Lake Norman Boating Markers and Navigation Tips

“By engaging in smart boating on Lake Norman, not only will you and your boat be safer, but you will also help other boaters stay safe as well,” says Lowry Hobbs of Westport Marina. “Using your commons sense while boating and understanding what navigational aids and regularly markets mean will help you be safe, while at the same time respecting all boat traffic and lake caution signals.”

Lake Norman Boating Navigational Aids

The all-RED buoy indicates that a vessel (boat) should pass between it and its companion, the all-GREEN buoy. Keep the RED buoy on the boat’s starboard (right) side when proceeding up stream or when entering a channel from the main body of water. Red buoys are used opposite, or in plain sight of, an all-green buoy to mark the edge of a well-defined channel. Numbers, when used, will be marked in white.Screen-Shot-2016-08-10-at-8.13.15-AM

The all-GREEN buoy indicates that vessels (boats) should pass between it and its companion, the all-RED buoy. Keep the GREEN buoy on the port (left) side when proceeding upstream or when entering a channel from the main body of water.


Lake Norman Boating Regulatory AidsRegulatory-Markers

Regulatory markers are safe boating regulations to help you avoid hidden obstacles and warn of special lake conditions.3047437859_1dd36fdc1d_b

  • DIAMOND SHAPE WITH A CROSS buoy means Boats Keep Out. This is used to mark a swimming area or an area that is not safe for boaters.
  • A DIAMOND SHAPE is used on a buoy to warn of danger. Look for words to appear inside of the yellow diamond to warn you of specific hazards. Some of the words used inside a diamond buoy are to warn you of things like rocks, a dam, buried cables, marine construction or a dredge.
  • A CIRCLE SHAPE is used on a buoy to tell boaters that an area is controlled as indicated inside the circle. For example, words that appear inside the circle could be a speed limit, a no wake zone, no skiing or swimming, fishing only, no prop boats, etc.
  • A RECTANGLE SHAPE is used on a buoy to give boaters information like names, distances, arrows indicating directions, nearby gas, food or marine repairs, etc.
  • A DIVER’S FLAG indicates the presence of a diver under the surface of the water. This flag is flown from a buoy or the boat itself to warn other boaters. Boaters are warned to keep away from the flag and watch for people in the water.


“Understanding the regulations and aids for safe boating will lead to a lifetime of enjoyment58a3765ac071c.image for all boaters and passengers on Lake Norman,” included Hobbs. “Keep an eye out for these buoys around the lake and help educate other boaters about their meaning.”

In the meantime, we hope that you will visit us here at Westport Marina in the gorgeous and popular southwest section of Lake Norman in Denver, NC. You’ll love our boat rentals, superior boat service and our delicious food and drinks offered down at Nate’s Snack Bar on our docks. Call us at 704-483-5172 or email us to rent a boat or ask us a question. We look forward to seeing you on Lake Norman!