Red Right… Returning?

As someone who has spent more time in the last six years than I ever could have imagined either tying and/or chaining, then untying and/or unchaining, tour boats and barges onto or away from very large cruise ships, I was interested in today’s top story from Italy, especially this photo credited to AFP/Getty Images.

How interesting that, instead of the usual red and green marker buoys, the island of Giglio, off the Tuscan Coast, has red and green lighthouses. But then, as I looked again at the photo, it occurred to me that it seemed backward, for the red lighthouse, certainly, should be on the right, not the left.

Which led me to this webpage, which includes information I had never imagined — that in Europe, Africa, and most of Asia, not only do the foreigners often drive on the wrong side of the road, their rules of the sea state “red left returning. This is, that site suggests, because “when we were at war with the mightiest navy in the world over 230 years, the revolutionaries turned all the buoys around so that the English men-of-war would run aground… and we just kept them that way ever since…!”

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