What is a Buoy?

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What is a Buoy? Blog Image


A wave rider buoy, equipped with GPS and various weather-related instruments, was recently found ashore at the Gopalpur Military Station in Ganjam district, Odisha.

About Buoy

  • A buoy is a floating object anchored at a definite location to guide or warn mariners, to mark the positions of submerged objects, or to moor vessels in lieu of anchoring.
  • Buoys are often brightly colored and have distinctive shapes or patterns, making them easily visible to ships and other watercraft. 
  • Buoys are commonly found in harbors and ports, along coastlines, and in rivers and lakes.
  • They are maintained by various organizations, such as the Coast Guard and other navigational authorities.
  • Buoyage system:
    • For the sake of maintaining uniformity in buoyage systems worldwide, the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) divided the world into two regions: Region A and Region B.
    • Region A includes Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the Gulf, and some Asian countries, whereas Region B comprises North, South, Central America, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.
    • IALA proposed a system allowing the use of lateral marks in each region, but 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.
    • In region B, the colours are reversed.
  • Special-purpose buoys are designed for a variety of uses; they include cable buoys, anchor buoys, or race buoys.
  • A mooring buoy differs from other types in that it is not an aid to navigation but a point to which vessels may be tied up. 

What are starboard side and port side?

  • The port side is the ship’s left side when looking forward towards the bow of the ship.
  • The starboard is right side of the ship when facing the bow.
  • The bow is the part of the ship that is generally most forward when the ship is moving. The stern is the back of the ship or its aft-most part.

Q1) What is the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA)?

IALA is a non-profit, international technical association. Established in 1957, it gathers together Marine Aids to Navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants, and scientific and training institutes from all parts of the world and offers them the opportunity to exchange and compare their experiences and achievements. IALA encourages its members to work together in a common effort to harmonise Marine Aids to Navigation worldwide and to ensure that the movements of vessels are safe, expeditious and cost-effective while protecting the environment.

Source: INCOIS wave rider buoy washes ashore in Gopalpur