What is the Difference Between Light Beacons and Buoys in the Water

Navigational aids are common safety markers in large bodies of water. The US Coast Guard establishes the use of such elements, which includes light beacons, buoys (can be illuminated) and dayboards – just to name a few, in its official handbook.

Learn about the difference in led boat lights and between light beacons and buoys for marine applications below.

Buoys and Marine Navigation

Buoys are floating, navigational aids that are moored to the bottom of their respective location (body of water). The two main types of buoys include a “nun” (a unit with a cylindrical body and a cone top) and a “can” (a unit without a cone top). Furthermore, it is possible to equip LED lights on buoys. Such variants are thinner and slightly taller, compared to other types of buoys.

The two light colors used on illuminated buoys are red and green. A strobe light may be installed at the top of the unit, with a reflective panel and bold lettering for streamlined detection at night. Note than green lights are applicable to the right side of boat, when navigating in the general direction of open waters. Red lights should be viewed on the right side of the boat, when returning from open waters. Know How !.

Light Beacons

Light beacons are permanent units that are securely fixed to the bottom of the water. Unlike buoys, they aren’t floating on the surface, requiring direct support from a solid foundation. Marine beacons can be equipped with luminaries – green or red. The units also utilize strobe lights for notification in the water. The reason both buoys and light beacons require strobe lights for illumination is due to the application of distinct flashing patterns.

When it comes to numerical markings, light beacons typically take on green, odd numbers and red, even numbers; while buoys usually have white, odd numbers and white, even numbers; see more about boat lights in this site: http://www.larsonelectronics.com.

Upgrading Underwater ROV Lights with LEDs

Previously dominated by halogen lights, ROV Lights have very strict illuminative requirements that are incomparable to land-based, industrial operations. Because of this, marine biologists started to turn to LEDs, in order to address the pitfalls of halogen lighting in underwater locations.

Inefficiencies of Halogen Lamps

Halogen lights offer bright illumination, especially for spotlighting applications. The lamps are capable of throwing light beams over great distances. However, the way they produce light is very inefficient. By comparison, LEDs can last up to 2-3 times longer than halogen units. This is a huge benefit for underwater ROV Lights, as maintenance and repair for the vessels can be extremely costly.

Furthermore, high color temperature lighting is needed for clarity in underwater operations. Halogen lights typically come with a color temperature range of 2,500K to 3,000K, while HID lamps feature a color temperature range of 4,500K to 7,000K. LEDs can be specially manufactured to emit a superior beam with a color temperature of up to 9,000K. For underwater photographers, a range of 5,000K and 6,000K is suitable for colorful photos.

Underwater Lighting Standards

To understand why LEDs are advantageous for underwater ROVs, one must know the type of standards the industry has for the vessels. For clarity, operators expect an output range of 5,000 to 6,000 lumens. By squeezing in numerous diodes or chips into the luminary, LEDs can meet such requirements. Moreover, the unit should be low voltage, since the ROV is battery powered and does not rely on AC power sources.

For small underwater ROVs, equipment must be lightweight in order to maximize power and thrust during operation. Again, this is where LEDs shine. Halogen units provide roughly 13.2 lumens per gram, while LEDs offer 22.5 lumens per gram, at a rate of 6,000 lumens of light. As a result, LEDs provide more illumination at lighter weights.