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What are Lifebuoys?

11/14/2013 3:15:36 PM | by Anonymous


Lifebuoys, also simply known as buoys are devices that float in a body of water like the ocean, river and bay. Buoys have been used for many hundreds of years for navigation or warning purposes. Lifebuoys can be used as warning systems to alert seamen about dangers such as barrier reefs or shallow water areas. Lifebuoys can also serve as a device to collect data for weather purposes.

In a heavy traffic area of the sea, lifebuoys are used to mark out individual lanes to ensure that the boats do not collide with each other. There are also lifebuoys that can be used to anchor small boats, useful for divers or fishermen to use when they are diving or fishing and want their boat to be at a stationary position.

Lifebuoys are also commonly used as scientific devices to collect data by many weather agencies. Data such as the ocean’s movement and current weather have proven to be very useful in determining weather forecasts and learning more about that particular weather region. The lifebuoy collects the data and broadcasts it over the local radio frequency so that sailors, surfers and swimmers are warned about upcoming storms or exceptionally high tides. There are also sonar buoys which are used to collect acoustic data to determine if there are objects in the sea, useful when it comes to anti-submarine warfare or detect dangerous mines.

These buoys can also be used in a tsunami warning system. As these lifebuoys are able to constantly monitor the changes in water level, a sudden drop of water level may indicate an upcoming tsunami. The lifebuoy will then send signals to the central control center. Once the people at the central control center feel that there is an upcoming tsunami, they will sound alarms and inform the relevant agencies to warn the public about the potential tsunami or storm surge. Most of the times, the new data is matched with previous collected data to determine if there really is a tsunami and prevent false alarms.

Lifebuoys were originally used for navigation purposes and they are still used for the same purposes. Many lifebuoys have lights, bells and horns to assist seamen when they are unable to see clearly. Lifebuoys with bells are good as they do not require any power to operate and can easily be heard by seamen. They are very useful as sometimes, the area may be very foggy which may prevent the seamen from seeing the lifebuoy. Those lifebuoys with horns are often projected over very long distances to give enough warning to seamen about shoals, shallow areas, rocky coastlines and reefs. Thus, they are very important as they have the potential to save lives. Sometimes, these lifebuoys have special markings to mark special hazards such as sunken ships.

Another type of navigational lifebuoy is known as sea marks. These sea marks are used to mark the right and left side of any navigation channel. They are also marked with numbers and different colors. On the left side of the navigation channel, the buoys are marked with red colored even numbers while the right side of the navigation channel is marked with green odd numbered sea marks. Safe water markers are also used with sea marks to mark areas that are safe to travel across. These safe water markers are yellow in color and have some sort of warning information.
If is often against the law to move a buoy or attach boats to it, unless the buoy is a mooring buoy which are installed for that purpose. Moving the buoys or mooring to it may cause confusion and defeat its purpose and thus other sailors are put at risk.


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