One of our subscribers had wanted us to talk about buoys, and we had just found some flip cards on the Lass, left by the previous owner, so we thought that this would we a great topic to talk about. Of course I joked that I wanted to talk about men, but that is just us.

There are two main areas for buoys, IALA - region A which covers most of the world and region B which covers America, Japan and the Philippines, as we are sailing region A, we discuss the buoys and the way to remember them for region A. There are several different types of buoys, so we decided to start with the most common types and progress to the least common.

Red and Green Buoys

Red and Green Buoys

These are the most common buoy that we come across as they mark the entrance to a channel. For Region A, as you are going into Port, the reds are on your port side, while greens are on the starboard side. A way to remember this is that Port wine is red in colour, this is of course only true for region A, while in region B red is on the opposite side so they have red, right, returning.

Red cans have a red light at night, while Green Cones have a green light. The flas pattern for these are any flash sequence you like except 2 plus 1

Cardinal Marks

West Cardinal

There are four different cardinal marks

  1. East Cardinal with arrows that look like an Easter Egg, as East is at the three o'clock position on the clock face the flash pattern for these is three flashes. The colours on this is black, yellow, black and the arrow point to the black.
  2. South Cardinal, with the black at the bottom, both arrows point down, South is at the six o'clock position on clock face, so is at the South position. If a south cardinal is close to a west cardinal, it can sometimes also have a long flash, to mark its difference from that of west
  3. West Cardinal, with a colour pattern of yellow, black, yellow, both arrows point inwards creating a wash waisted woman. As West is at the nine o'clock position, the flash pattern for this cardinal is nine flashes.
  4. North Cardinal, with black to the top of the cardinal and both arrows pointing to the top of the mark. The flash pattern for this is continuous flashing.

Fairway Buoys

Fairway buoy

These are also known as safe water marks. These are usually at the end of a channel, where the water is safe all around, but they can also be used as the mid marker. The light pattern for these is a little bit complicated, but can be

  1. White light occulting - which is mainly a white light with occasional black phases
  2. Isophase - which is equal periods of white light and dark
  3. Single long flash - This happens every 10 seconds
  4. Morse code of the letter A - which is dot followed by a dash

These buoys are red and white in colour.

Special Marks

Special Marker

These are yellow in colour and have a nice cross at the top, we have seen them marking the end of pipes so always go to seaward of these marks. The colour of the light on these is yellow and they can have any flash pattern except that of any other buoyage. They all have a really good cross at the top.

Isolated Danger Marks

Isolated Danger

These are red and black in colour and the red just merges into the black, so for identification purposes it is the two balls that you look for. The flash pattern for these are two flashes.

Preferred Channel Markers

Preferred Channel Marker

These indicate the preferred channel that you are to go down. The flash pattern for these are two plus one and they are always in the colour required. If the marker is that of a red can, you treat it as a red can and keep it on the port side. The stripe in the middle describes the channel that you are to go down, in this case the starboard channel. So if the marker is a green cone, treat them as a green cone and in this case the red strip describes the starboard channel.

To create the video we used Flip cards https://flipcards.co.uk/

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