• hr
  • en
  • de
  • it

Information on buoys

Buoys come in a vast array of types that have unique and separate uses. All buoys may be defined as floatation devices used in water. They may be an aid for safety, information and research, and navigation. However, some buoys, such as for oceanographic study do not float on the surface but are intended to be either partly submersible or are designed to sink.

Safety buoys

In rivers, oceans, lakes and local pleasure pools, you are likely to see this floating safety device. A buoy may be allowed to drift or be anchored (stationary). Smaller, hand-held lifebuoys are designed for emergency use and are lightweight and easy to handle so they may be deployed quickly in an emergency.

For navigation

At sea and in river estuaries anchored buoys are for navigation or pilotage. Usually they are brightly colored to aid visibility so as they are easily seen and give warning to all seafarers and navigators. Buoys are often operated in hostile environments and some may be left unattended for a long time. A sinker constructed from cast iron with weights varying between 1 tonne and 8 tonnes is what moors a Trinity House buoy to the sea bed.

Satellite-monitored ocean buoys are used to predict tsunamis.

Ocean buoys maintain fixed positions and may be found using the 'Data Buoy Cooperation Panel' or DBCP. A type of measuring buoy commonly deployed by oceanographic researchers is a wave buoy. These calibrate amplitude, period and frequency of ocean waves to assist in both weather forecasting and climate research. Satellite calibration is carried out from the data received electronically from these buoys and that provides accurate information for seasonally averaged monthly Equivalent Buoy Density (EBD) on a 10 x 10 degree grid. One organization, the World Weather Watch Programme has been operating a buoy deployment system since 1991 and has deployed more than 700 buoys. Each year the organization meets to discuss instrumentation, forecasting, observations, and outlook.