Lake Superior Boating Guide:
Aids to Navigation

Navigational aids are signposts to guide boaters. They generally consist of buoys (lighted and unlighted) and fixed lights.

Red and green buoys are called companion buoys because they are usually seen together.

  • Red buoys and markers are always kept to your starboard (right) side when returning to shore or moving upstream (generally to the west on Lake Superior); even numbers if numbered.
  • Green buoys are kept on the port (left) and display odd numbers.

You should always stay between the red and green buoys. The numbers on the marker will also be on navigational charts so you can easily double check your position.

A red and white striped buoy topped with a red ball marks the center of a channel and should be passed closely on the right side.


Aids to Navigation illustration of buoys and floating channel markers.

Illustration showing a variety of buoys and channel markers.


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