To find our means safely from location to ar on the water, we must depend top top road indications just as we do on land. The aids to navigating are the road indications of the water. Finding out to recognize them calls for experience and practice. However, the advantage to be obtained in gift able to navigate safe by utilizing the mechanism is well worth the effort.

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U.S. Aids to Navigation


The buoys and also beacons in this device conform come the international Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) guidelines and also 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 also light characteristics.

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

Lateral Buoys and also Markers

In the international system, navigation aids mark the edges of channels to tell which way open water is. Lock are dubbed day beacons if unlighted, lamp if lighted in ~ night, or buoys if they are floating. Part buoys are also lighted because that identification at night.

Starboard buoy (red)


Starboard buoy in ~ night (red)


Starboard job beacon (red)


Port buoy (green)


Port buoy at night (green)


Port day beacon (green)


"Red, Right, Returning" speak you to leaving the red markers to her right, or starboard, as soon as returning indigenous sea. The eco-friendly markers space then left on your port side and between is the channel. Be sure to look at behind you once navigating a narrow channel come make certain you are not being driven out by wind or current.

Floating Red mite are called nuns and also are cone-shaped. They space numbered with also numbers. Floating eco-friendly markers, on the various other hand, are called cans and also are square-shaped like a huge can and also carry strange numbers.

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Upstream vs downstream

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

Junction Buoys & Markers

Junction markers indicate the wanted channel in ~ points wherein the waterway splits or branches turn off in another direction.

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How to review a Nautical Chart

The nautical chart is for the mariner what the roadway map is for the driver. Part tips on reading nautical charts.

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