A buoy is a device that floats on the water to help boat operators. The Canadian Coast Guard installs buoys that guide boat operators on the waters; these are a type of navigational aid.
Navigational aids are devices or systems that are within the pleasure craft’s environment. They warn vessel operators of dangers or obstructions; like shallow water. Aids to navigation are provided to help pleasure craft operators determine their position and course, and indicate the best or preferred route to take.
A port hand buoy is on the left side of the channel when heading upstream.
A starboard hand buoy is on the right side of the channel when heading upstream.
A bifurcation buoy is used to mark the point at which a channel divides into two branches.
An isolated danger buoy marks an isolated danger on the water.
A junction daybeacon marks a point where a channel divides.
Unlike a port hand lateral buoy, a port hand daybeacon is fixed.
Unlike a starboard hand lateral buoy, a starboard hand daybeacon is fixed.
A anchorage buoy marks the outer limits of designated anchorage areas.
A cautionary buoy marks an area where mariners are to be warned of dangers.
A mooring buoy marks an area for mooring or securing vessels.
An information buoy displays information to the driver of the boat.
A hazard buoy marks random hazards such as rocks and shoal. It is white with an orange diamond on two opposite sides and two orange horizontal bands.
A control buoy marks an area where boating is restricted.
A keep out buoy indicates an area closed to navigation
A diving buoy marks an area where diving activity is taking place.
If a diving operation takes place from aboard a pleasure craft, Code flag Alpha or flag A (white and blue) from the International Code of signals which means “I have a diver in the water, keep well clear and at low speed” must be displayed.
A swimming buoy defines a swimming area.
Cardinal buoys point out a danger while referring to the four cardinal points.