How Do You Navigate the Intercoastal Waterway?

Boat safety has a lot to do with understanding boat traffic protocol when at sea. The coloring and numbering which guide sailors through any waterway is mostly consistent with sailing the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), save a few additional yellow buoys. Viewing maps of this marking system is useful in understanding how best to plot a boating expedition.

The Intracoastal Waterway begins on the shore of New Jersey and extends south until surpassing the Floridian peninsula and ending in Brownsville, Texas. The yellow markers and directionals distinguish themselves from markers belonging to other waterways.

For example, a red buoy with a yellow square indicates the left side of a channel when traveling south on the ICW. When returning from sea, however, the same symbol signifies the right side of the channel. A green buoy with a yellow triangle usually points to the right side of the channel when traveling south on the ICW. Alternatively, heading in the opposite direction means the same symbol will steer sailors left. When sailors are confronted with only yellow triangles, it means the triangle should be passed on its starboard side. Yellow squares indicate just the opposite: that aids should be passed on the port side of the boat.