What is IALA Buoyage system or International Association of Lighthouse Authorities?

International Association of Light house authority is a bouyage system, which divides the world into two regions(A and B).

International Association of marine aids to navigation Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) is a non profit  international technical association. IALA encourages its member to work together to ensure movements of vessels are safe and cost effective.IALA-buoyage-map

The Maritime Buoyage System and other aids to navigation provide rules that apply to all fixed, floating and electronic marks serving to indicate:

  • The lateral limits of navigable channels.
  • Natural dangers and other obstructions such as wrecks.
  • Landfall, course to steer, and other areas or features of importance to the mariner.
  •  New Dangers
Types of marks

 A Mark is defined as a signal available to the Mariner to convey guidance in safe navigation. The Maritime Buoyage System and other aids to navigation provide the following types of marks that may be used in combination:

Lateral marks used in conjunction with a “conventional direction of buoyage”, generally employed for well defined channels. These marks indicate the port and starboard sides of the route to be followed. Where a channel divides, a modified lateral mark may be used to indicate the preferred route.

Cardinal marks used in conjunction with the mariner’s compass, to indicate where the  mariner may find navigable water.

Isolated Danger marks to indicate isolated dangers of limited size that have navigable water all around them.

Safe Water marks to indicate that there is navigable water all around their position, example – mid-channel marks.

Special marks to indicate an area or feature referred to in nautical documents, not generally intended to mark channels or obstructions

Method of characterising marks

The significance of the mark depends upon one or more of the following features:

  • By night, colour and rhythm of light and/or illumination enhancement.
  • By day, colour, shape, top-mark, and/or light (including colour and rhythm).
  • By electronic (digital) symbology, e.g. as a complement to physical marks.
  • By electronic (digital) symbology solely.

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