Washington Boating Safety Course


CHAPTER 6: On the Waterways

U.S. AIDS TO NAVIGATION SYSTEM (ATON)

GREEN LATERAL MARKER

Green lateral marker

Keep this marker on your left (port) side when proceeding in the upstream (returning from sea) direction. Odd numbers will be displayed and will increase as you head upstream.

 

RED LATERAL MARKER

Red lateral marker

Keep this marker on your right (starboard) side when proceeding in the upstream (returning from sea) direction. Even numbers will be displayed and will increase as you head upstream.

 

RED AND GREEN LATERAL MARKER

Red and green lateral marker

You may pass this marker on either side when proceeding in the upstream direction, but the main or preferred channel is indicated by the color of the topmost band. For example, the illustrated marker above indicates the preferred channel is to the right, so you would keep the marker on your left (port) side when passing.

 

NUN BUOYS

Nun buoy

Cone-shaped markers that are always red in color, with even numbers. Keep this marker on your right (starboard) side when proceeding in the upstream returning from sea) direction.

 

CAN BUOYS

Can buoy

Cylindrical-shaped markers that are always green in color, with odd numbers. Keep this marker on your left (port) side when proceeding in the upstream (returning from sea) direction.

 

DAYMARKS

Day markers

Green squares with odd numbers are the equivalent of can buoys; keep this marker on your left side. Red triangles with even numbers are the equivalent of nun buoys; keep this marker on your right side. Both green squares and red triangles can be lighted as well.

 

GENERAL RULE OF THUMB

Here's a simple way to help remember these rules: think of the three R's...

RED to the RIGHT when RETURNING

Keep the red markers on your right side when returning upstream from sea. In many places, the direction of the current is determined by consensus or by the tidethe rise and fall of waters caused by the gravitational forces of the moon and sun..

Red Right Return