Today we celebrate WAtoN Day 2023


Maritime administrations around the world are celebrating the World Marine Aids to Navigation (WatoN) Day today.

On WAtoN Day, we focus on aids to navigation’s (AtoN’s) important role in guiding ships safely through our waters, as well as the work of developing new technological aids to navigation.

Recently, the Danish Maritime Authority has carried out tests of drone-assisted inspection of floating AtoN in the area of Vejle Fjord in Denmark. The pilot project involved the utilisation of drones in order to clarify whether it is possible to streamline our obligatory supervision of privately owned and municipal floating AtoN in Danish waters.

When we inspect, for example, a buoy, we check whether its position matches the Sea Chart and our AtoN register, as well as whether the color and shape are in proper condition. By using drones for this inspection, we can very quickly get detailed images and position data, without having to sail out and manually inspect the AtoN. This is easier, faster and more environmentally friendly than traditional inspection methods that rely on fossil fuel-powered vessels.

This allows for more frequent and regular assessments of the AtoN, ensuring their continuous functionality and minimizing the risk of accidents or navigational hazards.

The pilot project in Vejle Fjord was carried out by WeFly A/S on behalf of the Danish Maritime Authority. The tests went very well indeed, and the DMA continues to evaluate into this new approach to AtoN inspection by drone from a range of different angles to support utilisation of the possibilities.

Facts about WAtoN Day:

  • Internationally, the day is marked under the name World Aids to Navigation Day (WAtoN Day).
  • The day was held for the first time in 2019 and is an annual recurring event on 1 July.
  • This year the main event will take place in the port city of Tangier in the Kingdom of Morocco
  • Read more about WAtoN Day on IALA's website