Buoys and also markers space the "traffic signals" that overview vessel operators safely along part waterways. They additionally identify dangerous or regulated areas and also give directions and information. Learn around the different species and colour of buoys and markers in this section.

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Lateral Markers

These navigating aids note the edges of for sure water areas: for example, directing web traffic within a channel. The markers usage a mix of colors and also numbers, i m sorry may appear on either buoys or permanently placed markers.

Colors and also Numbers

The colors and also numbers have actually the same meaning regardless that the sort of buoy or marker on which lock appear.

Red Colors, Red Lights and Even Numbers

These note the edge of the channel on your starboard (right) side together you go into from open up sea or head upstream. Number usually rise consecutively together you return from open sea or head upstream.

Green Colors, environment-friendly Lights and also Odd Numbers

These note the leaf of the channel on her port (left) side as you enter from open up sea or head upstream. Numbers usually rise consecutively together you return from open sea or head upstream.

Red and Green colour and/or Lights

These are put at the junction the two channels to suggest the wanted (primary) channel once a channel splits. If environment-friendly is ~ above top, the desired channel is come the right. If red is on top, the desired channel is come the left. These can also be described as "junction buoys."


Nun BuoyThese cone-shaped buoys room always marked with red markings and also even numbers. They mark the edge of the channel on your starboard (right) side as soon as entering from open up sea or heading upstream.

deserve to Buoy

These cylindrical-shaped buoys space always significant with eco-friendly markings and odd numbers. They note the edge of the channel on her port (left) side when entering from open sea or heading upstream.

various other Kinds that Buoys and also Markers

Lighted BuoysThese buoys usage lateral mite shapes, colors and also numbers, and also have a matching colored light.


These are permanent indications attached come structures, such together posts, in the water. Common daymarks space red triangles (equivalent come nuns) and also green squares (equivalent come cans). They likewise may be lighted.

"Red right Returning"

In most circumstances, you can use this expression as a reminder the the exactly course when returning from open up waters or heading upstream.

sports on the U.S. Aids to Navigation system

The Intercostal Waterway (ICW) is a chain the local networks linked together to administer an inland passage along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Networks that are component of the ICW are figured out by yellow icons on channel buoys and markers. When following the ICW from new Jersey heading toward Brownsville, Texas, these rules apply:

any type of marker displaying a yellow triangle need to be happen by maintaining it top top the starboard (right) side of the vessel.Any marker displaying a yellow square need to be happen by maintaining it ~ above the harbor (left) next of the vessel.These rules host regardless that the form or shade of the channel mite or buoy on which the ICW symbols space displayed. When complying with the ICW, the yellow markings should be supplied as guides, quite than the colors and also shapes of the lateral navigation markers ~ above which they appear. Intercoastal Waterway symbols room most generally found top top daymarks.

Western Rivers System

This system of markers is supplied on the Mississippi River and its tributaries over Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and also on some other rivers that flow toward the Gulf of Mexico. Navigating markers on the west Rivers mechanism are not numbered. Number displayed below daymarks along this mechanism are not connected with the ideal or left side of the channel; these numbers show distance from the river's mouth (except the Ohio River, indicating street for the headwaters).

Non-Lateral markers

These give information various other than the edges of for sure water areas. They are discovered on lakes and rivers and also are supplied to:

offer directions and informationWarn the hazards and also obstructionsMark managed areasMark exemption (closed) areas
for sure Water mite

These are white with red vertical stripes and indicate unobstructed water on every sides. They mark mid-channels and also fairway, and also may it is in passed on one of two people side.

Inland Waters Obstruction markers

These space white v black upright stripes and also indicate one obstruction to navigation. You need to not pass in between these buoys and the nearest shore.

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Mooring Buoys

These space white with a blue horizontal band, usually placed in marinas and other locations where vessels are allowed to anchor. These are the only buoys you might tie up to legally.