Boating ATONS

There are many boating compliance signs that are easy to read and straight forward, such as ‘slow, no wake’, ‘private dock, no trespassing’ or ‘keep out of pond, no swimming, fishing or boating’.  Some of these signs are available to the public for purchase.

Florida pontoon boating

However, there are also boating signals referred to as Aids to Navigation (ATONS) that are critical to understand, as they contribute to boating safety, but not as clear or well-marked.

The following list describes ATONS navigation rules to watch out for, learn, and understand:

  1. A square or rectangular shape is used for conveying instructions.
  2. An open diamond shape signifies danger.
  3. A diamond with a cross in it signifies an exclusion area that you may not enter.
  4. A circle indicates an upcoming operating restriction, such as a speed limit.
  5. As you travel upstream, Starboard aids will be in red on your right side, evenly numbered.
  6. Portside marks will be green located on your left as you travel upstream, with odd numbers.

Keep in mind these aids are meant to direct all boaters on the water to safe navigation and should not be used for personal use.  Florida boating regulations are included in all certified boating safety courses. It is illegal to moor or fasten to ATONS.  Additionally, it is against the law for any boater to anchor or operate a vessel that will interfere with the navigation of other vessels.

Florida Water Patrol has the authority to remove or relocate vessels which interfere with navigation or a hazard to public safety; to enforce all boating safety laws; and to conduct vessel inspections in accordance with state law. To learn more about boating ATONS, free online classes are offered.

For more information on boating rules and regulations, contact Triangle Marine Center at 352-343-6146 if you are going boating in the near future.

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