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AToN is an acronym meaning Aids to Navigation

 

AIDS TO NAVIGATION ON CANADIAN WATERWAYS

 

 

Aids to navigation are devices or systems that are external to a vessel and that help watercraft operators determine position, course, warn of dangers and/or obstructions and/or indicate the location of safe or preferred channels or routes. Aids to navigation take many forms and can include buoys, day beacons, range markers, and lighthouses.

The content in this page is to be used for information purposes only and was not authored by BuoysandLights.com. Use the links below to jump to specific sections:

Lateral Buoy System

Standard Day Beacons

Fairway and Isolated Danger Buoys

Cardinal Buoy System

Special Purpose Buoys

 

 

Lateral Buoy System

Lateral buoys indicate safe routes by marking the left and right sides of the deepest water. There are four main types of lateral buoys: port-hand buoys, starboard-hand buoys, port junction buoys and starboard junction buoys.

Port-hand buoys and starboard-hand buoys are used to mark the left and right hand sides of channels. By international convention, the right side of a stream, channel, or river is the side that is on one's right when one is facing upstream (and the left side is the side on one's left when facing upstream). Thus, port-hand (left-hand) buoys are always located on the left-hand side of channels, and starboard-hand (right-hand) buoys are always positioned on the right-hand side. Traditionally, the term upstream means any direction that is moving up-river, into a harbour, or toward a shoreline.

 

STARBOARD-HAND BUOYS

Starboard-hand buoys are red in color and mark a danger or the right-hand side of a channel (when facing upstream). When traveling upstream, a starboard-hand buoy should always be kept on the starboard side of the vessel.

  • A starboard-hand buoy's top-mark is a single red cone pointing upward.

  • If equipped with a light, it is red in color and operates on either a (Fl) 4s flash cycle (single flashes 4 seconds apart) or on a (Q) 1s quick-flash cycle (single flashes 1 second apart).

  • This buoy is identified by letters and even-digit numbers.

 

PORT-HAND BUOYS

Port-hand buoys are green in color and mark a danger or the left-hand side of a channel (when facing upstream). When traveling upstream, a port-hand buoy should always be kept on the port side of the vessel. Port-hand buoys are flat on top.

  • A port-hand buoy's top-mark is a single green cylinder.

  • If equipped with a light, it is green in color and operates on either a (F1) 4s pattern (single flashes 4 seconds apart) or a (Q) 1s quick-flash pattern (single flashes 1 second apart).

  • This buoy is identified by letters and odd-digit numbers.

 

   

Note:

Floating Buoys are held in place by cables and/or chains which are attached to anchors.

        There are 3 basic types of floating  buoys:

  • Lighted Buoys

  • Spar Buoys

  • Can Buoys

 

 
 

 

When traveling upstream, port-hand (green) buoys should always be kept on the port (left) side of the vessel and starboard-hand (red) buoys should be kept on the starboard (right) side of the vessel (the reverse is true when traveling downstream)

A simple way to remember on what side to leave buoys when traveling upstream is to use the mnemonic (new-mawn-ick) code "red, right, return", which means "keep red buoys on the right (starboard) side of the boat when returning upstream". Traditionally, the term upstream means any direction that is moving up-river, into a harbor, or toward a shoreline.

 
     

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For more information or to discuss your marine navigation project requirements, please give us a call or contact us today

 
 

 

 

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   Buoys and Lights Website Updated 2011  
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