Other stuff: Reflective buoys

WaboboWabobo Posts: 4 New Baller
Someone on my lake complained about our local ski course. We had to go through an approval process with our government over the winter, and fortunately we received approval to have the course in the lake. The only catch is that they have asked us to mark a few specific buoys with something reflective. This is a fair ask, but marking soft rubber buoys doesn't seem practical. I'm looking for suggestions here.

I have had 2 thoughts so far:
1. Reflective Stickers: easy to find and put on. Durability is likely very low and the stickers will probably fall off in the first year and pollute/litter the lake. Not to mention a scratch hazard for shins.
2. Reflective Paint: Rust-oleum makes a reflective spray paint, but I feel like this would just flake off into the lake and pollute. I also feel like it would get paint all over our skis and boots.

Does anyone have experience making buoys reflective or have any suggestions for doing so?

Thanks in advance.


  • ToddLToddL Posts: 3,002 Mega Baller
    If I were to manufacture a slalom skier buoy with reflective paint (silkscreened), I would locate it around the equator and up an inch or so, such that some portion is always above the water line when the buoy was properly inflated and adjusted to the surface. So, if you attempt to paint one, maybe try that location.

    I wouldn't want anything on the top of the buoy where my ski or body might graze it while rounding it.

    I wonder if a brand new buoy (deflated) could be silk-screened/inked.

    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,073 Crazy Baller
    @Wabobo is it specific in where or how much the reflective tape needs to be? Use it as a height guide and place it at the waterline so all balls are equal height. Or place it on top of the ball. A quarter size should work.
    My permit said the same thing. Never did it never was checked.
  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,818 Mega Baller
    I would go the cheap stickers route.
    Not much pollution there...and they're asking for it.
    My ski finish in 16.95 ...but my ass is out of tolerance!
  • GHLskierGHLskier Posts: 11 Baller
    Fluorescent duck tape on each side
  • mjumpmjump Posts: 61 Baller
    @Wabobo . I had to do this for a course I had. Dm me.
  • WaboboWabobo Posts: 4 New Baller
    edited May 26
    @dave2ball Great point. No, they didn't specify anything around amount or size of reflective material. It could totally be a dot of spray reflective paint or a small dot sticker. We are in a fairly remote area and I doubt it will be checked/followed-up on.

    Thanks for the info @ToddL . That would likely work. I think the buoys come printed already with the brand name, so it has been done.
  • RGilmoreRGilmore Posts: 224 Baller
    edited May 26
    I doubt you care too much about doing a great job of applying the reflective coating, but if you DO this may be of interest. Its called "Hydro Dipping" or "Hydrographics", and I'll bet you could have printed clear overlays with a highly reflective "dot" for the top dead center of the buoy, and apply them yourself.

    There are LOTS of videos showing DIY methods.
  • vtjcvtjc Posts: 304 Solid Baller
    I don’t know the details of where you agreed to have the reflectors. Could you add them in locations outside of the normal boat or skier path? Perhaps extra markers outside of the 45’s or other locations.
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,200 Mega Baller
    If someone could manufacture basically a colored swim cap for buoys I feel like that would save a lot of faded buoys.
  • scuppersscuppers Posts: 572 Crazy Baller
    @jhughes WOW! That is a really great Idea. Not impossible either.
    Chuck Link, Deland Florida
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 840 Crazy Baller
    I actually have an orange swim cap I use when the water is really cold. I'll check the fit next time at the pond
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,814 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I’m told by people in the chemical business that making a “glow in the dark” buoy would be pretty easy.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • RGilmoreRGilmore Posts: 224 Baller
    @lpskier I think you may have intuitively (or inadvertently) hit on the reason the OP's local govt (and others) want some of the buoys to be reflective - they're probably concerned about night boaters getting tangled up in the buoys because they can't see them. Now it's starting to make a little sense...
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 840 Crazy Baller
    Placing a swim cap over a standard buoy seems like it would work, at least from a fit perspective. But, the added cost of the cap does not seem worth while and I'd just replace the buoys. Might be ok if it's 1-2 buoys as a temporary means.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,134 Mega Baller
    People spray paint balls, you can buy reflective spray paint - should meet their requirements and you could just spritz the balls periodically.

  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,814 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Some paints are abrasive and will do a number on your legs. I’d go with a circle of reflective tape just above the waterline.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,134 Mega Baller
    True but this seems to be a spirit more than execution thing. I bet a quick dot on the top of the ball or 3 spritzes round the ball would be enough and as said seen many resprayed balls.
  • NandoNando Posts: 601 Crazy Baller
    We got this requirement added this year. We got a bunch of scrap Scotchcal reflective sign sheeting and are going to just add about a 2" circular piece on the top of the balls and a ring around out boat guides. Sheriff said that's fine. We'll see how long before they fall off, but we're making the effort... Curious to hear how reflective paint works.
  • NandoNando Posts: 601 Crazy Baller
    To more or less retract my previous post, the Scotchcal didn't work at all- it just fell off, so we tried the reflective clear spray paint, which does not seem abrasive at all, seems to stay on (so far), and actually does reflect. Since our lake hasn't seen a boat after dark pretty much forever, it's a total waste of time, but we complied with the permit requirement...
  • Vernon ReeveVernon Reeve Posts: 114 Baller
    Our sheriff was afraid someone might hit one of the buoys with a canoe after dark and get tipped over:) He didn't realize that the buoys are soft rubber tethered by a rope with zip ties. So the canoe would never even notice it. I finally convinced him that was not an issue, however, to get potential state approval for our "Navigation Hazard", we had to put tall cylindrical markers on each end of the course, with a solar powered flashing light on top, and a radar reflective strip. Cost about $600 to install those marker buoys that would actually damage a boat or tip a canoe over to warn about something that would not. Typical government logic.
    But that got us through one season while the approval process was in place. Next season they still denied it, and they eventually pulled the course (after giving us lots of warnings). We still got the course back in good shape, so they were decent about it. The course was denied because the fishermen were complaining that it increased the boat traffic to that lake. Funny how we never complain to fish and game that the fishermen will intentionally drive their boats into our boat path, or that their discarded fishing lines are getting caught up in our props, etc. But they sure complain about us taking turns in one small section of the lake, because that's where they think the fish must be:)
    The good new is that while this was happening, a private man-made ski lake was being created, so we only lost about a month of course skiing.
  • NandoNando Posts: 601 Crazy Baller
    Vernon Reeve- yikes! We were denied a permit last year because of one complaint (two actually, husband and wife), so the city wouldn't sign off. After they found numerous things to complain about without the course, the sheriff's office stopped taking their calls and the city figured out that they are against everything. We met with the sheriff's water patrol commander and showed him our setup (anchored course with breakaway provisions so our anchors won't get pulled out. He agreed that it's not a navigation hazard, but since the lake could be used at night, asked us to find a way to reflectorize the balls. After much delay, he called yesterday to say we've got our permit and to go ahead. Our course was in permanently for six years without a complaint from homeowners or fishermen (or anyone else) so getting denied last year was a pain. At least the sheriff, city manager and mayor supported us in the end.
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