A Course for Safe Boating
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California Boating 

A Course for Safe Boating

43

Chapter 2

u

Boating Law, Navigational Rules and Navigational Aids

Lateral Markers and Safe Water Aids (Federal)

The lateral markers guide navigation

on coastal waterways spanning more

than one state.

The marking system includes:

ƒ

ƒ

Lateral aids

marking the sides

of channels that boaters can see

when entering from seaward.

Port-side markers are green with

odd numbers, and starboard-

side markers are red with even

numbers. They include red and

green lighted buoys, red nun and

green can buoys, and red and

green daymarks.

»

A green can buoy marks the left

side of the channel when you’re

returning to port.

»

A red nun buoy marks the right

side of the channel when you’re

returning to port.

ƒ

ƒ

Safe water aids

mark mid-

channels and fairways. These

range markers are red and white,

exhibit no numbers, but may be

lettered. They include white-lighted

buoys, spherical-unlighted buoys,

and daymarks. Ships line up

these markers to stay on course in

mid-channel. In recent years, these

markers have been equipped with

radar reflectors so that large ships

can navigate at night.

»

A red-striped spherical buoy

marks the center of the channel.

“Red, Right, Returning” is a saying

to help you remember which side of

a channel the red and green buoys

are found. When you are returning

from seaward to a port or harbor, the

red buoys should be on your right

side. This will ensure that you’re in

the middle of a designated shipping

lane or channel.

2

1

Can buoy

(unlighted)

Marks the

center of the

channel

Spherical buoy

(unlighted)

Daymark

Nun buoy

(unlighted)

Daymark

SG

G “1”

G

C “7”

G “9”

Fl G 4 sec

TR

R “2”

R

N “6”

RW “A”

MR

R “8”

Fl R 4sec

Starboard Side

Even Numbers

Lighted buoy

(red light only)

Port Side

Odd Numbers

Lighted buoy

(green light only)

OR

OR

G

G

CF

A

A

Lighted

(white light)

OR

RW “G”

MO (A)

LATERAL MARKERS

SAFE WATER AIDS

RW

SP “G”

No Numbers,

May Be Lettered

Daymark