Mark/Boat Color

A couple of years ago thre was a thread about depth perception and boat/mark color. The drift was that some colors appear closer and would cause you to turn too soon or too late. Does anyone know the colors and/or have links to articles?

I have had great dificulty with very bright orange/red. With the reflection on the surface, the impression of the mark being nearer than it actually is, is accentuated.

Have a look on Lester Gilberts site:- /OtherTopics/Bouys/

Here he has given a ‘medical’ reason for the phenomenon.


Hi Ralph

Thanks for the link (smile)! The link as given will not work, but I think this one will:

Thanks guys

Of course there could be an advantage of having a bright orange/red hull, in that the skipper will be inclined to overshoot a distant turning mark and not be at such a risk of clobbering it, or as has happened to me too frequently, undershot it. I wonder if Brad Gibson, the new IOM World Champion, who sailed a bright orange Widget, picked that colour intentionally to help him at distant marks. It would be good to get a comment from him.


It occured to me that the color of your boat compared to the color of the mark is what we should be looking at. If the mark is red(seems closer) and your boat is green(seems farther) you will overshoot. Or are marks a standard color(I don’t get out much)

Na. If the red mark appears to be a metre closer than actual, but isn’t, and the green boat appears to be a metre further away than actual, but isn’t, then we have a recipy for collision if the skipper is trying to clear round the mark by that vital metre or an undershoot when trying a very close rounding. Fortunately at my club I have managed to get most of the bouys painted a light grey colour, but when visiting other Scottish clubs where bright orange/red bouys are used, then I have a problem.

Cheers, Hic!