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Old 02-10-2009, 08:56   #1
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I.A.L.A. Systems A & B

Hi all. Very new to sailing (Only 5 solos inland). Could someone please explain the point of having an I.A.L.A. System A and a System B. The RYA lectures show one and the American lectures show the other. One of them has the same buoy colour at port and the other on starboard. Surely it would be better to have a single method. Or am I missing something of value here?
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:04   #2
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Yup, would be better if there was a single method but there isn't.

Just like some of us drive on the left and others on the right. Some of us use a metric system of weights and measures and some use an imperial system.

Good luck and enjoy your sailing (and learning curve)
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Old 02-10-2009, 15:02   #3
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AFAIK, it's a bit more pointed than that.

North America uses one system and the Rest of the World the other.

Cheers
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Old 02-10-2009, 15:54   #4
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In days past there were no standards whatsoever; different between countries, between provinces/states, even different between opposite ends of the same harbours. The IALA conventions came from a long process of negociations - unfortunately not everyone could decide on a single system. The system that was common in N America prior to the IALA systems used black and red buoys, essentially where IALA B now has green and red buoys - it was felt that there would be a lot of confusion and ship loss if they suddenly had the buoys swap sides. IALA B is throughout both North and South Americas, Japan, Korea and the Phillipines.
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Old 02-10-2009, 18:05   #5
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If I remember my US history correctly (big IF) during the revolutionary war the natives (for lack of better term at the moment) realized the the Royal Navy was much stronger, faster and better armed... so some individual realized that all he had to do was flip the existing buoys and markers and (tell all the locals) and you could effectively create havoc on everyone who didn't know better... IE you now had a new system... and for some reason it stuck...
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Old 02-10-2009, 18:06   #6
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Surely it would be better to have a single method. Or am I missing something of value here?
The USA uses one system.... and as SandyH noted the rest of the 157 countries uses the other. So could the USA please conform with the other 156?

I say 156 because Indonesia doesn't conform to anything. Lights? WHAT lights?????????





The rest of the world: when you are coming into a port - often for the first time - the green is on the green side... red on the red side... simple!

In the USA red light returning means that people (especially Americans!) need to know if they are coming or going!


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Old 02-10-2009, 18:08   #7
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AFAIK, it's a bit more pointed than that.

North America uses one system and the Rest of the World the other.

Cheers
Ha so true!

As a Canadian whos lived all over the world and now back in Canada. I'm still confused as to how we in Canada have adopted the Metric system ....sort of!! Maybe because our biggest trading partner to the south still uses feet, yards and miles...

It would be better if we standardised all over the world. Sweden swithched to right side of the road one evening in 1967. No accidents reported. Just takes lots of communication.

As for marine it not like you switch back and forth from day to day once you are there your there for a while.
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Old 02-10-2009, 18:46   #8
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As for marine it not like you switch back and forth from day to day once you are there your there for a while.
I dunno. You've got all day! Send a coupla blokes out in dinks (15hp's fast) and a screwdriver and while one bloke rips the light out the other splash a bit of paint around. Then go across and swap. Full days job, beer at lunch. No problem.
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Old 02-10-2009, 18:48   #9
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Some provinces in Canada also switched from left to right side of the road in the 1920s (Newfoundland switched in 1947, but they weren't part of Canada then).

You can read all about the history of buoyage here: welcome to IALA
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Old 02-10-2009, 19:09   #10
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I believe it is also worth mentioning that it is just the colors but not the marks - so their shapes and top marks remain the same across.

Then, as per graph attached by one good Lodesman - there is much more to IALA B than only America(s).

Finally, the remnants of the pre-IALA tradicions can hold very strong at places. In some places the lateral marks are used in pairs, but just wait and sail to French Polynesia - where they are NEVER paired - basically where there is a mark - there one can expect a sharp turn! And if you sail to Norway - you can pretty well forget about IALA - all you will see will be piles, pipes and perches.

Don't get caught!

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Old 07-10-2009, 13:32   #11
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2divers hit it. There was only one system until the American Revolution. The Yanks repainted all their markers to confuse the British. Now, anywhere with significant American influence has Red Right Returning, everywhere else Greeen right returning but the shapes remain consistant - always pointy right returning.
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Old 07-10-2009, 13:40   #12
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Rex,

Being in Canada you must have noticed that we also use IALA B and that during the American Revolution, Canada was British. Also, the IALA system came into effect some 200 years after the revolution.
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:41   #13
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Why are cardinal marks almost non existant in the USA? So often it would be simpler and safer to use a cardinal to indicate a danger than try and establish a "channel" where one does not exist. I don't remember ever seeing an isolated danger mark either.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:13   #14
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Why are cardinal marks almost non existant in the USA? So often it would be simpler and safer to use a cardinal to indicate a danger than try and establish a "channel" where one does not exist. I don't remember ever seeing an isolated danger mark either.


Hmmmmmm Maybe its just the way my brain works () but Cardinal markers are the biggest confusion on the sea! I can never remember is ... oh I can't do it on the keyboard... ^v is east or west. I only know vv or ^^ is south and north occasionsly... and then theres some just yellow blobs... Well what way yellow blob?? Of so I am meant to KNOW its a isolated danger mark!

Maybe they should sink the lot and put red and green markets around them.... IN the USA they could just put them upside down



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Old 08-10-2009, 08:20   #15
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speaking on behalf of the 8% of us...

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I believe it is also worth mentioning that it is just the colors but not the marks - so their shapes and top marks remain the same across.
...who can't distinguish green from red, I fail to see what the problem is here.

Personally, I'm holding out for "Blue Right Returning."
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