The Ports Authority of the Turks and Caicos Islands has entered into a contract to install 29 new solar channel demarcation lights along the 2.5 miles length of Bellefield Landing channel and the diversion leading to Sandy Point, North Caicos.
There has been an increase in commercial and private vessel traffic between North Caicos and Providenciales, both by residents and tourists. Most of the traffic takes place through the channel leading to Bellefield Landing and Sandy Point (North Caicos Yacht Club). Both Bellfield Landing Port and the North Caicos Yacht Club are on the west coast of the island, and currently share a common 2.5 miles long shipping lane. An estimated 6 ferries visit North Caicos each day from Providenciales carrying about 200 passengers. Safe maritime travel depends on functioning aids to navigation (ATONs). The channel demarcations (lights) have deteriorated over years to the extent that no functioning lights are in place. This makes navigation through the channel unsafe particularly at night, except by very experienced seamen. Given that the airport on North Caicos is closed there is a greater dependency on travel by sea. The absence of channel demarcations (lights) also, therefore, contributes to a health risk to the population as medical evacuation is difficult at nights.
These lights are to be installed at the top of 10 feet long x 8 inches PVC posts at predetermined GPS coordination along the channel.