To find our method safely from location to ar on the water, we must depend on road indicators just as we perform on land. The aids to navigation are the road signs of the water. Finding out to understand them needs experience and also practice. However, the advantage to be acquired in being able come navigate safely by making use of the system is well worth the effort.

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U.S. Aids to Navigation


The buoys and beacons in this device conform come the worldwide Association that Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) guidelines and are situated in IALA region B. In this system, there space lateral and also non-lateral markers. The lateral markers indicate the navigable channel by your position, shape, coloring, numbering and light characteristics.

To navigate safely making use of the lateral markers, you must pass in between the red and green. Returning from sea, the red markers space on your best (red, right, returning) and the eco-friendly are on her left.

Lateral Buoys and Markers

In the global system, navigation aids note the edges of channels to phone call which method open water is. Castle are dubbed day beacons if unlighted, lamp if lighted at night, or buoys if they are floating. Some buoys are also lighted because that identification at night.

Starboard buoy (red)


Starboard buoy in ~ night (red)


Starboard work beacon (red)


Port buoy (green)


Port buoy at night (green)


Port day beacon (green)


"Red, Right, Returning" tells you to leave the red markers to your right, or starboard, when returning from sea. The green markers room then left on your port side and also between is the channel. Be certain to watch behind you once navigating a small channel to make sure you are not being moved out by wind or current.

Floating Red markers are dubbed nuns and are cone-shaped. They are numbered with even numbers. Floating green markers, on the various other hand, are referred to as cans and also are square-shaped favor a large can and carry odd numbers.

Study guide Table that Contents

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Upstream vs downstream

Upstream environment-friendly colored buoy = port side buoy. Upstream red colored buoy = Starboard side buoy

Junction Buoys & Markers

Junction markers suggest the wanted channel at points where the waterway splits or branches turn off in an additional direction.

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How to check out a Nautical Chart

The nautical chart is for the mariner what the roadway map is for the driver. Some tips on analysis nautical charts.

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