Buoys in general are floating markers that provide information and navigational aid to boaters on the water. Buoys serve as the equivalent of floating road signs, communicating information to all those on and around the water with the goal of safety for all. Buoys come in several categories with specific purposes including mooring buoys, channel marker buoys, and regulatory buoys. Here we explore the latter, and go into depth on what regulatory buoys are, the messages they convey, and how to interpret them.
What is a Regulatory Buoy?
Regulatory buoys are buoys designed to communicate a range of information to boaters, ship captains, and others on and around the water. Through a combination of symbols and words, regulatory buoys can convey warnings, indicate locations, and spell out rules and regulations. Typically, a regulatory buoy is white with orange symbols and bands, and black text. These buoys are approved and universally used by local, state, and federal agencies to ensure water safety. They are appropriate for government and private applications.