What are aids to navigation?
To find our way safely from place to place on land, we must depend on road signs . The same concept applies while on the water.
The aids to navigation are the road signs of the water. Learning to understand them requires experience and practice. However, the benefit to be derived in being able to navigate safely by using the system is well worth the effort.
In this system, there are lateral and non-lateral markers.
What does lateral markers indicate?
The lateral markers indicate the navigable channel by their position, shape, coloring, numbering and light characteristics.
To navigate safely using the lateral markers, you should pass between the red and green. Returning from sea, the red markers are on your right (red, right, returning) and the green are on your left.
What does non-lateral markers indicate?
Non-lateral markers are navigation aids that give information other than the edges of safe water areas. The most common are regulatory markers that are white and use orange markings and black lettering.
Lateral Buoys and Markers
In the International system, navigation aids mark the edges of channels to tell which way open water is. They are called day beacons if unlighted, lights if lighted at night, or buoys if they are floating. Some buoys are also lighted for identification at night.
What colour is a starboard buoy?
Starboard hand buoys are red with even numbers.
What is the colour of the light of the starboard buoy at night?
Starboard buoy at night displays a red flashing light.
What colour is a starboard hand day beacon?
Starboard hand day beacon are coloured red with even numbers.
What colour is a Port Buoy?
Port hand buoys are coloured green and marked with odd numbers.
What is the colour of the light of the port buoy at night?
Port buoy at night displays a green flashing light.
What colour is a port hand day beacon?
Port hand day beacon are coloured green with odd numbers.
"Red, Right, Returning"
"Red, Right, Returning" tells you to leave the red markers to your right, or starboard, when returning from sea. The green markers are then left on your port side and between is the channel. Be sure to look behind you when navigating a narrow channel to make sure you are not being pushed out by wind or current.
Floating Red markers are called nuns and are cone-shaped. They are numbered with even numbers. Floating Green markers, on the other hand, are called cans and are square-shaped like a large can and carry odd numbers.