Tag Archives: Lights


Buoys get knocked around, drowned in corrosive salt water, frozen, abused by wind and nature yet they do their job day-in and day-out. Worse, very few people will ever see them to appreciate or even know they are there. This is #6 off Captree, Long Island, New York. I think it’s just a light beacon with a solar panel on top. An article I found said that some buoys send out their own radio signals, letters in morse code identifying themselves that you can actually hear with a radio. I mailed away for a chart that listed  1) Where they were anchored at sea in lat-long, 2) what their morse code letter was so you could listen for them and 3) at what frequencies you can find them on the Long Wave radio band. During Hurricane Gilbert while the power was out at my house, trees were coming down all over and the rain torrential,  I sat in the dark tuning my battery operated radio down the dial while checking the chart with the glow from the dial. Despite the wild hurricane seas knocking them around way out there, each buoy could be heard sending out it’s signals through the crashes of AM static, each doing their jobs. More recently they probably send their signals directly to satellites.

Captree Bouy by Jim Cutler
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The lights actually have meaning! The first few charts in this Coast Guard publication explain what it all means as you enter a harbor: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lightLists/LightList%20V2.pdf