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Cardinal Marks

Named after the cardinal parts of the compass, they indicate the position of a danger

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Named after the cardinal parts of the compass, North, East, South, and West, cardinal marks indicate the position of a danger and the direction of the safe side on which to pass it. Cardinal Marks are constant in both IALA buoyage systems with distinctive yellow and black colours, topmarks, and white lights.

Cardinal Buoys - Danger Positions

North Cardinal Mark

Colour Black over Yellow
Shapes Any shape but most commonly pillar or spar
Top Marks Two cones pointing up
Lights White, Q or VQ
Chart Symbol North Cardinal Mark - Chart Symbol

East Cardinal Mark

Colour Black Yellow Black
Shapes Any shape but most commonly pillar or spar
Top Marks Two cones pointing away from each other
Lights White, Q(3) 15s or VQ(3) 5s
Chart Symbol East Cardinal Mark - Chart Symbol

South Cardinal Mark

Colour Yellow over Black
Shapes Any shape but most commonly pillar or spar
Top Marks Two cones pointing down
Lights White, Q(6) + LFl 15s or VQ(6) + LFl 10s
Chart Symbol South Cardinal Mark - Chart Symbol

West Cardinal Mark

Colour Yellow Black Yellow
Shapes Any shape but most commonly pillar or spar
Top Marks Two cones pointing towards each other
Lights White, Q(9) 15s or VQ(9) 10s
Chart Symbol West Cardinal Mark - Chart Symbol