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Supported by Trinity House

The United Kingdom’s Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community with a statutory duty as a General Lighthouse Authority to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

For the benefit and safety of all mariners

The Corporation of Trinity House was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1514 to regulate pilotage on London’s River Thames and provide for aged mariners. With a mandate that has expanded considerably since then, we are today the UK’s largest self-funded maritime charity, the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar and a fraternity of men and women selected from across the nation’s maritime sector.

Our long-standing familiarity with the channels, hazards, currents and markings of our coastline also qualify us to inspect and audit over 11,000 local aids to navigation, license Deep Sea Pilots and sometimes provide Nautical Assessors to the Admiralty Court.

Annually the maritime charity donates around £5m towards its charitable objects, including sponsoring cadet training, providing almshouses for retired mariners and funding educational programmes teaching safety at sea skills.

Safety at sea

Our mission as a General Lighthouse Authority is to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.


As the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, we provide over 600 aids to navigation to assist safe passage for vessels of all classes, from lighthouses and buoys to satellite-based systems.

As shipping lanes around the UK grow increasingly crowded and our demand for consumer goods rises, the safe transit of ships and seafarers is more important than ever.

Our work as General Lighthouse Authority is for the benefit and safety of all mariners and covers a sea area from Berwick-upon-Tweed on the north east coast to the Solway Firth in the north west, Gibraltar in the Mediterranean and the Dover Strait—the world’s busiest shipping lane.

Our lighthouses, buoys, lightvessels, beacons and electronic aids to navigation systems assist all mariners at all times and in all conditions.

At the business end of Trinity House we operate a fleet of vessels, working in our waters at the highest levels of seamanship: THV Galatea, THV Patricia and THV Alert. Coordinated and monitored around the clock by our Planning Centre in Essex, typical vessel activities include wreck location and marking, aid to navigation maintenance, towing, buoy handling and hydrographic surveying.

To ensure the safety of the mariner we take measures to make sure we can respond effectively should an incident occur, working closely with our partners at the Department for Transport and the MCA; we have a vessel ready to respond within six hours of the Dover Strait, carrying our instantly recognisable Emergency Wreck Marking Buoys.

Supporting Seafarers

A major theme of our long history has been the provision of education, welfare and support for mariners and their dependants.

The Trinity House Maritime Charity is the UK’s largest-endowed maritime charity, with a mandate to provide education, training and welfare for mariners of all ages.

This work is financed entirely through our registered charities, separate from our work as a General Lighthouse Authority.

Predating even the 1514 Royal Charter, our charitable duties emphasise training for prospective Merchant Navy officers and care for aged or distressed mariners and their dependants.

We also provide grants for many other maritime charities whose objectives align with our own.

Today, the charity disperses over £5 million to meet our goals; this includes providing almshouses for retired mariners and their dependants in Walmer, Kent and sponsoring cadets through the Merchant Navy Scholarship Scheme.

For centuries Trinity House has been an investor in skills and training, to ensure that our nation’s mariners are world class and our maritime industries are successful and sustainable.

"We sponsor 30 new Merchant Navy Cadets every year, training many on our own ships."

Our funding

Our work as a General Lighthouse Authority is financed separately, from Light Dues levied on mainly commercial vessels calling at ports in the British Isles, based on the net registered tonnage of the vessel. Light Dues are paid into the General Lighthouse Fund under the stewardship of the Department for Transport.

The fund finances the work of Trinity House and the Northern Lighthouse Board (Scotland and the Isle of Man) and Irish Lights in respect of Northern Ireland.

Reduced running costs have allowed Light Dues to come down by 28% in real terms since 2010 — saving millions for the shipowner.

The Light Dues rate is set by the Department for Transport, not by Trinity House or its sister General Lighthouse Authorities.

Trinity House’s Maritime and Corporate charities are entirely self-funded by incomes derived from endowed funds — such as the Trinity Village estate in south London — and the letting of rooms at its Grade I Listed headquarters.

More information

To find out more about Trinity House and our works as a General Lighthouse Authority and maritime charity, please visit our website, email a question to enquiries@trinityhouse.co.uk or visit our YouTube channel to watch a series of short videos about the work we do and why we do it.

Subscribe to Trinity House’s Notices to Mariners and quarterly newsletter

Notices to Mariners provide essential up to date information and advice to those navigating within our area of jurisdiction.

To subscribe to these updates as well as our newsletter, news alerts and other updates, please visit www.trinityhouse.co.uk/subscribe

Social media

Follow us on Twitter at @trinityhouse_uk