A Can Buoy marks the right side of the channel Leaving a harbor. It will beGreen
and have odd numbers on it.
Green Daymarkers are often used in shallow areas for the same purpose.
If the green marker has several pilings supporting it, it will be called a Dolphin.
Green Buoys with lights will usually be found in deeper waters.
The light will be green.
Larger Buoys may also have bells, horns or other sound producing devices.
A Nun Buoy marks the Left side of the channel leaving the harbor. It will be red and have even numbers on it. Red Daymarkers are often used in shallow areas for the same purpose..
If the red marker has pilings supporting it,
it will be called a dolphin. Red buoys with lights will usually be found in deeper water.
The light will be red. Larger buoys may also have bells, horns or other sound producing devices.
Preferred channel markers are a combination of red and green.
Years ago, this marker was known as a junction marker.
The preferred or better channel is
usually marked by having the top color of the marker indicate the way it should be treated.
That is, if the top color is red treat it as a red marker. Just as with red and green markers, they may be found as daymarks or floating buoys. They will have the same color light at the top color of the marker, and they may have letters, but not numbers.
The safe water marker, formerly referred
to as the mid-channel marker, is Red and Green. If it has a light, it will be White,
and it may also have a letter, but not a number displayed on it.
Special purpose markers are Yellow and
may serve a wide range of uses.
These may include, but are not limited to,
dredging, fish trap areas, spoil areas or
Military excercise areas.
Range Markers are found in pairs with one higher than the other.
Range markers indicate the center line of a channel by having them lined up as you pass through the channel
They will have vertical colored panels to assist you in lining them up.
White markers and or buoys with an
orange, diamond, circle, or square can be used to provide information or regulations such as a no wake zone
or a shoal area..
As with all other aids to navigation, they should be given a wide berth to avoid possible damage to your vessel.
Some markers have no lateral significance.
They are not designed to indicate the channel, but rather to help you know where you are.
Weather If you have a boating related website, and would like to exchange links, VHF Radio
Red colors, red lights, and even numbers indicate the right side of the channel as a boater enters from the open sea or heads upstream.
Green colors, green lights and odd numbers indicate the left side of the channel as a boater proceeds from the open sea or heads upstream.
Red and green colors and/or lights indicate the preferred (primary) channel. If green is on top, the preferred channel is to the right; if red is on top, the preferred channel is to the left.
Nuns are cone-shaped buoys marked with red colors and even numbers.
Cans are cylindrical-shaped buoys marked with green colors and odd numbers.
Daymarks are permanently placed signs attached to structures such as posts in the water. Common daymarks are red triangles (equivalent to nuns) and green squares (equivalent to cans) and may also be lighted.
Red Right Returning is a reminder of the correct course when returning from open waters or heading upstream.
U. S. Aids to Navigation System (ATON)
Buoys and markers are the "traffic signals" that guide boat operators safely along some waterways. They also identify dangerous or controlled areas and give directions and information. As a recreational boat operator you will need to know the lateral navigation markers and non-lateral markers of the U. S. Aids to Navigation System.
These navigation aids are used to mark the edges of safe water areas; for example, to direct travel within a channel. They use a combination of colors and numbers which may be applied to buoys or permanently placed markers.
Lighted Buoys use the lateral marker shapes, colors and numbers discussed above; in addition, they have a matching colored light.
While originally intended for police boat operators, this mini-course is designed to provide all Small Boat Professionals with the basics of navigation. Divided into modules, this free, online tutorial allows the student to chip away at the subject at a comfortable and steady pace. Each module builds on the ones before it and learning is reinforced with numerous illustrations, examples, and exercises.
The online training course provided by the United States Coast Guard Auxilliary.
The waters of the United States are marked for safe navigation by the lateral system of buoyage. This system employs a simple arrangement of colors, shapes, numbers and light characteristics to show the side on which a buoy should be passed when proceeding in a given direction. The characteristics are determined by the position of the buoy with respect to the navigable channels as the channels are entered from seaward.
The expression "red right returning" has long been used by the seafarer as a reminder that the red buoys are passed on the starboard (right) side when proceeding from the open sea into port (upstream). Likewise, green buoys are passed on the post (left) side, Conversely, when proceeding toward the sea or leaving port, red buoys are passed on the port side and green buoys on the starboard side. Red buoys are always even-numbered. Green buoys are odd-numbered. Red and white vertically stripped buoys mark the center of the channel.
Mooring to Buoys
Tying up to or hanging on to any navigation buoy (except a mooring buoy) or beacon is prohibited.
Aids to Navigation
In recent years, modification to certain aids to navigation located on coastal and inland waters have been completed. These changes apply to aids used in both the lateral and state waterway marking systems. See charts that follow:
----- Port-hand buoys are painted green, with green fixed or flashing lights.
----- Starboard-hand buoys are painted red, with red fixed or flashing lights.
----- Safe water buoys, also called midchannel or fairway buoys, and approach buoys are painted with red and white vertical stripes, with flashing lights.
----- Preferred channel, or junction buoys, are painted with red and green horizontal bands, with flashing lights.
----- Special marks (traffic separation, anchorage areas, dredging, fish net areas, etc.) are painted yellow. If lighted, the light may be fixed or flashing.