On This Day in Trinity House History – 12 August


The General Lighthouse Fund is Established

The Merchant Shipping Act, 1898, abolished the Mercantile Marine Fund and established the General Lighthouse Fund.

The aids to navigation service provided by Trinity House is financed from ‘Light Dues’ levied on commercial vessels calling at ports in the British Isles, based on the net registered tonnage of the vessel. The rate is set by the Department of Transport, and annually reviewed. Light Dues are currently charged at 40 pence* per net registered ton, subject to a maximum charge of £16,000 per voyage. Vessels are charged for a maximum of nine voyages per annum. Tugs and fishing vessels are liable for annual payments based on the registered length of the vessel.

Light dues are paid in to the General Lighthouse Fund (GLF), which is under the stewardship of the Department for Transport. The fund is used to finance the lighthouse services provided by Trinity House, the Northern Lighthouse Board (responsible for Scotland and the Isle of Man) and the Commissioners of Irish Lights (responsible for the waters around both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland). Major initiatives such as lighthouse and lightvessel automation and the solarisation of buoys and a growing number of lighthouses have made a significant contribution to the reduction of Light Dues.

Busy Shipping Lane (photo by C Bagguley)

Busy Shipping Lane (photo by C Bagguley)

* Correct at 12 August 2014.