In active bodies of water around the world, navigational markers are prevalent. Such components include beacons, day boards and buoys. Lighted buoys have been around for some time and serve as important safety mechanisms for boaters and commercial vessels. Read on to understand how LED buoys work and their applications in the marine sector.
Flashing Green or Flashing Red
The most common types of lighted buoys are equipped with either a flashing green light or a flashing red light (can be both). The flashing pattern varies, depending on the unit’s application. In most cases, two buoys close to each other must have opposite flashing patterns for seamless identification.
Furthermore, there are several standard flashing patterns implemented by the US Coast Guard. Such strobing configurations include the following: Quick Flashing, Isophase, Group Flashing and Composite Group Flashing.
For example, illuminative navigational aids found when entering a channel flashes a green/red light (2+1) with 6-second intervals. The lighting configuration is reversed when exiting a channel. Lighted buoys may also be used to mark dangers in the water, signaling to boaters to exercise caution during an approach.
Solar LED Buoy Trends
Maintaining lighted buoys is a meticulous process, as large bodies of water may have numerous units floating around throughout the day or night. In order to reduce such tasks and improve reliability, LEDs are being used for signaling and illumination.
In locations wherein sun exposure is frequent, marine-based operators may also utilize solar LED strobes or lamps on the buoys. The entire system can run for roughly two years before replacement. It is important to consider that the batteries used to power the lights are usually the first to fail, as LEDs have an expected lifespan of 50,000+ hours.
To prevent damage, a watertight enclosure should be used, as well as UV inhibitors for protection from persistent sunlight exposure.
Read more about lighted buoys or boat spotlights at https://www.larsonelectronics.com/c-28-boat-spotlights.aspx