Buoys have been around for a lot longer than you may think however their future appears to look very exciting and transform their earlier uses.
Early buoys were probably only pieces of wood or rafts fastened to a big stone. By the 14th century, Germany and the Netherlands began using hollow wooden barrels that were tethered to stones; England quickly adopted similar “tonnen”-style barrel buoys. King Henry VIII established Trinity House by royal licence in 1514 in response to a plea by the Guild of Shipmen and Mariners to oversee navigational aids in English waterways.
To provide ships and boats with a better and more comprehensive use of port areas than had been possible with conventional mooring techniques, mooring buoys were initially devised, albeit not without some difficulties due to the effects of surface motion on the buoys, during the 1960s.
These buoys were first crafted from steel. This, however, was not without challenges because the usage of steel caused several problems, with corrosion being a significant one. Steel buoys must frequently be mended while still at sea owing to their weight. After continuous exposure to sunshine, paint fades, necessitating fairly frequent repainting.
This started to change in the late 1840s and early 1850s when the Lateral System was adopted. Apparently (according to the U.S. Lighthouse Society) based on the setup used in the Port of Liverpool, which was frequently visited by American ships, the Lateral System placed red “nun” buoys to the starboard side of mariners coming into the harbour and black “can” buoys to the port side. Although can buoys are now painted green instead of black for better long-range visibility, this “right, red, return” arrangement is still the norm.
To further standardise the nation’s buoyancy systems, Congress formed the Lighthouse Board in 1852, which sparked an explosion of technological advancement.
Buoys’ future lies in their development into smart gadgets. These buoys will be able to gather and analyse data on a variety of topics, including weather, ocean currents, water quality, and marine animal activities.
As environmental sustainability becomes more important, future buoys may use renewable energy sources such as solar and wave power to power their operations. This would lessen the need for regular battery changes while also lowering the environmental effect of buoy maintenance.
To give a full perspective of the maritime environment, future buoys will use a mix of modern sensors such as multispectral cameras, hydrophones, and chemical analyzers. This information will be extremely useful for a wide range of applications, including weather forecasting, climate research, and oceanography.
At Atlas Winch & Hoist services we understand the importance of having good quality mooring equipment. Please call us on 01371 859 555 for more information.