IALA Buoyage Systems

The International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) that standardised the world's navigational buoys into two systems

Test Summary

769 Number of times this test has been taken.
82% The average score for this test.

The IALA buoyage systems were created in 1979 by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) to unify the worlds navigational buoys. While predominately successful, there are still 2 buoyage systems used throughout the world, system A and system B. All the buoys are the same in the 2 systems apart from Lateral buoys and Preferred Channel buoys, which use opposite colours between the two buoyage systems.

IALA Buoyage Systems Map

IALA Buoyage System A

Used in the majority of the world including Europe, Africa, Australia and most of Asia. Here's a list of some noticable countries that use the IALA System A.

  • United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • Spain Spain
  • Australia Australia
  • France France
  • South Africa South Africa
  • Greece Greece
  • Seychelles Seychelles
  • Thailand Thailand
  • Cape Verde Cape Verde
  • Croatia Croatia
  • New Zealand New Zealand
  • Egypt Egypt

IALA Buoyage System B

Used in the Americas, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and the eastern Pacific.

  • United States of America United States of America
  • Canada Canada
  • Japan Japan
  • South Korea South Korea
  • Paraguay Paraguay
  • Argentina Argentina
  • Brazil Brazil
  • Philippines Philippines
  • British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands
  • Grenada Grenada
  • Ecuador Ecuador
  • Mexico Mexico


Taking a test can be a great way to build on what you have learnt already and build confidence before taking a formal qualification test. The IALA Buoyage Systems test consists of 5 questions randomly chosen from a selection.

769 Total Tests Taken
82% Average Score
Take Test


Here's a list of the sailing terminiology used within this theory