Seafront light show will give visitors a spectacular welcome

GREAT VIEW HMS Bulwark as she passes Southsea Common, where in future interactive boards will tell people  which ships they are looking at
GREAT VIEW HMS Bulwark as she passes Southsea Common, where in future interactive boards will tell people which ships they are looking at
HMS Illustrious leaves Portsmouth for the last time
Picture: Shaun Roster

RETRO: Watch the last voyage of HMS Illustrious from Portsmouth

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SPECTACULAR light effects and screens giving information about ships are planned for Southsea’s seafront.

Portsmouth City Council plans to spend £50,000 on innovative LED lights along its seafront promenade.

They will be able to interact with the Spinnaker Tower, changing to reflect and complement the tower when it is lit in different colours at night.

The system will also allow lighting effects, such as ‘wave’ patterns.

The council’s seafront manager David Evans said: ‘The current lights are a bit outdated.

‘The system will enable us to do new things. When Spinnaker Tower is lit red, white and blue, the seafront lights will change to match it.

‘We can also produce effects and patterns.

‘The city’s seafront will be an attraction for walkers at night, and will make the city more distinctive from the sea – a welcome for visitors by boat.’

Five ‘ship identification boards’ are also to be installed on the seafront, at locations between the Spinnaker Tower and Eastney Beach.

They will carry information about each of the ship types which use the Solent.

Mr Evans said: ‘We’re a maritime city and busy port, so people on the seafront see a range of different vessels.

‘The boards mean they’ll be able to identify what’s coming in and out.’

The boards will be replaced and updated every two years, enabling them to stay up to date with the vessels in the Solent.

The council will also spend £25,000 on interactive ship identification screens.

It’s hoped they will be installed in buildings on the front, including Mozzarella Joes restaurant near Clarence Pier, and the Blue Reef aquarium.

The system tracks ships using transponder technology, showing the names and types of ships on the Solent, and even where in the world they have travelled from and their cargo.

Mr Evans said: ‘This is the narrowest commercial shipping lane outside the Thames, so ships are part of the experience of people enjoying the front. The screens will give them real-time information on what’s happening on the water.’

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