Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Aids to Navigation

Buoys are the most familiar aids to navigation-they’re the signposts of the water. Here’s how they work: entering a channel or river from open water, buoys on the right (starboard) are painted red and are even numbered starting from the mouth. Buoys on the left (port) side of the channel are green buoys with odd numbers. Stay between the red and green buoys and keep to the right of the channel.

Buoys marking mid-channel have red and white vertical stripes; those marking junctions are striped horizontally red or green with the top band marking the best channel. Red top: keep buoy on your right. Green top: keep buoy on your left. Remember: RRR for “Red Right Returning.” Returning means going upstream, or coming from the ocean.

Floating Channel Markers

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Special Buoy (Yellow): A caution area meaning to steer clear. Indicates an isolated danger.
green_buoy
Can Buoy (Green): Keep buoy to left going upstream.
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Nun Buoy (Red): Keep buoy to right going upstream.
lighted_buoy1 lighted_buoy2
Lighted, whistle, bell, horn, or gong buoy —may be red, green, or yellow.

Boaters may only tie up to designated mooring buoys. Do not tie up to any other type of navigation buoy or other aids to navigation.

Additional Markers Stationary Channel Markers
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Daymark
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Daymark
Lighted (White Light):
Mid-channel buoy —pass close either side or unlighted red and white, vertically striped, spherical buoy.
Channel Junction Buoy (Red Top) —Keep buoy to right going upstream. (Keep Green Top buoy to left.) daymark_a
Daymark

Uniform State Waterway Marking System

It is unlawful to place unauthorized regulatory markers on or near the public waters.

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Opposite green and red buoys mark channel
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Diamond with wording
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Diamond with cross
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Explanation in circle
marker_rectangle
Square or rectangle for information
marker_blue_band
Blue banded white buoy
marker_scuba
Skin or scuba diver
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Vessel attending divers

Scuba divers or snorkelers must display “Diver Down” flag that marks their area and boats must maintain distance of 25 yards or more from any displayed diver down flag.