What is a navigational aid?

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What is a navigational aid?

A navigational aid is sort of marker such as lighthouses, light beacons, beacons, buoys, fog signals, racon and DGPS which aids the ships navigating the ports, bays, straits and other inland waters, territorial waters and EEZ of the Republic of Korea with means such as light, shape, color, sound and radio.


  • A navigational aid helps a ship select the economical and safe route when it navigates between a foreign port and domestic port or between domestic ports. To open the safe route, the expected maritime traffic and type size of ships are investigated, and the characteristics of marine environment and port development plan are reviewed to set up the navigational aid.
  • Such navigational aids must be installed and managed as the international public facilities in accordance with the international standard are the mandatory port facilities essential for port operation to support the navigations of ships entering and leaving the port.
  • As the navigations aids are the public facilities, they are managed by the governments in all countries of the world and have the same role as the road guiding signs and signals on land.

Basic requirements

  • To increase the safety and navigational efficiency of ships, the navigational aid must fulfill following requirements:
    • Internationally simple and easy to identify
    • Fixed in a specific position and operated accurately
    • Reliable and easy to use at all times
    • User friendly

Type (40 Types)

  • Visual aids (13 types): Manned lighthouse, unmanned lighthouse, light beacon, leading light, bridge light, illuminating light, direction light, light pole, shipping signal light, spa buoy, Lanby and light vessel
  • Shape aids (5 types): Beacon, diagram, bridge mark, shipping control signal and buoy
  • Audible aids (4 types): Electric horn, air siren, motor siren and diaphone
  • Radio aids (4 types): Radar beacon, LORAN, DGP and radar station
  • Special signal marks (4 types): Tidal signal mark, VTM, AIS and marine weather signal aids
  • Other functional special navigational aids (10 types): objective mark, sinking/stranding ship mark, bridge mark, mooring mark, submarine cable mark, submarine oil pipeline mark, marine data collection mark, marine resource exploration mark, marin resource drilling mark, and marine resource mining mark