Marine Buoyage Types – learn or refresh

Marine Buoyage Types – learn or refresh

Here is quick read about Marine Buoyage Types – learn or refresh

Watch the video or read below – all about Marine Buoyage Types – learn or refresh – as you wish.

Buoyage is the general term that covers markers for indicating channel markers, safe water, danger areas and special purpose areas

Your ‘highway’ on the water

In the 1970’s, the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) organized an international agreement on buoyage and navigation lights world wide.

Until that time, there were various confusing systems of various national themes. The situation came to a head with the occurrence of 2 wrecks in the waters of the Dover Straits between England and France in the same location which cost over 50 lives, despite a number of prominent buoyage systems.

As you can well imagine, getting a worldwide unanimous agreement was almost impossible and in the end one system with 2 regions was agreed.

Region A covers Europe and most of the of the world (red to port side).  

Region B covers the America, Japan, the Philippines and South Korea (Green to port side).


The IALA system identifies Aids To Navigation by 4 characteristics:

  1. shape
  2. colour
  3. topmark
  4. lights


During daylight hours, Aids to Navigation are identified by

  • location
  • shape
  • colour pattern
  • any additional specific features such as RACON (radar transponders) or by specific numbering.

At night, Aids to Navigation are identified by use of lights. Lights are identifies by 3 characteristics:

  • colour of light
  • period of each sequence (time in seconds for one complete cycle of the relevant pattern)
  • phase (the particular pattern assigned to a specific light)

The phase of the light can be a selection of

Flash – less light & more darkness

Long flash – longer flash but still less light & more darkness

Isophase – equal time of light and darkness

Occulting – more light & less darkness

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