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 BUOY IDENTIFICATION

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    Boating Safety - Buoy Marker Identification 

Buoy Identification - Aids To Marine Navigation 

Aids to navigation found on federal waters, commonly known as buoys or channel markers, are designed, built and maintained by the United States Coast Guard. While some Aids to Navigation are buoys, many others may be day markers, ranges, or many other types of marks that provide the boating public with a "sense of direction" while on the water. Generally speaking, green markers are kept to the RIGHT when leaving a harbor and red markers are kept to the RIGHT when returning to harbor, thus coining the phrase, "Red, Right , Returning".

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1.  A Can Buoy marks the RIGHT side of the channel leaving a harbor. It will be GREEN and have ODD numbers on it.

2.  Green Daymarkers are often used in shallow areas for the same purpose.

3.  If the green marker has several pilings supporting it, it will be called a Dolphin

4. Green Lighted buoys with lights will usually be found in deeper water. The light will be green.  Larger  buoys may also have bells or other sound producing devices attached.

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5.  A Nun Buoy marks the LEFT side of the channel leaving a harbor. It will be RED and have EVEN numbers on it.

6.  Red Daymarkers are often used in shallow areas for the same purpose. Triangular with EVEN numbers on it.
If the red marker has several pilings supporting it, it will be called a Dolphin.

7.  Red Lighted buoys with lights will usually be found in deeper water. The light will be red. Larger buoys may also have bells or other sound producing devices attached.

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8.  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 green, treat it as a green marker. (ex: Green on top is -- On starboard, leaving the harbor).

9.  Just as with red and green markers, they may be found as Preferred Daymarks or floating buoys. The preferred or better channel is on top. They will have the same color light at the top color of the marker and they may have letters but not numbers.  

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10.  The Safe Water marker  These are white with red vertical stripes and indicate unobstructed water on all sides. They mark mid-channels or fairways and may be passed on either side.

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11.  Special Purpose markers are yellow and may serve a wide range of uses, including but not limited to things such as dredging, fish trap areas, spoils areas or military exercises.

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12.  Range Daymarkers 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 in lining them up.

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13.  Some Daymarkers will have no lateral significance. They are not designed to indicate the channel but rather, to help you know where you are.  

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14.  Typical information and regulatory white markers and or buoys with an orange boarder, 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.
 
 

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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