PADDLERsmart! Canada Knowledge Base

Module 05 - Markers and Buoys


Aids to Navigation or are a system of buoys and waterway markers. These markers each have their own identifying marks, colours and numbers that help boaters:

  • Determine their position
  • Identify any hazards and waterway obstructions.
  • Choose the most preferred, and safest route for their boat

Additionally, navigational aids can be instruments like an onboard compass or Global Position System (GPS) boaters can use to plot a boat's position and course on nautical charts, and other nautical publications.

There are two main navigational systems used on Canadian waterways, these are:

  • The Lateral System and,
  • The Cardinal System

Remember: Under the Criminal Code of Canada it is illegal to interfere or tamper with any navigation aid. Operators should never tie up to a marker, buoy, or any other navigational aid. In addition, it is illegal to alter, remove or conceal a signal, buoy or other type of navigation marker.


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