The International and Inland Rules contain
the following supplemental information:
Except for indicating distress and need of
assistance, the use or exhibition of any of the
foregoing distress signals and the use of other
signals that may be confused with any of the
those signals is prohibited.
Note the relevant sections of the International Code
of Signals, Pub. 102, the Merchant Ship Search and
Rescue Manual, and the following signals:
A piece of orange-colored canvas with either a
black square and circle or other appropriate symbol (for
identification from the air) (fig. 5-17), or
a dye marker (fig. 5-17).
The following signals, although not part of the
Rules of the Road, are prescribed for submerged
submarines in emergency situations involving rising to
periscope depth or surfacing:
A white or yellow smoke flare fired into the air
from a submarine indicates the submarine is coming to
periscope depth to carry out surfacing procedures. Ships
should clear the immediate vicinity but should not stop
A red smoke flare fired into the air from a
submarine is a signal that the submarine is in serious
trouble and will surface immediately if possible. Smoke
flares of any color, fired into the air at short intervals,
mean the submarine requires assistance. All ships in the
area should clear the immediate vicinity but stand by to
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Define buoys.
Recognize the International Buoyage Regions.
Describe the IALA Maritime Buoyage System
including buoy types, buoy colors, and buoy
Buoys are moored floating markers placed so as to
guide ships in and out of channels, warn them away from
hidden dangers, and lead them to anchorage areas, and
so forth. Buoys may be of various sizes and shapes.
Regardless of their shapes, however, their distinctive
coloring is the chief indication of their purposes.
Large automatic navigational buoys (LANBYs) are
major aids to navigation, and they provide light, sound
signal, and radio beacon service. The LANBY is an all
steel disk-shaped hull 40 feet in diameter. The light,
sound signal, and radio beacon are located on the mast.
Although buoys are valuable aids to navigation,
they must never be depended upon exclusively. Buoys
frequently drag their moorings in heavy weather, or they
may be set adrift when run down by passing vessels.
Lights on lighted buoys may go out of commission.
Whistles, bells, and gongs actuated by the sea's motions
may fail to function in smooth water.
INTERNATIONAL BUOYAGE REGIONS
To reach agreement with all maritime countries to
bring all buoyage into one system with the least amount
of money and time expended, two international buoyage
regions were established. Figure 5-19 outlines
International Buoyage Regions A and B. Navigational
charts produced and/or printed after 1983 indicate the
buoyage region to which the chart refers.
MARITIME BUOYAGE SYSTEM
Until recently, as many as 30 different buoyage
systems were in use around the world. In 1982, most of
the maritime nations of the world signed an agreement
sponsored by the International Association of
Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). This agreement
adopted a system known as the IALA Maritime
Buoyage System. The system provides rules that apply
to all fixed and floating marks other than lighthouses,
sector lights, range lights, lightships, and large
automatic navigational buoys (LANBYs).
The Maritime Buoyage System provides five types
of marks that may be used in any combination. The five
types of marks are lateral, cardinal, isolated danger, safe
water, and special. Each type of mark will be discussed
briefly here and in more detail later.
1. Lateral marksindicate the port and starboard
hand sides of channels. Within the Maritime Buoyage
System there are two international buoyage regions
where lateral marks differ. These buoyage regions and
the different lateral marks will be discussed in detail
later in this chapter.
2. Cardinal marksused in conjunction with the
compass, indicate that the navigable water lies to the
named side of the mark
3. Isolated danger markserected on, or moored
directly on or over, dangers of limited size.