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Non-lateral markers are navigation aids that give information other than the edges of safe water areas. The most common are regulatory markers that are white and use orange markings and black lettering. These markers are found on lakes and rivers and are used to:

  • Give directions and information.
  • Warn of hazards and obstructions.
  • Mark controlled areas.
  • Mark exclusion (closed) areas.
Common Non-Lateral Markers


Squares provide information such as places to find food, supplies, and repairs; and they give directions, distances, and other non-regulatory information.

Regulatory Marker - Information

Danger Area

Diamonds warn of dangers such as rocks, shoals, construction, dams, or stumps. Always proceed with caution and keep a safe distance. Never assume that every hazard will be marked by a buoy.

Regulatory Marker - Danger

Controlled Area

Circles indicate a controlled area such as “no wake”, “idle speed”, speed limit, or ski zone.

Regulatory Marker - Controlled Area

Exclusion Area

Crossed diamonds indicate areas off-limits to all boats such as swimming areas, dams, and spillways.

Regulatory Marker - Prohibited