We have been working with both the General Lighthouse Authority in the UK and CETMEF, the French Lighthouse Authority, for over 10 years, supplying them with a range of electronic ‘Aids to Navigation’ (AtoNs). More recently we have been awarded a number of new contracts to supply our most advanced AToNs system products ever.

Our experience has allowed us to develop AIS solutions that satisfy the specific requirements for Aids to Navigation. We offer a range of maritime domain systems to mark and monitor offshore structures, including instrumented buoys, wind and wave energy farms, oil and gas platforms, offshore docks, pipelines etc. to improve navigational safety and prevent collisions.

We have the best solutions on the market today, our technical expertise and experience of working with the major customers and governmental body’s  to provide aids to navigation (AToNs) solutions mean that we are second to none when it comes to low power consumption, environmental sealing, robustness, ease of installation, reliability and flexibility of the associated applications.

In 2001, and again in 2011, the General Lighthouse Authority, responsible for delivering a safe and cost-effective network of Aids to Navigation for the benefit and safety of all mariners in UK and Irish waters, and the French Lighthouse Authority (CETMEF), both leaders in AIS Aids to Navigation, chose our solutions.



The McMurdo AIS AtoN (Aid to Navigation) is an IALA compliant beacon that is designed to be installed on navigational hazards, offshore wind farms, oil and gas platforms/pipelines etc as well as fixed or floating aids to navigation such as buoys and markers, further enhancing their operation by alerting any AIS equipped vessels that are within range, while also providing additional data such as position, current status, real time warnings and reducing the risk of collision even in poor visibility.

There are two models available – the Kanaton 1 is an AIS transmitter only and the Kanaton 3 is a transmitter/receiver which allows it to be remotely controlled from a shore station network. The Remote Monitoring System uses a web-based application to receive the AIS data relayed from the AtoNs which is designed to be compatible with any new and current Aid to Navigation systems.

The units include a VHF and GPS antennas and are supplied with the necessary cables and connectors, along with any necessary hardware and software for configuration, testing and maintenance. The AtoNs can also be linked with a range of sensors, providing up to the minute hydrological, meteorological and other environmental data to the shore station. This real-time data can be used for a wide variety of purposes apart from navigational use including environmental protection and monitoring, navigation study and analysis, economic optimisation and more.


  • Kanaton 1 – AIS transmitter
  • Kanaton 3 – AIS transceiver
  • Can be linked with additional sensors
  • Remote control and configuration from shore station (Kanaton 3 only)
  • Can transmit the following AIS data:
    • Message 21 Identification of the aid to navigation (name, type, position etc)
    • Message 8 Meteorological and hydrological data
    • Message 6 Telemonitoring of AtoN
    • Message 12 Relaying of safety messages transmitted by a SART (Kanaton 3 only)
    • Message 14 Transmission of safety messages (Kanaton 3 only)







Racon devices are used at sea to mark navigational hazards as RADAR targets for presentation on a ship navigational radar display. The word Racon comes from combining RAdar and beaCON.

The McMurdo Marine Systems HEKLEO-SX Racon is a frequency agile all-weather radar transponder that works on both “X” band (3cm wavelength), and “S” Band (10cm wavelength) frequencies.

A HEKLEO-SX Racon responds to a radar interrogation by transmitting a Morse code character which appears on the passing ships radar display. When HEKLEO-SX Racon receives a ships interrogating radar pulse, it responds with a return signal on the same Radar frequency, this results in a special Radar target image icon appearing on the ships radar display. The icon takes the form of a short line of dots and dashes forming a Morse character radiating away from the fixed position of the HEKLEO-SX Racon as indicated on the ships radar display. The length of the line usually corresponds to the equivalent of a few nautical miles on the display. Once the Morse letter is displayed on screen, the bearing and distance of the HEKLEO-SX Racon from the vessel can be observed.

Even when numerous radar returns clutter the radar display, a coded Racon icon trace is an unmistakable feature on the radar display and provides the means for accurate and positive identification of a hazard to navigation.

HEKLEO-SX Racons are often used as aids to navigation when marking:

  • Lighthouses and navigation buoys (the majority are on buoys rather than lighthouses)
  • Offshore oil platforms and other marine structures
  • Environmentally-sensitive areas such as coral reefs
  • Navigable spans under bridges
  • To identify centre lines and turning points

In some parts of the World they are also used:

  • To indicate temporary, new and uncharted hazards (with a Morse character “D”)
  • As leading line Racons

With more than 5,500km of coastline France has some of the highest numbers of Navigation equipment in the EU. McMurdo Marine Systems’ HEKLEO-SX Racon was originally developed to fulfil the environmentally demanding requirements of the French Lighthouse and Navigation Authorities (CETMEF), who went on to equip the French coast with this cost effective and efficient navigation aid.


  • Latest technologies
  • Fully IALA compliant
  • Easy installation and programming
  • Maintenance free
  • Very low power consumption