Coquet Island has a new tower

AMSA Media release with bottom of the sea image

A powerful lantern, hoisted high into view of passing ships by twenty-four metres of stainless steel, keeps watch over the dangerous, tropical seas between Coquet and Howick Islands in Far North Queensland.

The iconic lattice steel of Coquet Island Tower, located 110 nautical miles north of Cooktown, has now been replaced by AMSA, with works completed in April last year.

Originally established in 1915 during the First World War, the tower has been replaced many times in the past century; the last time being 2004.

AMSA Principal Advisor Aid to Navigation (Aton) Engineering, Mr Greg Hansen, said that the tower was an important safety feature located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP).

“The Coquet Island Light overlooks a beautiful but hazardous area within the GBRMP Designated Shipping Area,” said Greg.

“Therefore, it was important that we replaced the tower that has been in use for just under two decades now, to ensure the safety of passing mariners. These structures can be exposed to some extreme weather and many of them are getting very old.

“We awarded the contract to a Townsville based company for the works. The new tower needed to meet our requirements of a long design life, with minimal through-life maintenance.

“Extending the life of the tower will reduce both the environmental impact and long term cost.”

Greg said that due to the location of the AtoN, a lot of work went into making sure the environment around Coquet Island Tower was protected during the works.

“The new tower was built offsite, with a barge and vessel being mobilised from Cairns to transport it, along with the crew, equipment and machinery required for the structure replacement.

“We are very cognizant of ensuring we respect the environment and also the traditional owners when conducting works of this nature. As such, a lot of planning goes into the design phase.”

As they reach the end of their economic life, AMSA may replace other existing galvanised steel towers with stainless steel, further enhancing the efficiency of the AtoN network.

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