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When Returning to Port From Seaward and You See a Red Buoy How Should You Respond

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

when returning to port from seaward and you see a red buoy how should you respond

Safety is our top priority in boating, whether you’re enjoying relaxing on your boat in a small river or if you’re out in the open sea. To help us stay safe, we have water markers that give us important information about our surroundings. But when returning to port from seaward and you see a red buoy how should you respond?

In this short article, we’ll take a look at the red buoy that we may encounter when returning to port, including if you see a red buoy what should you do.

Keep reading to learn more.

The Red Lateral Marker


When returning to home port from seaward and you see a red buoy, that’s a lateral marker, also known as a starboard hand buoy. Along with green lateral markers, red ones are used to mark the edges of a channel. The space between the red and green buoys is the designated channel of passage for boats on the water.

While there may be variations to the appearance of red markers, their red color is the easiest way to identify them. They will either have a red body or have a red light.

It’s worth noting that different countries use different standardizations. The US, along with other countries in the Americas, Japan, and the Philippines, makes use of the IALA region B standard.

Red Right Returning

A simple way to remember what to do with the red buoy or red lateral marker is to remember the simple phrase, “red right returning.” We simply keep the red buoy to our right as we return to port.

Red and Green Buoys

There may also be times when we see buoys that are both red and green. These are junction markers, and they are used when the channel splits.

While these will have both red and green sections, the important thing to note is the color of the top section. If red is on top, then keep the buoy to your right as you continue. If the top is green, then keep it to your left.


Now you know all about the red buoy, also known as the starboard hand marker. You no longer have to worry about when returning to port from seaward and you see a red buoy how should you respond. Just be sure to keep an eye out for this navigation aid.

Don’t forget to share this article if you know anyone else wondering about red buoys. We’d also very much like to hear your thoughts and comments about this, so please leave them below.

Remember to boat safely.

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