Magnetic Compass Service Bulletin



We at Lilley and Gillie have been the manufacturer of magnetic compasses for many years now.   The utmost care has been put into every individual unit providing top quality equipment for customers all around the world.  The most common cause of compass problems is the incorrect servicing of the equipment or the wrong oil being inserted into the bowl.

The compass card is an integral part of the equipment and without it, taking bearings becomes impossible.  If the incorrect oil is added to any compass then this will cause the card to degrade extremely quickly and eventually disintegrate.  We therefore ask anyone who has a Lilley and Gillie compass to first consult with us or one of our many service agents on to which oil to use.

Warped compass card

For our SR4 and ocean compass you will require our FW8870 compass oil which will be available from our service agents or directly from us.  For our older model, the SR3, due to shipping restrictions we are unable to supply, so it will need to be sourced locally.  SR3 compass oil is the following:

  • Ethanol P100
  • Demineralised water
  • Mixed to an SG of 0.95

mag com 1Please note that every time oil has been added to any compass it will need to be retested by a certified compass adjuster or manufacturer.  

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CNITA Compass Adjusters

CNITA Compass Adjusters

All MCA qualified


To comply with SOLAS and MCA regulations, you must ensure compasses are adjusted at least every two years by a qualified compass adjuster. Failure to do so may cause danger to shipping in general and delays to your vessel by order of Port State Control Inspectors.


The unique properties of the Magnetic Compass

Why the magnetic compass is still of vital importance

When I joined John Lilley & Gillie in 2004, the company had recently bought a 50% shareholding in a software company with the intention of producing its own ECDIS – the Navmaster ECDIS. Then, I was very quickly introduced to a former owner and MD of the company, who gave me a copy of a report he had written, which demonstrated the importance and unique properties of the magnetic compass. It was a good lesson in understanding the importance and functionality of both electronic and traditional methods of navigation and one that continues to be relevant today.

Whilst this is now 16 years ago, the relevance is still valid.



As you will be aware the Coronavirus is not only affecting personal life, but businesses as well.

Therefore, we feel it is necessary to set out some expectations of what support you will receive from John Lilley & Gillie to try and keep your business running as smooth as possible.

How we are helping ourselves to help you:


APM 2018

Asia Pacifia Maritime at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is one of the stars of the Maritime exhibition calander. 

As always John Lilley & Gillie are astounded and apreciative of the incredable support from our partners for our range of products.