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You See a White Marker With Black Vertical Stripes. What Should You Do?

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

you see a white marker with black vertical stripes. what should you do

While you’re out on the water, you see a white marker with black vertical stripes. What should you do? There are various water markers that we may encounter while boating, and it’s important to know what they are and how to respond to them not only for our safety but for others’ as well.

In this article, we’ll cover not just the white marker with vertical stripes but other similar markers that are also important to know about. We’ll also find out what color is a marker that indicates safe water.

Keep reading to learn more.

White Marker With Vertical Stripes


There are two different white markers with vertical stripes. They are both non-lateral water markers that are used to convey information about the surrounding area.

The major difference between these two markers with vertical stripes is their color. One has red stripes while the other has black stripes. While they are very similar, it is important to be able to tell them apart.

1. Safe water

The white marker with vertical stripes that are red is the marker for safe water. It indicates that the surrounding area is unobstructed water. These are usually found in the middle of designated water channels for boat passage. Seeing this marker means it is safe to pass through the waters surrounding it.

2. Obstruction

In contrast, the white marker with black vertical stripes is the obstruction marker. If the safe water marker marks areas that are safe for passage, the obstruction marker does the opposite.

Seeing an obstruction marker means that the area is unsafe for boat passage due to the presence of an obstruction to navigation. When you see a white buoy with black vertical stripes, it is best to avoid the marked area for safety.

Other Important Markers

There are many other important water markers that give important information. Some common ones are those with a white body and orange markings. These markers give us more specific information about the surrounding waters.

1. White Markers With Orange and Black Markings

There are four common markers which are white with orange markings and black letters.

First, the information marker gives information or directions relating to the surrounding area, such as which way to go in order to find food. These have an orange square marking.

The controlled area marker informs us of specific restrictions in a certain area, usually relating to speed or the type of water vehicle that is allowed to pass through. This has an orange circle.

The danger area marker specifies certain dangers found in the surrounding area such as rocks that may be above or below water. It is a white marker with an orange diamond and black lettering.

The exclusion area marker also has a diamond but with a cross inside the diamond. It indicates an area that is off-limits to boats.

2. Mooring Buoy

Another common water marker is the mooring buoy, which is placed near marinas and in designated mooring areas. If you see a white buoy with a blue band, that is the mooring buoy.

More than just a marker, the mooring buoy is functional in another way, as it is used to moor boats by tying. Except for the mooring buoy, boaters are not allowed to tie their vessels to any other water marker.


You see a white marker with black vertical stripes. What should you do? After reading this article, you no longer have to wonder about this situation. Just be sure to check out other water markers that are also important to know about.

If someone asks you the above question, please share what you know with them as well. It will be better for everyone the more people know about water markers. Also, please leave your thoughts regarding this topic below.

Remember to boat safely.

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