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Types of Lights and Light Structures, Continued - 14221_113
Types of Lights and Light Structures Information Primary  and  secondary  lights  are  so  designated  because  of  their importance  as  ATONs.  Primary  seacoast  aids  are  distinctive  lights  in the  U.S.  system  of  ATONs.  They  are  "fixed"  as  opposed  to  "floating" and  are  maintained  on  the  mainland,  or  on  offshore  islands  and  shoals  to warn  mariners  of  the  nearness  of  land  or  dangers.  They  are  usually  the first  ATONs  that  the  navigator  sees  when  making  a  landfall.  The navigator  can  use  these  lights  to  keep  farther  offshore  at  night.  When lights  are  located  offshore,  they  mark  a  specific  hazard  or  serve  as  a marker  for  ships  approaching  a  major  harbor. Many  lights  are  classified  as  primary  lights  because  of  the  importance  of their  location,  their  intensity,  and  the  prominence  of  their  structures. Other  aids  are  classed  as  secondary  or  minor  lights  because  of  their lesser  qualities  in  one  or  more  of  these  characteristics. The  dividing  line is  not  clear  cut,  and  the  difference  is  of  no  significance  when  applied  to piloting situations. Lighthouses These  familiar  structures  are  typical  primary  lights  found  along  the coastlines  around  much  of  the  world.  Lighthouses  are  placed  on prominent  headlands  and  other  points  such  as  harbor  entrances  and isolated  dangers  to  warn  mariners  of  danger  or  to  guide  them.  The principal  purpose  of  the  structure  is  to  support  a  light  source  and  lens  at a  considerable  height  above  the  water.  The  same  structure  may  also house  a  fog  signal,  a  radiobeacon,  RACON,  and  other  equipment. Lighthouses  vary  greatly  in  shape  and  construction  (fig.  4-5),  which  is determined  in  part  by  their  location  (whether  in  the  water  or  on  shore), the  importance  of  their  light,  the  kind  of  soil  on  which  they  are constructed,  and  the  prevalence  of  violent  storms.  Since  lighthouses  are nonlateral  aids,  their  paint  color  schemes  are  quite  different  than traditional  lateral  marks.  Lighthouse  structures  are  painted  in  various patterns  such  as  stripes  and  solids,  which  help  mariners  to  easily distinguish  them  from  other  such  structures  in  the  same  vicinity. 4-14

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