Sailing Navigation Theory - Learn To Sail


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The process of navigating a sailing vessel from A to B, plotting your course, finding the position of your sail boat and being able to identify what's happening around you

6 types of sea buoys used in maritime pilotage to aid in your sailing navigation, defined by International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA)
Cardinal Marks
Named after the cardinal parts of the compass, they indicate the position of a danger
Direction of Buoyage
Identified on charts, the direction of buoyage helps prevent collisions at sea by clearly providing the direction vessels should be travelling in
Emergency Wreck Buoys
Placed above, or as close to, new wrecks and underwater hazards
IALA Buoyage Systems
The International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) that standardised the world's navigational buoys into two systems
Isolated Danger Buoys
Placed directly above a hazard such as a submerged rock or a wreck, but has navigable water all around it
Lateral Marks
Define the edges of a navigable channel, most commonly when entering/leaving harbours
Preferred Channel Markers
Used when there's 2 different navigable channels available, they are placed at the split of channels to identify which is the preferred channel
Safe Water Markers
Sailing buoy, identifies that safe, navigable water is all around
Special Marks
Indicate special areas or features such as military exercise zones, recreation zones, traffic separators etc