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» Online Classroom   » Inland and Coastal Navigation   » Public Discussion of Inland and Coastal Navigation   » Shape and color on System A vs B buoys

Author Topic: Shape and color on System A vs B buoys
David Burch

 - posted April 29, 2003 10:44 PM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
We will start off this section with a note of our own on a bit of buoy trivia...

In the US and Canada, we use IALA system B buoyage. That system uses "red right returning" rule, with red nuns on the right and green cans on the left as you return on the inland bound route.

In IALA system A, used by most of the rest of the world, the rule is often phrased as "red wrong returning." The colors are just reversed.

The point of this note, however, is to point out that even though the colors are reversed, the shapes are not reversed. In system A, the green buoys are nuns (pointed tops), whereas the red buoys are cans (flat tops).

Hence if you get stuck in system A, checking out a buoy in the direction of the sun or in poor lighting, so you cannot tell its color just its shape, it is not enough to just remember "red wrong returning"... ie in the long run -- or in the international run -- it is better to learn to associate the shape with the side of the channel rather than the color. The shape is international, the color is not.

Think of a nun taking you by the right hand to guide you home, and you will be safe and secure, all around the world...

Here is an example. This is a scene from Denmark, IALA system A. You are looking over the bow. The question is: Are you leaving or returning?

(Picture is from the Danish Hydrographic Office... a great resource for sailing in Denmark.)

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA
Carol Reid

 - posted May 13, 2003 07:42 AM      Profile for Carol  Reid           Edit/Delete Post 
On the buoy question for Denmark I would say I am leaving as I see the nun on my port side. Am I right?
William Scofield

 - posted May 24, 2003 08:26 AM      Profile for William Scofield           Edit/Delete Post 
Isn't the triangular buoy (on the left) the "nun"? In that case, the nun is not "returning," but is "leaving."
David Burch

 - posted May 24, 2003 08:48 AM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, both are correct. In the US nun buoys are more of a truncated can, but this triangle shape is also the nun shape internationally. nun right returning, hence we are leaving.

Carol, i apologize for the delay in answering. somehow the "new topic" flag did not get triggered when you posted your note last week. I will look into configuring this so we get a notice in the office when a message is posted.

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA

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