Special Buoys

by John MacFarlane 2016

Special buoys are used to convey specific information to the mariner. These buoys are not primarily used to assist in the navigation of the vessel. The shapes of special buoys have no significance and a variety of shapes may be used in practice. All special buoys, where lighted, will display yellow lights. With the exception of ODAS buoys, these lights will be flashing (Fl)4s, meaning that they will flash regularly at intervals of 4 seconds. Each ODAS Buoy, if lighted, will also carry yellow lights but will display a group flashing character of 5 flashes every 20 seconds, Fl(5)20s.

No Anchorage Sign

Pipeline Crossing Marker (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )

The coastal ocean bottom on the British Columbia coast is littered with oil and gas pipelines, electrical cables, telephone and cable TV services, water and sewer pipelines, sensors, tunnels and other hazards. It means you can’t anchor just anywhere. The risk is that an anchor will snag one of these structures and cause damage or death.

No Anchorage Sign

No Anchorage Marker (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )

No Anchorage Sign

The Westport I Passing a "No Anchorage Marker" (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )

Sometimes the signage gives no indication of the exact nature of the hazard – it just say "no anchorage".

Cautionary Buoy

Cautionary Buoy (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )

A cautionary buoy marks an area to warn mariners of nearby dangers.

Special Buoy

Diver Down Buoy (Photo from the Google collection. )

A diving buoy is coloured white and carries a red flag not less than 50 centimetres square with a white diagonal stripe extending from the tip of the hoist to the bottom of the fly. It may display identification letter(s) and if it carries retroreflective material, such material is yellow.

Private Buoy

A British Columbia Government buoy at the site of the wreck of the G.B. Church (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )

An information buoy displays, by means of words or symbols, information of interest to the mariner. An information buoy is coloured white and has an orange, open faced square symbol on two opposite sides and two orange horizontal bands, one above and one below the square symbols. The information words or symbols are black and are placed within the white face of the square symbol. It may display identification letter(s).

Control Buoy

Control Buoy (Photo from Transport Canada. )

A control buoy marks an area where boating is restricted. A control buoy is coloured white and has an orange, open faced circle on two opposite sides and two orange horizontal bands, one above and one below the circles. A black figure or symbol inside the orange circles indicates the nature of the restriction in effect. It may display identification letter(s).

Swim Buoy

Swimming Buoy (Photo from Transport Canada. )

A swimming buoy marks the perimeter of a swimming area. A swimming buoy is coloured white, and may display identification letter(s).

Mooring Buoy

Mooring Buoy (Photo from the MacFarlane collection. )

A mooring buoy is used for mooring or securing a vessel, seaplane, etc. A mooring buoy is coloured white and orange, the orange colour covering the top one third of the buoy above the waterline. It may display identification letter(s).

Private Buoy

Private Buoy (Photo from the MacFarlane collection. )

Private Buoy Regulations apply to all private buoys placed as aids to navigation – except those used to mark fishing apparatus.



To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2016) Special Buoys. Nauticapedia.ca 2016. http://nauticapedia.ca/Gallery/Buoy_Special.php

New Nauticapedia Book Just Published!

Volume Four in series

The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia's Floating Heritage Volume Four

Book — British Columbia's Floating Heritage
For more information …

Site News: November 13th, 2017

Databases have been updated and are now holding 50,543 vessel histories (with 4,571 images) and 57,599 mariner biographies (with 3,482 images).


© 2002-2017