The buoy is one of several methods (in addition to, for example, beacons , lighthouses , lightships ) that are used internationally to mark shipping routes . The International buoyage system ( German as: International Concrete-drying system ) has been since 1973 by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities worked (IALA), 1976 by the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), the forerunner of today's International Maritime Organization (IMO ), decided and introduced since 1977.
Within this system, five different types of navigation marks are distinguished:
- Lateral sign for marking the lateral delimitation of shipping lanes
- Cardinal signs for the identification of danger spots , shoals and navigation obstacles through directions
- Individual hazard signs for marking small areas of danger, etc.
- Middle fairway sign for marking the middle of shipping lanes and controls
- Special characters that are not primarily used for navigation , but to identify special areas or locations.
Since 1977 there have only been two toning systems worldwide, which differ only in the color and numbering of the lateral symbols, but not in their shape:
- Buoyancy control system A, in which the navigation marks on the port side of the fairway (coming from sea) are red. This system is used in Europe , Africa , Australia , New Zealand , the Middle East and large parts of Asia .
- Buoyancy system B, in which the navigation marks on the starboard side of the fairway are red. This system is used in North and South America , Japan , Korea and the Philippines .
New danger points that have not yet been recorded in nautical charts or officially corrected therein are identified by two identical, closely spaced characters from the cardinal, single hazard or special system.
Barrels are securely anchored to the seabed, but it can happen that they have been driven away, relocated or overtaken, just as a beacon can go out. Altering or damaging shipping signs is severely punished in all countries under maritime law . It is also forbidden to moor vehicles to navigation marks .
- International Association of Lighthouse Authorities : Maritime Buoyage System (PDF, 156 kB), p. 2, accessed on February 9, 2016