Korean coastal waters have recently become congested due to heavy traffic of ship, the development of new ports and the increase of marine leisure industry. To secure the safety of navigation and efficient marine traffic AtoNs have been established in the waters. At the present time in total 4,633 AtoNs in Korean waters are installed and in operation. The lighted buoy occupies 36% of them and ranks first.
The basic material of standard buoy used is normally steel. The steel buoy has some problems in the environment and maintenance. The developed countries such as France, Germany, the USA etc. recognized the problems and limitations of steel buoy in use and maintenance for a long time ago and developed buoys using environmentally friendly and light material, which is verified sufficiently through a lot of research, experiment, and performance test.
Meanwhile in 2010 in Korea the Ministry of Ocean and Fishery carried out the project of "development of new, light and low-cost materials for marine buoy" to overcome the problems and limitations of conventional steel buoys. In the project examined were the international regulations and trends of the major manufacturers in developed countries. And also a buoy of new material was tried to develop. However the standard buoy of steel material is widely used in Korea.
This study is to design a lighted buoy of light material to improve or overcome the problems in the steel buoy. The results are the following.
Firstly, the design criteria and current status of the standard buoy in Korea were investigated in detail. The problems and limitations with steel buoy were also examined in various aspects such as environment, economy, management and export.
Secondly, the new trends of buoy operation in the developed countries such as the United States, France etc. were examined. The light-material buoys which major companies of IALA industrial member manufactured were investigated. Through the investigation the international and domestic trends were discussed.
Thirdly, as a method of improving the existing steel buoys the buoy body of light material instead of steel material was designed. The stability at sea and the economic feasibility of the light-material buoy was investigated and analysed in detail compared with the existing steel material.
The conventional steel-buoys have reached the limit now due to their own problems and limitations. As a basic material in Korea the steel material is used for a buoy so far and it will have to be changed.
This study suggests a light-material buoy to overcome the problems and limitations of the existing steel buoys. The light-material buoy will be safe in maintenance, environmentally friendly and cost-saving compared with steel-material buoy.
In addition, It is also expected that the paper will be used as a basis for future studies in the development of buoy body with new material.