Learn Lateral Marks in Virtual Reality with NauticEd and MarineVerse VR Game

Learn Lateral Marks in Virtual Reality

How to learn the lateral marks system using virtual reality gaming technology

What are Lateral Marks?

Lateral Marks (aka ATONs (Aids to Navigation), markers, buoys, etc…) tell you how to navigate a channel or where safe versus dangerous water is. It goes without saying that it is imperative as a skipper to know the meaning of each shape and color.

Additionally, in different parts of the world, the marks mean different things. Fortunately, there are only two systems that you need to remember as opposed to the 30 different systems a few years back. World Maritime professionals got together and were able to narrow it down to two systems called IALA-A and IALA-B. That’s as close to 1 system as they got. Apparently, half the world refused to have red on their “red when returning” while the other half held fast on it. It’s kind’a like asking everyone to come together worldwide and drive on the same side of the road.

  • IALA-B system is used in the Americas, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.
  • IALA-A system is the rest of the world.

The NauticEd Skipper course (for large sailboats 26 ft to 54 ft) or the NauticEd Skipper Small Keelboat Courses (up to 25 ft) are comprehensive online sailing courses covering everything to do with skippering a sailboat and include learning Lateral Marks.

Learn Lateral Marks in Virtual Reality

In January 2023, NauticEd and MarineVerse Sailing launched the world’s first Navigation Rules virtual reality eLearning game/course.

Below is NauticEd’s Director of Education playing level 2, which is the lateral marks combined with Cardinal Marks. Cardinal Marks are not very familiar to North Americans because they are seldom used. Personally, we’ve spotted a few in the BVI. However, they are extensively used in other parts of the world and so the international sailor is well advised to understand them.

A big advantage to virtual reality gaming for learning purposes is that the retention is much more effective than when viewing a 2-d drawing. The biggest advantage is that VR is an incredible amount of fun. In the game, lateral marks come out of the fog, and you have to react fast once you identify a mark.

To play the Virtual Reality Navigation Rules and Marks game go to the FREE https://wwwNauticEd.org/sailing-courses/virtual-reality-sailing course to gain all the instructions. Essentially, you will need a Meta Quest 2 device and have the MarineVerse Cup App in your Meta Quest App library. Once you have these the Navigation Rules course is free.

Lateral Marks Refresher

More than likely you’ll need a quick refresher on Lateral Marks and Cardinal marks. Here are the 2-d images that you can study and then apply in the game.

Lateral Marks used in IALA-A and IALA-B 

Lateral Marks

Cardinal Marks

Cardinal Marks
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My vision for NauticEd is to provide the highest quality sailing and boating education available - and deliver competence wherever sailors live and go.
Grant Headifen
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Last updated on February 15th, 2023