Understanding what an Aid to Navigation (ATON) means is a very important part of Safe Boating. One of the problems understanding what each Aid to Navigation means is visualizing what a specific ATON looks like and match it to the symbol on a chart. I have taken pictures of Aids to Navigation in the Seattle area and matched the ATON pictures up with the chart they are on and the symbol from the navigation chart.
There is only one Aid to Navigation per page to help boaters visualize clearly what each ATON looks like and to put the Aid to Navigation in the proper context on the chart and what the ATON means for safe boating. The instructor notes are also included at the bottom of this article.
The light characteristics are also illustrated with blinking or fixed lights for each Aid to Navigation that is lighted to enable a person to visualize what the light characteristics for an Aid to Navigation will look like on the water.
Common Aids to Navigation are shown such as the Green Can and Red Nun as well as Safe Water Markers, Range Markers, Preferred Channel Markers, Special Marks (Vessel Traffic System) and other ATON’s found in the Seattle, Washington area.
While testing this presentation I presented this to two groups that included many skippers, all of them familiar with the Shilshole Marina and Seattle area, all were experienced with up to 40 years or so of boating experience and included Licensed Coast Guard Masters and a quick show of hands indicated that everyone learned something from this presentation.
Update Note March, 27 2015: The entrance to the Shilshole / Ship Canal Entrance has been changed to an “Entrance Leading Light.” And the R/W Center Channel Morse “A” marker has been replaced. The new light has a bright center section with the light getting dimmer if a vessel moves off to the side of the channel center. However the sides do show accurately how Range Markers work.
U.S. Aids to Navigation
Part 1 – Meadow Point to The Ballard Locks Entrance Canal
U.S. Aids to Navigation
Part 2 – West Point and Elliot Bay
If you are in the Seattle area and would like me to present this to your group, drop me a line (note: if I don’t get back to you in a few days drop me another note, there was a failure of the contact form last month, quite embarrassing). Contact Captnmike.
U.S. Aids to Navigation – Instructor Notes (PDF 1.1 mb) – Picture of each slide with detailed notes for each slide. Great study guide.
Thanks for your interest in Boating Safety.
c / m