About IALA

What is IALA

IALA is a non profit, international technical association. Established in 1957, it gathers together marine aids to navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants, and, scientific and training institutes from all parts of the world and offers them the opportunity to exchange and compare their experiences and achievements.

IALA encourages its members to work together in a common effort to harmonise aids to navigation worldwide and to ensure that the movements of vessels are safe, expeditious and cost effective while protecting the environment.

Taking into account the needs of mariners, developments in techology and the requirements and constraints of aids to navigation authorities, a number of technical committees have been established bringing together experts from around the world.

The work of the committees is aimed at developing common best practice standards through publication of IALA Recommendations and Guidelines.

This work ensures that mariners have aids to navigation which will meet their needs both now and in the future. Thus IALA contributes to a reduction of marine accidents, increased safety of life and property at sea, as well as the protection of the marine environment.
IALA also encourages cooperation between nations to assist developing nations in establishing aids to navigation networks in accordance with the degree of risk for the waterway concerned.

The achievements

The purpose of IALA is to ensure that seafarers are provided with effective and harmonised marine Aids to Navigation services worldwide to assist in safe navigation of shipping and protection of the environment.

To achieve this aim IALA:

constantly reviews the services provided for shipping by Aids to Navigation and Vessel Traffic Service Authorities; the international regulations pertaining to the operating practices and equipment carriage requirements of shipping; and new and developing technologies that may improve the effectiveness of aids to navigation services or reduce the cost of providing the service without degrading its effectiveness;

provides detailed information to Authorities in Handbooks, such as the NAVGUIDE and VTS Manual, which are regularly reviewed and updated every four years.

develops and publishes:

  • recommendations on technologies and practices that are intended to improve the services being provided, such as Training of VTS personnel, the provision of AIS facilities by shore authorities, the implementation of DGNSS stations and the Photometry of Marine Aids to Navigation Signal Lights;
  • model courses to supplement the Recommendations on the training of VTS personnel; and
  • guidelines that either supplement recommendations or provide advice and guidance on how new and developing technologies can be used to improve the operational or cost effectiveness of services.

studies methods of introducing new and improved risk management techniques to assist in determining the optimum arrangement of aids to navigation in waterways.  

The future

IALA recognises that the maritime industry is going through a stage of rapid technological development and change, including developments in the design and operations of ships. IALA members face the challenge of providing appropriate aids to navigation to cater for high speed vessels, both currently in operation and in the future, and may use IALA risk assessment techniques in their planning.

The increasing complexity and amount of information available to the navigator emphasises the need to take into account the possibility of information overload and confusion during the design of new and innovative aids to navigation.

Protection of the marine environment and security needs may lead to regional VTS systems being merged into a global network of systems

IALA is involved with regional test beds for evaluating possible technology to meet the needs of marine transport in the future.