Navigation in Wind Farms

RADAR in a windfarm

RADAR image from Thanet OWF click to enlarge
John Williamson photos

Sea floor in Thanet OWF

Seafloor image from inside Thanet OWF, click to enlarge










Risk Mitigation in the UK

Tom Watson serves as Fishery Liaison Officer (FLO) managing the activities of >270 large and medium sized vessels fishing in the vicinity of five wind farms in the Irish Sea between the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.  He is a former commercial fisherman and trade representative.

 As FLO, Tom provides notifications to this fleet of vessels on a nearly daily basis through email.  Notifications include information on navigational hazards, construction or maintenance activities, and often include pictures of vessels that should be avoided.  Following below are samples of typical notifications.

Tom Watson fisheries liaison to DONG Energy edited

Tom Watson, FLO, UK

 This is an example of risk mitigation intended to enable fishermen to gain access to fish resources in wind farms as conditions permit.  Other mitigation measures are described in the UK FLOWW standards (Fishery Liaison with Offshore Wind and Wet-renewables) which are periodically negotiated in a joint working group of the fishing and windpower industries.  FLOs report to the National Federation of Fishing Organizations and are paid by NFFO from funding assessed to windpower companies.  (More on the UK FLOWW standards click here.)

 Robin Rigg OWF construction activities page 2

Robin Rigg OWF routine operations page 1

 Walney OWF

Email from Tom Watson, To Fleet, June 3, 2013:

Dear All,


 The new section of cable between Turbine E03 and the Sub-Station inside WALNEY 1 has not been buried and remains exposed on the seabed.  This because the seabed in the area between E03 and the Sub-Station has proved to be too soft for the tracked ROV to perform as intended, the energised cable will remain on the seabed until a solution to the Post Lay Burial is found.

 The survey vessel ‘MS SANDER’ (picture attached) will conduct a Multi Beam Echo Sounding Survey of the exposed cable tomorrow Tuesday 4th.

 All of the Turbines at the WALNEY 1 & 2 OFFSHORE WIND FARM will remain operational and switched to automatic and producing power to the National Grid.

 All mariners, and especially fishermen, are requested that unless on specific business, or that there are circumstances relating to their own safety or the safety of others that make it necessary to transit the site, the advice is to keep well clear and keep outside of the perimeter of WALNEY 1 until you have been informed that the cable has been buried.

 Any mariners who do decide to navigate the Wind Farm during this period of maintenance work do so at their own risk, they are advised to familiarize themselves with the latest navigation or survey information issued about the Wind Farm before doing so and communicate with the service vessels on VHF Channel 16 or 12.

 Please refer to the attached ‘Kingfisher Flyer’ for the positions of the Turbines and do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information regarding this work schedule.  All of the other power cables are buried (both infield and export) and anybody who is unsure of the ROCK DUMP positions along the export cable routes should contact me.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 The WAVE RIDER BUOY has been removed from WALNEY 1


The 4 Buoys marking what was the wet storage area inside of WALNEY 2 are still in place although there are no anchors or obstructions on the seabed.

Position of Wet Store Buoys :                            Lat 54     04.38N          Long 003     37.48W

These Buoys are equipped with solar powered quick flash lights and will be removed at some future date.

 Until notice has been given that these buoys have been removed all mariners, and especially fishermen, wishing to navigate within the Wind Farm for whatever reason are advised to note these positions and enter them on their charts / plotters and keep clear.…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


If any fishermen are considering setting any pots within the Perimeter of WALNEY 1 or WALNEY 2 they are advised to make sure that their gear is properly marked and weighted and is clear of any of the Turbines. They are advised to lay their gear up and down the lanes rather than across the Inter-Array or Infield Cables and are advised to use weights rather than anchors.

Any gear found to be inside the 50 meter Advisory Safety Zone will be moved to the shore by the service craft in order to stop it fouling on the J-Tubes or on the  underwater fittings of the Turbine.

 Please contact me with the position of the gear so that I can pass this on to the service craft and they can monitor it and also keep clear of it when carrying out their maintenance routines.

Any fishing vessel using towed gear is advised / requested to tow up and down the lanes rather than across the Inter-Array or Infield Cables

The MCA have requested me to add that they provide a leaflet, free of charge, with the recommended method of marking gear.  Small service vessels will also operate within the Wind Farm on general maintenance duties as and when required.

 Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.  

Regards  :  Tom Watson  Tel…………Mobile 123456789   Home 123456789

Ormonde OWF construction activities page 1Email from Tom Watson; To Fleet; May 6, 2013

 Dear All,

 SUB-STATION  Piling at the Sub-Station position is now complete and preparations are being made for the heavy lift catamaran ‘RAMBIZ’ to install the top section of the Sub-Station from the barge ‘VEKA 3303’, these vessels are accompanied by AHT and escort tugs ‘MULTRA TUG 4, ‘KESTREL’ and ‘MTS VALIANT’, all work is weather dependent.

All mariners are advised to respect the perimeter of the Wind Farm, as marked below, as a construction site and keep clear.

EXPORT CABLE LAY ‘STEMAT SPIRIT’ accompanied by the support vessels ‘COASTAL VANGUARD’ and the workboat ‘ODIN’ are engaged on the second EXPORT CABLE pull in from the Landfall at Middleton Sands and Cable Lay out to KP 9, the unsettled weather has caused delay.  (pictures of  vessels attached)   The Guard Vessel ‘HEADWAY’ is on station to guard at the crossing area of the Barrow cable as well as the lay down area for the export cables ends at PK9. ………………………………………………………………

The Rock Dump Vessel ‘ROCKPIPER’ is continuing with Filter Stone Laying at Turbine positions and will re-load at Holyhead.


 If anybody requires any further information or are unsure about any of the above please do not hesitate in contacting me.  Regards  :  Tom Watson

 Walney Benthic Survey 2013

Ormonde OWF construction activities page 2