Northern Lighthouse Board

NLB Logo NLB Logo The Mission Statement of the Northern Lighthouse Board is “To deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective Aids to Navigation service for the benefit and safety of all Mariners”.

Navigating around Scotland’s shores has always been a hazardous undertaking, with over 6000 miles of coastline, including some of the most beautiful and treacherous in Europe. In 1786 a Commission was set up, now known as the Northern Lighthouse Board and based in Edinburgh, tasked with building four lighthouses around the coasts of Scotland.

Over the years more lights followed and today the Board is responsible for a network of over 200 lighthouses around Scotland and the Isle of Man. Given the rapid changes in maritime practices marine navigation is not just about lighthouses; the mariner now has a wide choice of aids to navigation, ranging from satellite using Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS), through integrated charting systems, eLoran, radar beacons (racons) to buoys and, of course, lighthouses.

NLV Pharos on duty NLV Pharos on duty To assist the Board in their duties it operates two ships NLV PHAROS and NLV POLE STAR. The ships carry out buoy work, deliver stores and supplies to lighthouses and inspect navigation aids on oil and gas rigs in the Scottish sector. The Board are funded by light dues - a charge made on ships entering UK and Irish ports.

The Board’s principal concern is with safety: the safety of the mariner at sea; the safety of its own people employed in or around some of the world’s most dangerous coastlines; and the safety of the environment in which we, and those who come after us, must live and work.

The Northern Lighthouse Board is responsible for the waters around Scotland and the Isle of Man - a coastline of around 6,214 miles (10,000km) and 790 islands. (Source Scottish Statistics)

More information on the Northern Lighthouse Board is available at