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Range Markers

Entrance to Sooke Harbor

Entering an unfamiliar harbor is difficult enough even with good planning. Typically, prior to entering a new harbor, it is prudent to examine the appropriate paper chart for the harbor to ascertain any dangers present.

This is a photo of the entrance to Sooke harbor in British Columbia, Canada. The paper chart demonstrates the rocky shoal to the right as shown in the photo. The channel entrance is narrow and makes an abrupt turn to port once past the shoal on the left.

In the distance are range markers, barely visible in the photograph. Range markers help the mariner safely navigate the channel entrance.

range markers

This enlarged photo shows typical range markers. These range markers have a white background with red vertical stripes. These range markers are mounted on separate pilings. When the vertical stripes from each range marker align directly over each other, your vessel is in the channel. In this particular photo the vessel is slightly too far to the right or too far starboard. The appropriate turn is to port until the range markers are correctly aligned. Once past the entrance it is safe to proceed as delineated on the chart. Some range markers are lit for transit into the harbor at night.