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Lateral (side) marks

(excerpt from Regulations about way of marking of waterways and aids to navigation)

The lateral (side) system mark is used to mark the port side and the starboard side or both sides of the channel or passage through which the vessel must navigate and entrances to ports.

 

The mark on the starboard side or port side indicates that the vessel must pass along it in the way that the mark remains on the starboard side or port side.

 

The starboard side or port side is determined by the direction taken by the vessel when approaching a port, river, estuary or waterway coming from seaward.

 

In channels that extend parallel to the general direction of the mainland coast, and are accessible from two sides, the starboard side or port side is determined by the clockwise direction.

 

If there are several identical marks along the coast of the channel, they may be numbered with ordinal numbers in white starting from the seaward or the beginning of the waterway, provided that the marks on the starboard side are numbered by odd numbers and on the port side by even numbers.

 

On rivers, the starboard side and port side are marked in relation to upstream navigation.

 

Lateral (side) system marks are in the shape of cone, cylinder, pillar or pole.

 

If the starboard side or port side is marked without the use of conical or cylindrical shapes, the affixed mark should have an appropriate topmark.

 

Starboard side marks of the channel are in the shape of cone, pillar or pole painted in green and may have a topmark in the shape of a cone point upward painted in green.

 

Port side marks of the channel are in the shape of cylinder, pillar or pole painted in red and may have a topmark in the shape of a cylinder painted in red.

 

Modified lateral marks are used to mark a bifurcation of waterway, which marks the primary channel as a more preferred waterway, as follows:

  • preferred channel to Starboard: cylinder, pillar or pole painted in red with broad green horizontal band. Topmark may be a red cylinder.
  • preferred channel to Port: cone, pillar or pole painted in green with broad red horizontal band. Topmark may be a green cone point upward.

Lights that mark sides of the channel are:

  • on the starboard side: green light any rhythm other than flashes in group (2+1)
  • on the port side: red light any rhythm other than flashes in group (2+1)
  • modified lateral marks for marking preferred channel to Starboard: red light with flashes in group (2+1)
  • modified lateral marks for marking preferred channel to Port: green light with flashes in group (2+1).

Built-in light constructions that are an integral part of the lateral (side) system are painted in a color characteristic for marks in that system. Constructions cannot be painted in a colour whose meaning would conflict the meaning that colour has in this marking system.

 

These provisions also apply to permanent structures of port lights in the port area, in which case the colour of the light structure determines the side on which the light should be left when approaching or docking. If the light structure is not painted in a colour characteristic for the lateral (side) marking system in accordance with the provisions of the Regulations, the internal of the port may be approached and docked on either side, in which case white is used for both the structure and the light itself.

 

NAUTICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF LATERAL MARKS

WATERWAY MARKS

Lateral marks Port side Starboard side
Colour Red Green
Shape (buoy) Cylindrical, with pillar or spar Conical, with pillar or spar
Topmark (if any) Red cylinder Green cone, point upward
Light (if any) Red Green
Rhythm Any, except flashes in group (2 + 1) Any, except flashes in group (2 + 1)

WATERWAY BIFURCATION MARKS

Modified lateral marks Preferred channel to Starboard Preferred channel to Port
Colour Red with broad green horizontal band Green with broad red horizontal band
Shape (buoy) Cylindrical, with pillar or spar Conical, with pillar or spar
Topmark (if any) Red cylinder Green cone, point upward
Light (if any) Red Green
Rhythm Flashes in group (2 + 1) Flashes in group (2 + 1)

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