That’s one big buoy: Giant red beacon draws crowds to New Smyrna Beach

Buoy was missing for 2 years, came from Charleston area

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – The latest attraction to a Central Florida beach isn’t a new thrill ride but a 13,000-pound red buoy that washed ashore a few days after Christmas and buoy, oh, buoy is it getting some attention.

The giant "Red No. 8″ navigational marker washed up on New Smyrna Beach sometime Friday and towers above the shoreline.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard in Jacksonville said the buoy originated from somewhere between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Brunswick, Georgia and was likely displaced during Hurricane Dorian earlier this year.

Initially, Coast Guard public affairs officials said the buoy had been adrift since 2017 but after reviewing the data from “Red No. 8” they determined it was displaced in 2017, found and put it back before it was lost again during Hurricane Dorian.

Red navigational markers are usually paired with similar green buoys and are used to identify navigation channels, according to the USCG.

“That’s the opposite direction of the tides of the ocean pull so I think that it’s amazing that it’s here,” Emile Carriere, of Texas, said.

Carriere was one of the dozens of people who came out to the beach Monday to see the giant buoy.

Red No. 8 buoy washed up on New Smyrna Beach over the weekend. (Image: Marcus White/WKMG)
Red No. 8 buoy washed up on New Smyrna Beach over the weekend. (Image: Marcus White/WKMG)

Since it rolled up, the large red buoy is attracting people in search of a unique photo and even more attention on social media. Search “New Smyrna Beach buoy” on social media if you don’t believe it.

Those who came out to see the unusual sight took photos and some signed their names on the red metal frame. Jordan Ringlier was waiting for his turn to climb the massive structure.

“It’s just one of those freak events that just kind of happened, right?" Ringlier said. “It’s an added bonus that we came down here on vacation and it’s here.”

Most visitors told News 6 they heard about the buoy on social media, including Steve and Terry Breyfogle, of Minnesota.

“We saw a post on Facebook and we thought we’d come check it out, something to do,” Terry Breyfogle said.

Steve Breyfogle thought the buoy’s epic journey should merit a new name for “Red No. 8.”

“It’s nature’s power to come this far. What was it South Carolina?” Steve Breyfogle said. “I think somebody ought to name it New Smyrna since it’s landed here.”

Anyone looking to snap a photo with the well-traveled buoy should hurry though, Coast Guard officials are working with Volusia County to figure out how to move it.

Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue officials said there is a plan to remove the buoy on Thursday morning.

The large ocean tracker will likely require a truck and crane to move it. USCG officials said they hope to be able to reuse the buoy.

WKMG photojournalist Marcus White contributed to this report.

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