Traffic lights and signs guide drivers on the roads. Buoys and beacons and navigation lights do the same on the water. Lateral marks show the port left and starboard right sides of navigable waters or channels. When a port and starboard lateral mark are opposite each other, travel between them. Sometimes they are not in pairs though. When there is a single lateral mark, the safe side to pass depends on the direction of travel or buoyage.

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A cardinal mark is a sea mark a buoy or other floating or fixed structure used in maritime pilotage to indicate the position of a hazard and the direction of safe water. Cardinal marks indicate the direction of safety as a cardinal compass direction north , east , south or west relative to the mark.

This makes them meaningful regardless of the direction or position of the approaching vessel, in contrast to the perhaps better-known lateral mark system. The characteristics and meanings of cardinal marks are as defined by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities.

Either a quick or a very quick sequence of light flashes may be used; the choice allows for two similar nearby marks to be uniquely identified by their lights. The north and south topmarks are self-explanatory both cones pointing up, or both pointing down.

Remembering the east and west marks can be more of a problem. The colours can be remembered this way: Black has no colour and a point has no size, while yellow has lots of colour and the base of the cone is its largest part. A light buoying cardinal mark in pressure of ice in front of Helsinki, Finland in winter. Notice that topmark is not used on a buoy that is subjected to ripping by movements of ice.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sea mark indicating where safe water is near to a hazard. All four types of cardinal mark used in Nanaimo Harbour to warn of an old concrete base.

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IALA Maritime Buoyage System

The development of a uniform system of buoyage throughout the world was of paramount importance for safe navigation at sea. As traffic lights are used to guide drivers on road, similarly buoys and beacons are indispensable for guiding mariners at sea. Imagine what would have happened if more than one buoyage system was in use around the world. Different buoyage system means different rules, in complete conflict with one another. It would cause confusion and lead to accidents. IALA proposed a system allowing the use of lateral marks in each region, but whereas in region A, the colour red of the Lateral System is used to mark the port side of channels and the colour green for the starboard side.


IALA Buoyage System For Mariners – Different Types Of Marks

By Simon Jollands in Navigation , Preparation 1 comment. As recently as the s there were more than 30 buoyage systems in use around the world. There followed a worldwide effort to develop a safe, unified maritime buoyage system that could be followed by all vessels at sea. The IALA chose the two systems in order to keep the number of changes to existing systems to a minimum and to avoid major conflict. The difference between the two systems is the colour and light characteristics used for lateral marks, as follows:. IALA B starboard lateral marks and lights are coloured red. Lateral marks indicate the port and starboard sides of navigable channels.


Cardinal marks

Mariners will be safe if they pass north of a north mark, south of a south mark, east of an east mark and west of a west mark. Cardinal Marks are also used for permanent wreck marking whereby North, East, South and West Cardinal buoys are placed around the wreck. At night, the lights of Cardinal Marks are programmed with distinct identifying characters; as an aide memoire they can be considered to flash in accordance with positions on a clock face whereby an East Cardinal flashes three times, a South Cardinal six times but with an added long flash to make it more distinctive and a West Cardinal nine times. The buoy illustration shows Type 2 configurations of buoys. These are approximately three metres in diameter and weigh approximately six tonnes excluding moorings. Buoys need to be recognised both in daylight and at night and use topmarks to assist in identification.


Navigation—buoys, marks and beacons


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