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These are the equivalent of road signs on highways. It is important to be aware of what is meant by the various marks. Take time to study a chart as well as study the buoyage to familiarise yourself with their meaning.


The Coming In Going Out Rule

bullet When leaving harbour the port (red) should be passed on boat's starboard (right) side.
bullet Upon entering harbour the port (red) mark should be passed on boat's port (left) side.

Types of Marks
Marks are used to show well established channels indicating the port (left) and starboard (right) hand side of channels.

Port mark
This mark is red, the top mark (if any) is a can shape. At night a red light may be shown.

Starboard mark
This mark is green, the top mark (if any) is a conical shape. At night a green light may be shown.

Safe Water mark
The water all around is free from obstruction of shallows. Coloured red with white vertical stripes. At night shows single white long flash every ten seconds, isophase or occulting. Top mark is single red sphere.

Isolated Danger mark
Indicates isolated danger, a submerged object with water all around, but don't pass close. Coloured black with one or more horizontal red bands. At night a white light showing a group of two flashes. Top mark black spheres.

Special mark
Indicates special area - could be spoil or foul ground marks, cable or pipeline marks, including outfall (sewage) pipes or a wreck. Coloured yellow, at night yellow light. The top mark is a single yellow cross. The light is yellow, any rhythm may be used other than those used for the white light of cardinal, isolated danger or safe water marks.

Cardinal Marks
Cardinal marks indicate the best and safest water and are used in conjunction with a compass. They can also indicate the safe side to pass a danger or a feature, such as a bend in channel or end of a shoal.


North Cardinal mark

bullet The top mark points up, black band above yellow band.
bullet Pass to North.

White light continuous flash.



East Cardinal mark

bullet The top mark points outward, black bands above and below yellow band.
bullet Pass to East.

White light three flashes.



South Cardinal mark

bullet The top mark points down, black band below yellow band.
bullet Pass to South.

White light six flashes and one long flash.



West Cardinal mark

bullet The top mark points inward, black band between yellow bands.
bullet Pass to West.

White light nine flashes.





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