Trinity House

Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community with a statutory duty as a General Lighthouse Authority to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

The Corporation of Trinity House was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1514 to regulate pilotage on the River Thames and provide for aged mariners.

With a mandate that has expanded considerably since then, we are today the UK’s largest-endowed maritime charity, the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar and a fraternity of men and women selected from across the nation’s maritime sector.

Our long-standing familiarity with the channels, hazards, currents and markings of our coastline also qualify us to inspect and audit almost 11,000 local aids to navigation, license Deep Sea Pilots and provide Elder Brethren as Nautical Assessors to the Admiralty Court.

Per annum the charity donates around £4m to the charities we support. These include the provision of cadet training schemes, welfare provision for retired mariners and educational programmes teaching safety at sea skills.

Our mission

Our mission as a General Lighthouse Authority is to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

Furthermore, as a charity we help to ensure that British commercial shipping is crewed by well-trained men and women and that mariners in need of all ages and backgrounds are supported in a number of ways either directly by us or through grants to other maritime charities and initiatives.

Trinity House works closely with a number of highly-regarded national and international organisations, including the Northern Lighthouse Board, the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, the UK Hydrographic Office and the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) , to name just a few.

Our vision

Our vision is to be a trusted world class organisation and regarded as such by our stakeholders.

We work hard to ensure that we are valued as much for our work today as for our reputation earned through over five centuries of service.

Although we are proud of the reputation afforded us by our many centuries of dedication to the nation’s maritime infrastructure, we are a forward-facing organisation; it is our ability to meet new challenges and the changing requirements of the modern mariner that keeps us relevant and effective.

We will continue to support the maritime industry that moves up to 95% of the UK’s international trade, keeping the lifeblood of our economy moving safely and swiftly and ensuring the UK’s place in the 21st century global economy.

Marine operations

At the business end of Trinity House we operate a fleet of vessels, working in our waters at the highest levels of seamanship.

We have been operating in the waters around England, Wales and the Channel Islands since 1741, using purpose-built tonnage equipped to the highest technical standard and manned by professionally qualified officers and crew. 

Coordinated and monitored around the clock by our Planning Centre, typical vessel activities include wreck location and marking, aid to navigation maintenance, towing, buoy handling and surveying.

Working at sea is unpredictable and inherently hazardous; to preserve the safety of the mariner we take measures to make sure we can respond effectively should an incident occur, working closely with our partners at the Department for Transport and the MCA. We have a vessel ready to respond within six hours of the Strait of Dover, carrying our instantly recognisable Emergency Wreck Marking Buoys.