Working day in a lighthouse

Rochespoint lighthouse was established in june 1817, to guide ships to Cork Harbour, it is located in the entrance of Cork Harbour and gives a great view of the Atlantic Ocean.


Lighthouse from the Swansea- Cork ferry – Peter Newbold –

This almost 200 years old lighthouse, unfortunately, is losing its first purpose, with the advent of gps systems (ECDIS), large vessels, have much less needs for lighthouse, making them fall in disuse.
Sea-tech have been using Rochespoint LightHouse as a station to broadcast SeaFi signal up to 30 kilometers from the coast, SeaFi allows buoy, ships and crew have access to data resource like weather stations, cameras located on shore, or  internet.

On last Friday April 18th, Antonio and I, were together in Rochespoint under the suurpevision of Arnaud Disant – Sea-Tech Engineer – installing a new camera  in the Lighthouse Tower, the privileged view of the entrance of the Harbour, makes this spot the perfectg place to monitor vessels trafficking in and out Cork Harbour. Through the Seafi signal the camera can be accessed remotely by Cork pilots in Cobh pilot station, or by Master Alan Vaughan on board MV Denis Murphy, Port of Cork multi purposes survey vessel.

I am a brazilian engineering student who came to Ireland for study one year abroad. In the past few weeks as a intern at Sea-tech I`ve learned as much as I could, on the field at work and during the induction training supplied by Sea-Tech to all interns several years now. We have learned how important seaboard Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) are at sea nowadays.

Sea-tech holds a great responsibility of providing network and internet access in Cork Harbour, it means that regular maintenance has to be scheduled before some kind of problem possibly shows up. After training my colleague Antonio and I have been prepared to identify and solve issues related to Marine ICT.

In the past few days I have learned a great deal, delivering some practical work! I now think is not possible to learn by just sitting down behind a college desk or writing down  lecture notes. Actually I think, for a  engineering student, practical work is just as significant as the lectures that we receive in college.

In the second week of April I spent time on Spike Island. On top of the great view of Cork Harbour, Cobh and Ringaskiddy that I could enjoy, what really impressed me, is how fundamental it is to keep the ships and coastal stations up and working well before something happens, otherwise all communication and data transfer could be compromised. Weather in Ireland plays a strong role, gales, fog, rain, even birds nesting in a weather station can become a threat to technology.

Rochespoint Lighthouse, is not only, essential for surveillance, is also a Sea-Fi station, delivering Sea-Fi signal to ships outside Cork Harbour such as Merchant Tug Gerry O'Sullivan operated by Port of Cork. As I have said before the Lighthouses around the world have lost their initial purpose, some of them are being used as houses or simply demolished to make space for something else, it is pity, those places holds a vast history and should be preserved as cultural and historical places. SeaFi Horizon means a second life, for a lighthouse. Som maybe we should think twice before turning them into tourist attractions or simply getting rid of them on the base they are not so useful anymore.

Did you know, Rochespoint where SEA-Tech initiated the SeaFi project with students of the National Maritime College of Ireland, was also a station operated by Guglielmo Marconi Company. Marconi is often credited as the Radio inventor and he developped the firsts Wireless Telegraph Communications. Nowadays, Marconi's towers or even the Rochespoint lighthouse have change a lot, however Still, SeaFi offers an interesting similarity with  Guglielmo Marconi's work in Ireland...


Jonathan Borges Carmo

Intern at Sea-Tech Evolution Limited.