• Shapes have no special meaning
  • May be lettered – no numbers
  • Cautionary, scientific and anchorage buoys may display a yellow “X” topmark
  • Yellow lights – flash characters (if equipped)
  • Yellow retroreflective material


A cautionary buoy marks dangers such as firing ranges, underwater pipelines, race courses, seaplane bases and areas where no through channel exists.



An anchorage buoy marks the outer limits of designated anchorage areas. Consult the chart for water depth.



A mooring buoy is used for mooring or securing vessels. Be aware that when you see one, there may be a vessel secured to it.



An information buoy displays information such as locality, marina, campsite, etc. inside the orange square.



A hazard buoy marks random hazards such as shoals and rocks. You will find information illustrated inside the orange diamond.



Obey the speed limits, wash restrictions, etc. are illustrated inside the orange circle.


Keep out

A keep out buoy marks areas your vessel may not enter.


Scientific (ODAS)

An ocean data acquisition system buoy collects weather and other scientific data.



A diving buoy marks an area where scuba or other such diving activity is in progress. You are not likely to find them on navigation charts.



A swimming buoy marks the outer limits of swimming areas. It may not appear on your navigation charts.


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