What are the differences between the two IALA buoyage systems, IALA Region A and IALA Region B, and where are they used?. R – The IALA Maritime Buoyage System Format: PDF Language: English. Download · About IALA · News & Events · Meeting Docs. A lateral buoy, lateral post or lateral mark, as defined by the International Association of Previously there had been 30 different buoyage systems, before IALA rationalised the system. In on a conference convened by IALA, they agreed.

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IALA Maritime Buoyage System

By Simon Jollands in NavigationPreparation 0 comments. 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 systme to keep the number boyage 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. These are used in accordance with the direction of buoyage for the region or specific location, iapa indicated on marine charts. In IALA Region A the lateral marks on the starboard side of the channel are coloured green and should be passed on the starboard side of the vessel.


Those on the buoyave side of the channel should be passed on the port side of the vessel. In IALA Region B the lateral marks on the starboard side of a channel are coloured red and on the port side are coloured green. Aside from the different lateral marks, both systems use identical cardinal, isolated danger, safe water and special marks.

In new danger marks were introduced, see details below. Cardinal marks warn of hazards to be avoided such as shallows or rocks.

Their markings and shape indicate which side of a buoy a vessel should pass and are placed either buogage the north, south, east or west of a hazard. Therefore a vessel should pass to the west of a west cardinal mark, or to the east of a east cardinal mark and buoyave on. They are painted in combinations of yellow and black and have two distinct cone shapes on top, arranged in different combinations to help identify them.

Isolated danger marks are used to indicate a single hazard, such as a wreck, which has navigable water all around it.

Lateral mark

Vessels should keep well clear of the mark on all sides. They are coloured black with red bands and have two black balls above each other on the top of the mark.


Safe water marks indicate there is safe water all around the mark. They are used at the start of a buoyed channel when approaching a harbour from the sea. They coloured with red and white vertical stripes.

Lateral mark – Wikipedia

Special marks are not intended primarily as navigation marks. They are used to mark the boundaries of areas used for recreation eg water skiing or bathing, as racing marks and also for naval activities such as gunnery ranges. Special marks are systek yellow and can be a variety of shapes.

New danger marks were introduced in and are used as emergency marks for recent iaal or new hazards which do not appear on nautical charts. They are coloured with blue and yellow vertical stripes. Safe Skipper apps have recently updated our Buoys and Lights app, which includes a full illustrated guide and a very useful test yourself section, see here.

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