As a beacon is now known in Seezeichenwesen fixed navigational aids, are unfired or do not meet the criteria of a lighthouse according to their design or size. Most beacons are used for spatial orientation of road users.


The word beacon comes from the Low German. In the Middle Ages was understood by the term Bake as much as characters ( for orientation ). So then, the first designed floating tonnes were referred to as beacons.

Current situation

The beacon is one of the sea mark used in the shipping industry. Often it is the mark of navigable waters. Beacons are placed near the shore and structures made of wood, steel or stone. Often they are given a striking shape (similar to a pyramid or a tower ) and typical colors and a corresponding top marks at the top.

An example is the Mühlenbake: Landmarks Świnoujście on the 1818 built until 1823 Westmole. The navaid was built in 1874, the wing revolved initially still, they produced so that the flashing beacon.

Furthermore, rods and Pricken serve as the solid navaids and belong to the beacons, as well as marks for the Deckpeilung. In contrast, the floating landmark for direct labeling of the fairway are intended. There are mainly tons and still occasionally fire ships.

Special shapes

Moreover, there are so-called underwater locator beacons, which are dropped and when immersed in water with a single battery charge a high frequency detection signal ( 25 - 50 kHz ) of more than 160 dB over a period of more than thirty days can give, which is then recorded by voyage data recorders will. Signals of this type can affect the positioning system of marine mammals and cause severe physiological damage.

Another special form is the coastal established emergency beacons; they do serve as a refuge for people in distress.

Finally miles beacons are used to calibrate the Sign in passing. Here are two or more beacons couples in certain intervals adjacent to the fairway. The extension of a line through the two beacons of a pair of marks while a certain point in the fairway. With the passage times of these points can determine the speed of the ship. Such sections of measurement currently (as of 2011) still on the Elbe and Weser.