IALA Maritime Buoyage System

Author(s) M. S. Robinson
Publisher Admiralty Charts and Publications
Date 2006
Pages 18
Format pdf
Size 2 Mb







Obviously, the most serious test of the buoyage systems occur once the mariners have been  directly confronted by the light marking some uncharted danger, for example a recent ship wreck, and particularly it this happens at night or in the conditions of low visibility. That is exactly the time when mariners must make the immediately, correct and positive decisions.

The very beginnings of the uniform buoyage system emerged more than a century ago when some of the countries did agree on marking of the port side of shipping channels with the can buoys of black color; the starboard hands, in turn, were marked with the conical buoys of red color. However, this caused some discrepancy between the ways of using and marking the buoys in Europe and North America. There have been several conferences held on this matter to work out a single buoyage system, however without any significant success until 1936 when one of the proposed systems was agreed.

Again, some of the countries did not become signatory to the convention and developed their own, original and opposite buoyage systems. Long story short, all efforts have finally resulted in the establishment of the IALA system and its wide implementation all over the world. Note that in some parts of the planet the conversion to the IALA systems has not been completed yet...

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