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Types of buoys and what they mean

 

What is a Buoy?

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. 

What is a 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.

Lateral buoys system

The lateral buoys system marks the two sides of a channel (port and starboard side) according to whether we're going upstream or downstream.

Port hand buoy

Port hand buoy

A port hand buoy is on the left side of the channel when heading upstream. 

Starboard hand buoy

Starboard hand buoy

A starboard hand buoy is on the right side of the channel when heading upstream. 

Bifurcation buoy

Bifurcation buoy

A bifurcation buoy is used to mark the point at which a channel divides into two branches.

Isolated danger buoy

Isolated danger buoy

An isolated danger buoy marks an isolated danger on the water.

Junction daybeacon

Port junction daybeacon

Starboard junction daybeacon

A junction daybeacon marks a point where a channel divides.

Port hand daybeacon

Port hand day beacon

Unlike a port hand lateral buoy, a port hand daybeacon is fixed.

Starboard hand daybeacon

Starboard hand daybeacon

Unlike a starboard hand lateral buoy, a starboard hand daybeacon is fixed.

Special buoys

Anchorage buoy

Anchorage buoy

anchorage buoy marks the outer limits of designated anchorage areas.

Cautionary buoy

Cautionary buoy

A cautionary buoy marks an area where mariners are to be warned of dangers.

Mooring buoy

Mooring buoy

A mooring buoy marks an area for mooring or securing vessels.

Information buoy

Information buoy

An information buoy displays information to the driver of the boat.

Hazard buoy

Hazard buoy

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.

Control buoy

Control buoy

A control buoy marks an area where boating is restricted.

Keep out buoy

Keep out buoy

A keep out buoy indicates an area closed to navigation

Diving buoy

Diving buoy

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. 

Swimming buoy

Swimming buoy

swimming buoy defines a swimming area.

Cardinal buoys

Cardinal buoys

Cardinal buoys point out a danger while referring to the four cardinal points.