Marine pilots at the Port of Mackay will soon be ‘guided by the lights’.

Six new lead lights are in the final stage of installation at the Port and will be in place by the end of the year.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said the upgrade will increase the port’s potential to attract larger ships.

“Marine pilots use lead lights as visual reference points when guiding ships into and out of ports,” Mr Lewis said.

“The pilots are able to line up the lights, visible from the ship’s bridge and ensure they are on the right track.

“The new lead lights will improve accuracy in the pilot’s manoeuvring.

“This is one of many projects in which NQBP is investing to attract new customers to the Port of Mackay.”

“These projects will provide a boost to not only to the regional economy, but to Queensland.”

Comlek Group Project Manager Simon Gallagher welcomed NQBP’s award of the contract.

“Comlek is a local company with over a decade of experience in electrical engineering,” Mr Gallagher said.

“We have a strong history of working with local subcontractors and a big stake in the ongoing development of the Port of Mackay.”

The $270,000 capital works project employed up to six people during construction.

Maritime Safety Queensland assisted in the design and approvals for the project and will be responsible for the maintenance of the lights.

The project is part of the Queensland Government’s Accelerated Works Program.

Project facts

  • Lead lights act as a support to high accuracy technological aids such as portable pilot units (PPU’s) used by marine pilots when navigating their course.
  • The rear lead light is always higher than the front lead light.
  • A ship is on track when both lead lights are perfectly in line.
  • When the ship drifts off course and the lead lights are not in line, a pilot steers towards the front lead light. A saying in the maritime world is to "Follow the Front Fellow" to stay on track.
  • Lead lights are bright white in colour during daylight hours and switch to coloured lights of less intensity for night time use. Colours are usually red, green, blue or yellow. This is so they are distinguishable from the usual white lights used in the port to illuminate roadways, wharves and work areas.


North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation contact:
Emilie Pershouse | Regional Stakeholder Engagement Advisor
07 4969 0773 |