It’s important to know whether you’re heading upstream or downstream at all times while on a waterway so that you can correctly interpret boating buoys and avoid collisions.
Going upstream means moving towards the source of the water. A vessel travelling upstream is heading inland from the sea.
Going downstream means moving away from the source of the water. A vessel travelling downstream is heading towards the sea.
There are a few signs that can help you determine whether you’re heading upstream or downstream:
The most reliable way to ascertain whether you’re going upstream or downstream is to consult a marine chart, which will provide information about the current. Always make sure to have up-to-date marine charts with you when boating!
Lateral buoys mark which side of a waterway boaters should use when heading upstream.
Port-hand buoys are green in colour and should be kept on your port (left) side when heading upstream.
Starboard-hand buoys are red in colour and should be kept on your starboard (right) side when heading upstream.
Once you can distinguish between upstream and downstream, you’ll be able to follow the buoys and remain on the right side of the channel!
It’s important to master the basics of boating in order to keep yourself and others safe on the water. That’s why the Canadian government requires recreational vessel operators to obtain a boating license. Simply take an online boating course and pass the exam to get your license, which is good for life. Register for Drive a Boat Canada’s course today to learn everything you need to know about boating!