Red and Green, Go-Between: A Guide to Buoys and What They Mean

Written by: John Maguire

Buoys are navigational devices that float on top of the water. Boaters will find and use buoys on rivers, lakes, intercoastal waterways, and the open ocean throughout the world. Some buoys are equipped with lights on the top, but others do not have lights. Buoys also come in different shapes. A buoy with a conical top is known as a "nun," while a buoy with a flat top is called a "can." Another type of navigational device that may be found on the water is known as a beacon. Beacons are permanently fixed, usually to the floor of the body of water. Beacons may have lights, but some do not. Those beacons without lights are called day beacons. When navigating the water in a boat, whether it's a large sailing yacht or a small fishing boat, you need to learn the nautical information communicated by buoys and beacons. This information is provided to keep boaters safe from harm and to help them avoid potential issues that might lead to accidents or property damage.

What Are Buoys?

History of Buoys

Types of Buoys and Their Uses

Navigational Signals From Buoys