The old phrase to help you remember how to work with buoy navigation lights doesn’t always work!
The concept is simple, red buoys on your right as you return to port, Red Right Returning.
The problem is, not all countries work this way, and the opposite setup can also be found.
Portugal is one such country we have found to use the opposite method. Here, the idea is that the lights to aid navigation are to match your own running lights as you return to port. So your starboard light which is green will match up to the green light on your starboard. Red light on your port.
It pays to look at the charts before you get into new waters so that you don’t get confused and run aground, misled by the very lights that were intended to keep you safe.
If you are cruising only in the United States, enjoy the mnemonic of Red Right Returning to keep your aids to navigation in order!