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Cardinal buoys identify where is the safe water

Cardinal Buoys (north south east west)

The cardinal buoys & markers point out the whereabouts of danger while referring to the four cardinal points: north, south, east, and west.

Everywhere in Canada when you're navigating on the water, the cardinal buoys are used to indicate the location of the safest waters. For example, the north cardinal buoy indicates that navigable waters are north of the north cardinal buoy. It's coloured yellow and black and has a different flashing white color light on the top. How the strips are placed tells you which of those navigation markers buoy you encounter, i.e. a north cardinal buoy, a south cardinal buoy, a west cardinal buoy or a east cardinal buoy.

North Cardinal Buoy

  • A north cardinal buoy is located so that the safe water is to the north of the buoy
  • It is coloured black and yellow
  • The top is painted black indicating that it is a north buoy. The lower haft is painted yellow
  • If this buoy does not carry a light, it will be spar shaped

North cardinal buoy

North cardinal buoy light

South Cardinal Buoy

  • A south cardinal buoy is located so that the safe water is to the south of the buoy
  • It is coloured black and yellow
  • The black is positioned on the bottom indicating that it is pointing south. The upper portion is painted yellow

South cardinal buoy

East Cardinal Buoy

  • East cardinal buoy is located so that the safe water is to the east of the buoy
  • It is coloured black and yellow
  • the black is positioned on the top and the bottom with the yellow portion in the middle to indicate that it is an east buoy

East cardinal buoy - safe water east

West Cardinal Buoy

  • West cardinal buoy is located so that the safe water is to the west of the buoy
  • It is coloured black and yellow
  • The black is positioned in the center to indicate that it is a west buoy The yellow is positioned top and bottom.

West cardinal buoy

To learn more about the different buoys and beacons that can be found on the waters in Canada.