2015 New York Safe Boating - 60

Navigational or Channel Marker

A channel may split to direct boats around an obstruction in
the water. To mark the channel to take, a preferred channel
buoy may be used. These buoys are colored with red and
green stripes, but the upper color denotes the direction of
the preferred channel.

Buoy systems link the source of the body of water, or the
farthest upstream point that a boat can safely navigate
(called the "head of navigation") with the outlet of the body
of water. The location of the head of navigation is the key
to the placement and use of channel markers, because the
head of navigation determines which side of the channel the
navigational aids are placed. On a lake, the inlet is considered
the head of navigation, and if the lake has more than one
inlet, the larger or major inlet is considered the head of
navigation.
The outlet is the place where the body of water empties: on a
river it might be the ocean or a lake, and on a lake it might be
a river. When entering a harbor (on a lake or the ocean) the
landward end of a channel is used as the head of navigation
only for the placement of buoys on that channel.
There are three buoy shapes. A "can" buoy is cylindrical in
shape, like an oil drum. It is green in color and if marked will
have an odd number. A "nun" buoy has a blunted conical
shape. It is red in color and if marked will have an even
number. If either a can or a nun buoy is lighted, the color of
the light will be the same as the color of the buoy, green for
a can buoy and red for a nun buoy. "Spar" buoys are slender
with a tapering shape. They are narrower and rounded at
top and much smaller than a can or nun. Spars are never
lighted. They may be used in place of a can or nun or as
winter replacements. Spars are used on state marked waters
only. An easy way to remember the shapes, color and number
of buoys is this silly little sentence: Even Red Nuns carry Odd
Green Cans.

When in a channel proceeding toward the head of
navigation (upstream), the red buoys lie on the boat's
starboard (right) side while the green buoys lie on the port
(left) side. A commonly used memory device to remember
this is Red Right Returning. This means that the RED buoys
will	lie	to	your	RIGHT	(starboard)	side	when	returning	to	port.	
	
Always remember to pass between the red and green buoys.
This will ensure that you stay in safe water that is deep
enough to permit navigation.

Lateral System (As Seen Entering From Seaward)
60



2015 New York Safe Boating

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