Safe Water Mark / Fairway Buoy

This mark has two names as it can be looked at two ways. For instance, it is sometimes called a Safe Water Mark because as a vessel leaves a buoyed area, there is nothing but open sea ahead.

As a vessel enters an area of buoyage from the open sea this mark can be referred to as a Fairway Buoy. It marks the start of a buoyed channel or harbour. Just like a fairway in the game of golf.

The purpose of the safe water mark is simply to denote the limit of a buoyed harbour.

The mark has red and white vertical stripes which alternate all the way round. It’s top mark, if fitted, is a red ball.

Safe water mark or fairway buoy

Lights for a safe water mark

There are a total of four possible light combinations for this particular buoy and all of them are white.

The pattern will be one of the following shown with their chart abbreviations:

  • A long flash every 10 seconds – L Fl 10s
  • Occulting – Occ (more light than dark)
  • Isophase – Iso (equal periods of light and dark)
  • Morse A – Mo (A) which is a dot followed by a dash