Operating on offshore platforms, sea vessels, or other marine areas is significantly different than working on normal land. It is so different, in fact, that many of the safety and efficiency standards that are in place for land-based facilities have to be changed in order to meet the needs of working on or near the water. Pipe markings are one of those areas that needs to be adjusted to work properly.
Marine Pipe Marking Standards
In marine environments, it is important to follow the marine pipe marking color codes and standards. These standards are defined by ISO 14726, and are broken down into several different groups. The format of these pipe markings is a main color, which is split up by a second additional color. The main color will indicate what group the substance of the pipe is and what it is used for, and the secondary color will indicate what the actual substance is.
Main Color Groups
The main color group will give a general idea of what the substance in the pipe is used for. The following are the set colors that can be used, and what they are for:
- Blue – Fresh Water
- Black – Waste Media
- Orange – Oils, but not fuel oils.
- Silver – Steam
- Yellow – Flammable Gases
- Gray – Non-Flammable Gases
- Red – Fire Fighting Solutions
- Brown – Fuel
- Green – Sea Water
- Copper – Masses
- Violet – Acids and Alkilis
- White – Air in Ventilation Systems
The smaller secondary color will have a different meaning based on what the main color is. For example, blue for a secondary color means waste oil when the main color is orange, but it means oxygen when the main color is grey.
Each of the main category has one or more secondary colors that make it quick and easy to break down the exact substance contained within the pipes. There are dozens of different color combinations available, which allows the pipe markings to identify a wide-range of different substances.
The down side to this, however, is that it can be difficult to memorize all the different color combinations. This is why many marine facilities will have a poster on the wall with the breakdown of what they all mean. People can memorize the most common ones, and then will know where to go if they need to know something less common.