Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Aids to navigation (AtoN)

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) looks after hundreds of visual and electronic aids to navigation at almost 400 sites around the coastline.

Our aids to navigation

AMSA manages a network of about 500 aids to navigation at hundreds of sites around Australia's coastline.

These visual and electronic aids help mariners make safe and efficient passages.

The network includes:

  • traditional lighthouses
  • beacons
  • buoys
  • radar transponder beacons (racons)
  • Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS)
  • Automatic Identification System (AIS) stations and met-ocean sensors such as broadcasting tide gauges, wave rider buoys, current meter and a weather station.

AMSA’s aids to navigation are used as key navigational tools by seafarers, enabling them to take responsibility for their own safety at sea.

By maintaining and improving this service, AMSA is making coastal navigation safer and helping prevent loss of life and marine pollution that could result from wrecked or stranded vessels.

Our navigation sites

Our map will show you where our aids to navigation sites are located around the Australian coastline.

Our interactive map of historic lighthouses

We have 55 historical lighthouses which you can view using our interactive map.

Heritage management

AMSA operates many sites that qualify under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and state legislation for heritage listing.

We have an obligation to protect and preserve the natural, cultural, indigenous and historic integrity of the sites.

AMSA has worked with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to develop a heritage management plan to protect and manage the Dent Island lightstation, which was established in 1879.

A heritage register and management plans for other sites are being developed.

Related information


The network is used primarily by the commercial shipping industry and provided in accordance with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) obligations and international best practice reflected in guidance issued by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). AMSA is an active member of both the IMO and IALA who work together to improve aids to navigation standards globally.
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