Nautical History, Anyone

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I'm looking for information on the history of bell buoys specifically. Other than that they were warning markers (mostly for rocks and stuff) and that they were invented in the 1800s I can't find much. Are there standard rules for them? Like when you hear one should you navigate to the left or right of them? Anyone knowledgeable about nautical history or know any good references/books I could check out?
I love the sound that they make and I realized that we have a whole lot of songs about lighthouses, but few to none about their less glamorous cousins.

Ack! I just lent my copy of Chapman Piloting & Seamanship! :/

That's what we have libraries for. I kept searching for nautical history and coming up empty. There's lots of copies of that in my library system. I'll start there. Thanks!

The 1917 edition is on Google Books

Didn't read far enough to see if there's anything about bell buoys, though.

Red Right Returning.

Confirming what @JWHanberry said, from my boating safety course in 5th grade.

But are bell buoys color coded? I knew about the color coded buoys, but I thought they were different. Now that I think about it though, bell buoys are very distinctively bright colors.... red, green, yellow, and sometimes blue. That helps everyone!

Although that complicates my song, since in my head it was going to be a sailor who survives a nautical disaster and manages to make it back to shore, but is trying to safely dock at night or in a fog... like all I need now after all I've been through is to drown in the bay.

Perhaps your protagonist needs a lightship.

Here's what my 30 year old edition of Chapman has to say about docking and such. Gotta love the detail and specificity of the language. Wish I'd learned it! Smile

I never actually followed up on this. I went through Chapman's and loved all your information so thank you! I ended up going vague, which I probably should have realized would happen, but when I do a song about something I like to be prepared and informed (you never know what details will help). Here's the final product.