Instead of port and starboard, left and right, try using basic directions (or that spinning thing with 360 little marks on it mounted in front of your wheel). You should most always be on the same side of the buoy, regardless of the direction you are going. If a green can marks the northern edge of a channel when heading east, then guess what? It still marks the northern edge of that channel when you return heading west. Instead of juggling colors, lateral positions and nominal directions, just remember that most navaids mark the edges of channels, the limit of water that has been sounded as safe. You are always on the same side of same-color markers. Most helpful is to study the chart before starting your cruise and get a mental picture of the underwater topography. You don’t have to remember the number and color of every marker. Simply write, “Pass north of all greens” or “Keep east of all reds until inlet” in grease pencil (which wipes off easily) on your windshield. That way you don’t have to remember aphorisms, slogans and Sea Tow’s phone number. All you have to do is head at the marks, slowly and directly. If in doubt, mind your sounder and keep an eye out for riffles, color changes and wading birds.