What types of buoys are green?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Green buoys are used to mark the left side of a navigable channel when entering a harbor or waterway from the open sea. These buoys are commonly referred to as port-hand buoys. They play a crucial role in guiding vessels safely through the water by indicating the correct route to follow.

Port-hand buoys are easily distinguishable as they are painted green and often have green fixed or flashing lights. The color green is chosen because it stands out against the surrounding water and is easily visible to mariners. This helps to ensure that vessels can easily identify and navigate around these buoys, especially in low visibility conditions.

The green color of port-hand buoys serves as a visual cue to vessels that they should keep these buoys on their left side when passing them. This is commonly known as “keeping green to green.” By following this guideline, vessels can stay within the designated channel and avoid running aground or colliding with underwater obstacles.

In addition to their distinctive green color, port-hand buoys may also have other distinguishing features. For example, they may be equipped with reflective materials or retroreflective tape to enhance their visibility at night. Some port-hand buoys may also have numbers or letters painted on them to further aid in navigation and identification.

It is important for mariners to be familiar with the meanings and characteristics of different types of buoys, including the green port-hand buoys. By understanding these markers and following the established navigational rules, vessels can safely navigate through waterways and avoid potential hazards.

Personal Experience:
During my time as a sailor, I have encountered numerous green port-hand buoys while navigating through various waterways. These buoys have always stood out prominently against the backdrop of the sea, thanks to their vibrant green color and flashing lights. I remember one particular instance when I was sailing into a harbor at night, and the green lights of the port-hand buoys guided me safely through the narrow channel. Their clear markings and visibility were crucial in ensuring that I stayed on the correct course and avoided any potential dangers. This experience highlighted the importance of these green buoys in providing navigational guidance and maintaining the safety of vessels.