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It needs to be noted that in harbours and channels only used by small-craft, the buoys used to provide safe navigation are generally small—some would say, miniscule. Even in good visiblility and calm conditions they are hard to spot without a good pair of binoculars, and in choppy conditions, from the deck of a small boat, even harder. Their radar-return is minimal, so don't expect your radar to pick them up!

Typical, plastic, port- and starboard-hand buoys shown here are only slightly larger than lobster trap buoys, measuring scarcely 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter and floating only 18 inches (45 cm) above the surface, and may sink lower depending on the length of mooring chain. As the cruising season progresses they become whiter and whiter with seabird guano, making it difficult to distinguish their colours. The large lifting eye on the port-hand can may make it appear as a starboard-hand nun in poor light.

Although not shown or indicated on CHS charts, many small harbours and anchorages are buoyed. The chartlets on this website show these buoys where they are known to exist.