Ocean
  • Volume G (NP80) - Western Side of South Atlantic Ocean and East Pacific Ocean
  • Volume H (NP81) - Northern and Eastern Coasts of Canada
  • Volume J (NP82) - Western Side of North Atlantic Ocean
  • Volume K (NP83) - Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean
  • Volume L (NP84) - Northern Seas

New Editions of the Admiralty List of Lights and Fog Signals are published annually, with important changes to lights (including temporary ones) listed in Section V of Weekly Admiralty Notices to Mariners.

The Admiralty List of Lights and Fog Signals can be purchased through Admiralty Distributors worldwide.

List of Lights, Radio Aids and Fog Signals (USA)

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (USA) publishes a List of Lights, Radio Aids and Fog Signals in seven volumes divided geographically as follows:

  • PUB. 110 - Canada, Greenland and Eastern Coasts of the American Continent (excluding US East Coast)
  • PUB. 111 - Australia, Pacific Ocean and Western Coasts of the American Continent (excluding US West Coast)
  • PUB. 112 - Indian Ocean and Eastern Coasts of Africa
  • PUB. 113 - The West Coasts of Europe and Africa, the Mediterranean and Black Sea
  • PUB. 114 - British Isles, English Channel and North Sea
  • PUB. 115 - Norway, Iceland, Norway and Eastern Atlantic Ocean
  • PUB. 116 - Baltic Sea with Kattegat, Belts and Sound and Gulf of Bothnia

Major fixed and outermost floating aids to navigation, such as buoys, safety fairway buoys, traffic separation buoys, etc., are listed. Other floating aids are not generally listed. Storm signals, signal stations, radio direction finders, radio beacons, RACONs and RAMARKs located at or near lights are also listed.

The List of Lights for the US Coasts comprising seven volumes is published by the US Coast Guard. The volumes are divided geographically as follows:

  • Vol. I - Atlantic Coast - St. Croix River, ME to Shrewsbury River, NJ
  • Vol. II - Atlantic Coast - Shrewsbury River, NJ to Little River, SC
  • Vol. III - Atlantic Coast - Little River, SC to Esconfina River, Fl
  • Vol. IV - Gulf Coast - Esconfina River, Fl to Rio Grande, TX
  • Vol. V - Mississippi River System
  • Vol. VI - Pacific Coast and Pacific Islands
  • Vol. VII - Great Lakes

Coastal Pilots and Cruising Guides

Just as for aids to navigation, charts are limited in what can be shown by symbols and abbreviations regarding channels, hazards, winds and currents, restricted areas, port facilities, pilotage service, and many other types of information needed by a navigator for safe and efficient navigation. These deficiencies are remedied by the Coast Pilots and Cruising Guides published by different national coast guard authorities and cruising association. Whereas Coast Pilots contain valuable information on local weather conditions, special regulations, services and facilities, Cruising Guides are dealing with more general information such as interesting places to visit or attractive anchorages.
Both the Coast Pilots and Cruising Guides are of great value when used in combination with the appropriate charts both during the planning stage of a voyage and in the actual transit of the area.

Generally the publications issued by the local authorities are the most detailed and most up-to-date, but very often they are not available in English.

Popular Coast Pilots edited in English are e.g. the series of the Pilots published by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson (St. Ives Cambridgeshire England) and also the series of the British Admiralty Pilots.

Notices to Mariners

The Notices to Mariners are the primary means for making public information concerning aids to navigation, hazards to navigation, and other items of marine information of interest to mariners.
These notices are essential to all navigators for the purpose of keeping their charts, Light Lists, Coast Pilots and other nautical publications up-to-date. These notices are usually published weekly and may be obtained from the same authorities publishing the according nautical manuals.


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