143035_DBW Course_r3

Chapter 2 X Boating Law, Navigational Rules and Navigational Aids

NAVIGATIONAL AIDS Like streets and highways, California waterways have navigation signs that direct traffic. These navigation signs are called the U.S. Aids to Navigation System, or ATONs. The U.S. Aids to Navigation System include lateral naviga tion markers, non-lateral markers and safe water aids.


Boat exclusion area

ATONs Help Boaters: ƒ Avoid problems ƒ Travel safely ƒ Navigate from one place to another ƒ Locate their positions


Non-Lateral Markers (State) The Uniform State Waterways Marking System (USWMS) uses regulatory markers and informational aids to navigation mostly on lakes and other inland waterways, but may also be used on federal waters. As shown on this page, informational markers are identified by their white color with orange geometric shapes. These regulatory markers designate: ƒ Boat exclusion areas: A diamond shape with a centered cross designates areas that boats must stay away from, such as swim areas, dams or rapids. Wording may be placed outside the crossed diamond shape. ƒ Danger: An open-faced diamond identifies the nature of the danger, such as rock, wreck or shoal (shallow area). Wording may be posted inside the diamond shape. ƒ Controlled area: A circular shape designates a controlled area, and wording may identify the type of control, such as “5 mph,” “no wake” or “anchoring.” The warning may be placed inside the circle. ƒ Information: A square or a rectangle displays official information, such as directions and locations. ƒ A white mooring buoy with a blue band: The buoy may show a white reflector or light, and is for mooring only. ƒ Inland waters obstruction mark: A white buoy with black vertical stripes indicates an obstruction to navigation. To avoid the obstruction, do not pass between the buoy and the shore. Buoys can be used to display regulatory markers. They may show a white light and may be lettered.



Mooring buoy

Inland waters obstruction mark


California Course for Safe Boating

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