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

You are watching: A sailboat is operating under sail at night. which of these lights should be used?

Navigation lamp are supplied to avoid collisions at night or in time of diminished visibility, and also are crucial tool in maintaining you and also your vessel safe. Nav lights enable you to view other adjacent vessels, and enable other ship to watch you.

Nav lamp also provide information around the size, activity, and also direction that travel. By knowledge the attributes of Nav lights, you have the right to determine an ideal course of action as girlfriend approach another vessel.

On any type of vessel, navigation lights have a details color, (white, red, green, yellow, blue), arc of illumination, selection of visibility, and also location, as forced by law and regulations. For the functions of this course, we will concentrate ~ above pleasure watercrafts under 65 feet in length. Understanding of navigation lights is necessary to a small-boat skipper for separate, yet important, reasons.

You are legally responsible because that displaying lamp of the appropriate color, intensity, location and also visibility on your boat. Friend are forced to screen the proper lights in ~ night or during times of lessened visibility. Understanding the kind and heading of one more boat.

Legal Requirements

Vessels are compelled to show the suitable navigation lamp from sunset come sunrise in every weather conditions, great and bad. Throughout these times, no various other lights that could be mistaken because that lights mentioned in the rule of the Road deserve to be displayed, nor any lights the impair the visibility or distinctive personality of navigation lights, or interfere v the maintaining of a proper lookout. The Rules additionally state that navigating lights should be displayed in problems of reduced visibility, and also may be presented at various other times thought about necessary.

It"s Your responsibility

It is the duty of the owner/operator that a vessel that she present the ideal navigation lamp for she size and also the waters in i m sorry she is operating. It is no the responsibility of the manufacturer, importer, or selling dealer. Many watercrafts are delivered with lights that do not satisfy legal requirements with respect to technical features or location on the vessel. Remember also, that the angles of visibility must be met as soon as the watercraft is underway-if your boat rides in ~ a far-ranging bow-up angle, take the into consideration when installing and/or checking her lights.

Navigation Lights because that Powerboats

Power pushed vessels underway shall exhibition a masthead irradiate forward, sidelights and also a stern light. Vessels much less than 12 meters in length may exhibit an all about white light and also side lights. Power driven watercrafts on the good Lakes may lug an all roughly white irradiate in stead that a 2nd masthead light and also stern irradiate combination.


Sidelights - Colored lights - red top top port and also green on starboard - showing an unbroken arc of the horizon of 112.5 degrees, indigenous dead ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on each side.

Combination lights - Sidelights might be an unified in a solitary fixture lugged at the centerline that the vessel.

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

Navigation Lights for Sailing


A cruising vessel of less than 7 meter in size shall, if practicable, exhibit regular navigation lights, but if not practical, she shall have ready at your disposal an electric torch or lantern reflecting a white light which shall be exhibited in adequate time to stop collision.

Diving Lights

Another light screen that you may see in will areas, or waters that have wrecks or reefs, is the night diving configuration. This has actually three upright masthead lights, that have a red-white-red sequence. Friend must maintain a good distance from this vessels, and also you should likewise be conscious that there may be divers near you.

Interpreting what you watch

It"s good that you"re finding out the basics of lamp - what is required and when they"re required. But, this in only the beginning. Friend must additionally learn just how to interpret the navigating lights that you see once you are underway at night- and for your safety-learn the well.

For instance, if you watch a ship approaching that reflects a irradiate pattern such together the ones to the right, you instantly know the you space in a cross situation, and that you must yield to the other vessel - that"s why that is red.


Seeing a environment-friendly light over a white light suggests a fishing vessel actively trawling. You not only need to avoid the vessel, but you also need come remember that it could potentially have a very large net deployed that you will also need to avoid.

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And over there are many other lights and also combinations the lights the you must have the ability to instantly recognize - the lights for a sailboat that is privileged over a motorboat, the distinct lights of miscellaneous fishing vessels, a dredge or a vessel no under command. Research the needs for navigating from the viewpoint of a "looker" as well as a boat owner.