You are required to screen the suitable lights in ~ night or throughout times of reduced visibility.

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Navigation lamp are supplied to prevent collisions in ~ night or in time of diminished visibility, and are an important tool in keeping you and your courage safe. Nav lights enable you to check out other adjacent vessels, and allow other ship to watch you.

Nav lamp also carry out information about the size, activity, and also direction that travel. By understanding the characteristics of Nav lights, you deserve to determine an suitable course of activity as friend approach one more vessel.

On any vessel, navigation lights have a specific color, (white, red, green, yellow, blue), arc of illumination, variety of visibility, and location, as forced by law and also regulations. For the objectives of this course, we will concentrate ~ above pleasure boats under 65 feet in length. Knowledge of navigating lights is essential to a small-boat skipper because that separate, but important, reasons.

You space legally responsible for displaying lamp of the suitable color, intensity, location and also visibility on her boat. Friend are required to display the suitable lights in ~ night or throughout times of decreased visibility. Knowing the type and heading of another boat.

Legal Requirements

Vessels are forced to present the proper navigation lights from sunset to sunrise in every weather conditions, an excellent and bad. Throughout these times, no other lights that could be mistaken because that lights mentioned in the rules of the Road can be displayed, nor any type of lights that impair the visibility or distinctive personality of navigation lights, or interfere v the maintaining of a ideal lookout. The Rules additionally state that navigating lights should be displayed in problems of diminished visibility, and also may be displayed at other times considered necessary.

It"s Your obligation

It is the responsibility of the owner/operator that a vessel that she present the suitable navigation lights for her size and also the waters in which she is operating. That is no the obligation of the manufacturer, importer, or offering dealer. Many boats are ceded with lights that perform not accomplish legal demands with respect come technical characteristics or placement on the vessel. Remember also, the the angles of visibility need to be met as soon as the boat is underway-if your boat rides at a significant bow-up angle, take the into factor to consider when installation and/or checking her lights.

Navigation Lights because that Powerboats

Power thrust vessels underway shall exhibit a masthead light forward, sidelights and a stern light. Vessels less than 12 meters in length may exhibition an all roughly white light and also side lights. Strength driven watercrafts on the good Lakes may lug an all approximately white light in stead that a second masthead light and stern light combination.


Sidelights - Colored lamp - red top top port and green on starboard - showing an unbroken arc the the horizon that 112.5 degrees, native dead front to 22.5 levels abaft the beam on every side.

Combination lights - Sidelights may be merged in a single fixture carried at the centerline the the vessel.

Stern light - A white light showing over an unbroken arc of the horizon the 135 degrees, focused on dead astern.

Navigation Lights because that Sailing


A sailing vessel of much less than 7 meter in length shall, if practicable, exhibit consistent navigation lights, but if not practical, she shall have ready available an electric torch or lantern reflecting a white irradiate which candlestick be showed in sufficient time to protect against collision.

Diving Lights

Another light screen that you may see in resort areas, or waters that have actually wrecks or reefs, is the night diving configuration. This has three upright masthead lights, that have a red-white-red sequence. You must keep a great distance from these vessels, and also you should likewise be mindful that there might be divers near you.

Interpreting what you view

It"s great that you"re discovering the basics of lamp - what is required and when they"re required. But, this in just the beginning. You must likewise learn just how to translate the navigation lights the you see when you are underway at night- and for her safety-learn the well.

For instance, if you see a ship approaching that shows a irradiate pattern such as the ones to the right, you instantly know that you are in a crossing situation, and that you have to yield to the various other vessel - that"s why the is red.


Seeing a green light end a white light shows a fishing vessel actively trawling. You no only have to avoid the vessel, but you additionally need to remember the it could potentially have actually a very big net deployed the you will additionally need come avoid.

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And over there are countless other lights and combinations that lights the you must have the ability to instantly recognize - the lights for a sailboat the is privileged end a motorboat, the special lights of assorted fishing vessels, a dredge or a vessel no under command. Research the demands for navigating from the approach of a "looker" as well as a boat owner.