In sailing, the shape of a navigation buoy is an important visual cue that can help you determine its purpose and meaning. There are several different shapes of buoys used in navigation, each with a specific meaning:
- Cylindrical Buoys - These buoys are usually solid and cylindrical in shape and are used to mark the edges of a channel or fairway. They are typically colored red or green and may have a topmark indicating the preferred channel.
- Conical Buoys - These buoys have a conical shape and are used to mark a specific point or location, such as the position of a shoal or wreck. They are typically colored black with one or more horizontal bands of color, and may have a topmark indicating the type of hazard.
- Spherical Buoys - These buoys are spherical in shape and are usually used to mark a location where you can moore or anchor. They are typically colored yellow or white, and may have a topmark indicating the type of mooring.
- Pillar Buoys - These buoys are tall and slender, with a flat top and a pointed bottom. They usually mark the center of a fairway or the entrance to a harbor. They are typically colored black and white, and may have a topmark indicating the type of navigation aid.
In addition to these shapes, there are other types of buoys that are used for specific purposes, such as light buoys and sound buoys. Understanding the meaning of different buoy shapes and colors is an important part of navigation in sailing.