Buoys and also markers room the "traffic signals" that guide vessel operator safely along some waterways. They likewise identify danger or controlled areas and give directions and also information. Learn about the different species and colors of buoys and also markers in this section.

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Lateral Markers

These navigation aids note the edge of safe water areas: because that example, directing traffic within a channel. The markers usage a mix of colors and also numbers, which may show up on one of two people buoys or permanently inserted markers.

Colors and Numbers

The colors and numbers have actually the same an interpretation regardless the the kind of buoy or marker on which castle appear.

Red Colors, Red Lights and also Even Numbers

These note the edge of the channel on your starboard (right) side together you get in from open up sea or head upstream. Numbers usually increase consecutively together you return from open sea or head upstream.

Green Colors, eco-friendly Lights and Odd Numbers

These mark the edge of the channel on her port (left) side as you go into from open sea or head upstream. Numbers usually boost consecutively as you return from open up sea or head upstream.

Red and also Green colors and/or Lights

These are inserted at the junction that two channels to suggest the desired (primary) channel when a channel splits. If eco-friendly is ~ above top, the preferred channel is to the right. If red is top top top, the preferred channel is to the left. These can likewise be described as "junction buoys."


Nun BuoyThese cone-shaped buoys room always significant with red markings and even numbers. They note the sheet of the channel on your starboard (right) side once entering from open sea or heading upstream.

deserve to Buoy

These cylindrical-shaped buoys are always marked with eco-friendly markings and odd numbers. They note the sheet of the channel on your port (left) side once entering from open up sea or heading upstream.

various other Kinds that Buoys and Markers

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


These are permanent signs attached come structures, such together posts, in the water. Typical daymarks are red triangles (equivalent come nuns) and also green squares (equivalent to cans). They also may it is in lighted.

"Red best Returning"

In many circumstances, you deserve to use this phrase as a reminder that the exactly course as soon as returning from open waters or heading upstream.

variations on the U.S. Aids come Navigation device

The Intercostal Waterway (ICW) is a chain that local networks linked with each other to administer an inland passage follow me the Atlantic and also Gulf of Mexico coasts. Networks that are part of the ICW are established by yellow symbols on channel buoys and also markers. When adhering to the ICW from brand-new Jersey heading towards Brownsville, Texas, this rules apply:

any type of marker displaying a yellow triangle should be passed by keeping it on the starboard (right) side of the vessel.Any marker displaying a yellow square need to be passed by keeping it top top the harbor (left) side of the vessel.These rules host regardless of the shape or color of the channel marker or buoy on i m sorry the ICW symbols space displayed. When complying with the ICW, the yellow markings should be supplied as guides, rather than the colors and shapes the the lateral navigation markers ~ above which lock appear. Intercoastal Waterway symbols space most generally found top top daymarks.

Western Rivers System

This device of markers is provided on the Mississippi River and also its tributaries above Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and also on some other rivers that flow toward the Gulf the Mexico. Navigation markers ~ above the western Rivers mechanism are no numbered. Numbers displayed listed below daymarks follow me this mechanism are not connected with the right or left side of the channel; these numbers show distance native the river's mouth (except the Ohio River, indicating distance for the headwaters).

Non-Lateral mite

These offer information various other than the edge of for sure water areas. Lock are uncovered on lakes and also rivers and are provided to:

offer directions and also informationWarn the hazards and also obstructionsMark managed areasMark exclusion (closed) locations
for sure Water markers

These space white v red vertical stripes and indicate unobstructed water on all sides. They mark mid-channels and fairway, and also may be passed on either side.

Inland Waters Obstruction markers

These space white through black vertical stripes and indicate one obstruction to navigation. You have to not pass in between these buoys and the nearest shore.

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Mooring Buoys

These room white through a blue horizontal band, usually put in marinas and other locations where ship are permitted to anchor. These space the only buoys you may tie up to legally.