Boater Education

 

Buoys & Markers
The traffic signs of the water, buoys and markers, are important information for the boater. These waterway signs help the boat operator identify danger areas and restricted zones.


Regulatory Markers
Regulatory markers are white with black letters and have orange, warning borders in different shapes.
Types of Regulatory Markers

copyright Boat-Ed, Inc used by permission

copyright Boat-Ed, Inc used by permission

copyright Boat-Ed, Inc used by permission

copyright Boat-Ed, Inc used by permission

Square:
Information

Circle: 
Restricted Area

Diamond:
Danger Area

Crossed Diamonds:
Prohibited Area

 


Mooring Buoys
copyright Boat-Ed, Inc used by permissionMooring buoys are white with a blue horizontal band and can be anchored to in public waters. It is unlawful to moor, anchor or attach any boat to other buoys, beacons, light marker, stake, flag or other marker used as a navigational aids.

 

 

 

 


Lateral Markers
Lateral markers indicate the sides of channels. Safe passage can be found between pairs of green and red buoys.
copyright Boat-Ed, Inc used by permission
Green colors and lights should
be on your right (starboard) side
when traveling toward open waters.

 

copyright Boat-Ed, Inc used by permission
Red colors and lights should
be on your right (starboard) side
when traveling toward the channel.
Remember: "Red-Right-Returning"

 


copyright Boat-Ed, Inc; used by permissioncopyright Boat-Ed, Inc; used by permission

copyright Boat-Ed, Inc; altered and used by permission
Red and White vertically striped buoy markers, some topped with a white light or red top mark, indicate mid-channels or fairways. These markers may be passed on either side as long as other, safe navigation rules are followed.

 

copyright BoatEd, Inc. used by permission.
Red and Green buoys and lights indicate primary channels. If the green horizontal band is on top, the primary channel is the right (starboard). If the red band is on the top, the primary channel is to the left (port) side. This marker indicates the primary channel is on the starboard.

 

copyright BoatEd, Inc. used by permission.copyright BoatEd, Inc. used by permission.Shapes of buoys, numbers and letters play key roles in the lateral system. Generally, green port side buoys in the main and secondary channels are "can" or square-shaped markers and odd-numbered. Red starboard side buoys in these channels are "nun" or triangular-shaped markers and even-numbered.

 


Other Markers
copyright BoatEd, Inc. used by permission.Inland waters obstruction markers are white with black stripes. You should not pass between these buoys and the shore.
Navigational markers also may be black and/or white, red and/or white, numbered or lettered, indicating locally-placed or outdated navigational systems.
Yellow buoys indicate special markings such as traffic separations, international boundaries, anchorage areas, dredging, fish net area, etc.