‘Red Right Returning’

Many boaters are not certain on which side of a marker buoy they should pass. A simple way to remember is to use the Red Right Returning memory aid

Red Right Returning

‘Red Right Returning’ refers to keeping the red starboard-hand buoy on the right side of your boat when:

  • Returning to harbor
  • Heading upstream
  • Entering a channel from seaward


How do I Determine Which Way is Upstream?

An upstream direction means you are travelling against the current. In many places, the direction of the current is determined by consensus or by the tide. Although not always the case, often you’ll find that water flows from north to south–this means that if you’re going north, you will likely be heading upstream.


To help you determine the direction of water flow, use the following tips:

  • If you’re entering a channel from the sea, you are considered to be travelling ‘upstream’
  • You can refer to a marine chart to identify the upstream direction of travel