In 1993, the "Supplement To IALA Bulletin 1993/1" published the following update from the United States Coast Guard on developments in Aids To Navigation:

"The US Coast Guard has completed a world-wide buoy technology survey. The final report is a comprehensive listing of buoy design and materials used by the world's maritime agencies as well as those produced and marketed by private industry. Nearly 400 buoy types were identified by the survey. From the report the USCG has identified several promising technologies for further evaluation. In particular USCG will be directing its efforts towards implementing state-of-the-art materials in buoy construction such as[ionomer] foams...."

"USCG has been using ionomer foam buoys extensively as replacements for steel buoys. These buoys are extremely lightweight, they exhibit excellent damage resistance and retain their color throughout the life of the buoy. Lighted ionomer buoys have performed well in field testing and evaluation as replacements for steel lighted buoys.

At the XIIIth Conference of the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities, the Ocean Engineering Branch of the US Coast Guard Civil Engineering Division reported:

"[Ionomer] foam buoys have now become operational replacements for steel and hard shelled plastic buoys in many areas of the United States....these [ionomer foam] buoys have been developed into very useful aids to navigation....[are] very adaptable to special locations and can be modified for lighting equipment.

"Response from Coast Guard field units and local mariners has been very positive. The [ionomer foam] buoys remain brighter than steel or plastic buoys, they are lightweight, do not sink or crush, do not severely damage pleasure boats during collisions, require smaller mooring equipment and minimal maintenance, and perform very well in high current areas. Other areas of use include those maintained by smaller buoy tenders and those where steel buoys have generally been unsuccessful."

In an article published in Soundings in March of 1991, the Technical Director of the Coast Guard R & D Center described the Softlite ionomer foam as " ... almost indestructible ... stronger than steel. You can't sink it." In addition to the U.S. Coast Guard and sales to state and local governments, Gilman Softlite ionomer foam channel marks, marine buoys, and regulatory buoys have been supplied to the Canadian Coast Guard, the People's Republic of China, France, and Thailand, and commercial ports and waterways all around the world.

For a copy of our Navigation Aids catalog, complete with prices and drawings, call, write, fax, or email us.

For GSA Schedule click here.

Gilman Corporation, Box 68, Gilman CT 06336 Telephone: 800.622.3626 Fax: 860.886.5402


[About Gilman Corp] [Foam Facts] [Product Lines] [Contact Us]