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Buoys,  Continued - 14220_123
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Buoyage Systems - 14220_125
Buoy Identification Information All  buoys  are  fitted  with  retroreflective  materials  that  show  well  when illuminated  with  a  spotlight,  and  most  buoys  are  fitted  with  radar reflectors. Retroreflective  material  is  applied  to  lighted  as  well  as  unlighted  buoys to  increase  their  visibility.  This  application  greatly  assists  you  in locating  aids  at  night  using  a  searchlight.  Retroreflective  material  may be  red,  green,  white,  or  yellow;  the  coloring  has  the  same  significance  as the  colors  of  lights. Many  buoys  are  equipped  with  radar  reflectors,  which  are  vertical  metal plates  set  at  right  angles  to  each  other  in  such  a  manner  as  to  greatly increase  the  echo  returned  to  a  radar  receiver  aboard  ship.  The  plates are  shaped  and  mounted  in  order  to  preserve  the  overall  characteristic shape  of  an  unlighted  buoy  or  the  general  appearance  of  a  lighted  buoy. Some  buoys  have  a  radar  reflector  mounted  inside  the  actual  body  of  the buoy. CAUTION Although  buoys  are  valuable  ATONs,  you  must  never  depend exclusively  on  them—they  may  fail.  Some  of  the  reasons  for  their failure  are  as  follows: Passing  vessels  may  hit  a  buoy  and  shift  it,  overturn  it,  or  set  it  adrift. Buoys  can  drag  their  moorings  in  heavy  weather. The  light  on  a  lighted  buoy  may  fail  or  be  extinguished. Sound  signals  may  not  function  because  of  ice,  storm  damage,  collisions, or other accidents. Whistles,  bells,  and  gongs  actuated  by  the  sea’s  motion  may  fail  to function  in  smooth  water.  For  these  reasons,  a  prudent  mariner  must  not rely  completely  upon  the  position  or  operation  of  buoys,  but  must  also navigate  using  bearings  from  fixed  structures  and  ATONs  on  shore. 4-26

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