Tideland Signal's self-contained SolaNOVA-65 lanterns mounted on Floatex elastic beacons are being used in Genoa University's Arion Life project designed to protect dolphins swimming in the Mediterranean.
The main objective of the project is to improve the conservation status of bottlenose dolphin, as well as other cetaceans and turtles that are protected by habitat legislation but very exposed to threats from human activity and resource exploitation. The project is designed to address the dangers posed by commercial and leisure craft, including collisions and noise pollution. It focuses on areas with a high level of tourism and fishing activity such as Portofino, where the first of the two buoys has been installed.
The Floatex buoys are positioned to warn commercial shipping as well as fishing and sport boats away from the most sensitive habitat areas. In addition to Tideland's powerful LED lanterns, they carry a range of electronic equipment, including underwater microphones. This is part of an automatic communication system that identifies the presence of the dolphins and reports back to a dedicated web site which is also accessible via screens located in local yacht havens.
The Tideland SolaNOVA-65 lanterns which warn off craft in the region of the dolphins' habitat is a self-powered unit incorporating solar panels and an integral battery, making it highly suitable for isolated buoy installations. According to the manufacturer, t is virtually maintenance-free, indestructible and can reach or exceed a range of 7NM (T=0.74). It is also compact, ultra-lightweight and available with a wide range of vertical divergence in the lens - up to 20º and even 30º. This feature enables mariners to see the light in the roughest seas and is beyond the capability of any other lantern currently available on the market.
Floatex Elastic Beacons consist of a galvanized tubular steel structure with roto-molded polyethylene foam-filled float, surmounted by a signaling tower. Compared to traditional chain or cable buoy mooring systems, the design offers numerous advantages, such as accuracy in signaling the point to be marked. Due to the vertical uplift provided by the submerged float, the buoy remains extremely stable and the lantern, which can be positioned at considerable height above sea level, is always visible between waves, even in the most extreme weather conditions.
This stability also simplifies maintenance and makes for easy installation of instrumentation and wireless data transmission systems, Tideland said. Compared to traditional buoys, the Floatex Elastic Beacon needs little maintenance since there are no chain sections or surfaces exposed to the action of the water-line.