June 5, 2024

2 min


You See a White Buoy with an Orange Square and Black Lettering. What Does This Buoy Tell You?

Information buoy

When you’re out on the water, buoys and markers serve as essential navigational aids, guiding sailors and boaters safely through waterways and regulated areas. Among these various markers, a white buoy with an orange square and black lettering is a specific type of regulatory marker. But what exactly does it indicate?

Understanding Regulatory Markers

Regulatory markers such as these are used to convey important information to boaters and sailors. They are distinct from other navigation aids because they are designed to inform rather than guide. The marker we’re discussing here falls into this category, and it typically indicates one of several things:

  1. Information: The buoy may provide information about the area, such as the location of a marina, a nearby town, or other facilities.
  2. Directions: It might give directions or pointers to areas that boaters need to be aware of, such as a designated swimming area or a nearby boat launch area.
  3. Warning: It could be warning you of hazards such as rocks, shoals, or other obstructions that might be dangerous for navigation.

What the Orange Square Means

The orange square symbol is a general indication that there is important information you need to read and the orange is there to draw your attention to it, while not being confused with any lateral marks.

Importance of Reading the Lettering

The black lettering on the buoy provides specific details and instructions. It’s crucial to read this information carefully as it can significantly impact your safety and the safety of others. For example, if the buoy indicates a no-wake zone, failing to comply can cause hazardous conditions for smaller vessels or swimmers.

Action Steps for Boaters

When you encounter a white buoy with an orange square and black lettering, follow these steps:

  1. Approach Cautiously: Slow down and approach the buoy carefully to read the information.
  2. Read the Instructions: Take note of all the instructions or warnings. These could include speed limits, hazard warnings, or directional information.
  3. Comply with Regulations: Follow any rules or guidelines provided. This is crucial for maintaining safety and adhering to local regulations.
  4. Use Common Sense: If the buoy indicates a hazard or restricted area, proceed with caution and use common sense to navigate safely.


Understanding and recognizing regulatory markers is a fundamental part of safe boating. These markers are there to provide vital information that can help you navigate safely and avoid hazards. Always take the time to read and follow the instructions on these buoys to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

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