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Boat navigation light types and functions

Aug 23, 2022

less than a min

  • Boat navigation light types and functions

    Boat navigation lights are similar to other vehicle lights in the sense that they are used to communicate and make the vessel visible.

    Each boat light has a meaning and each one can communicate something to ports and marinas. Most importantly, boat navigation lights are used to communicate with other vessels and show their intent at night.

    Boat navigation lights, quite similarly to vehicle beams, are turned on when it is dark. As such, they are used from sunset to sunrise, but also during a heavy fog.

    There are four types of boat navigation nights.

    Green and red lights on boats

    The green and red lights on boats are called the sidelights or the combination lights. They are placed on the sides of the boat and are used to determine the left or right side of the boat to other vessels when seen from the side or the front. The left side of the vessel, also known as the port, is indicated by a red light. The right side of the vessel also called the starboard, is indicated by a green light.

    Stern light on boats

    The stern light on a boat is positioned on the stern. It is a white light that can be seen from behind the vessel. This light needs to be seen from two miles away and at 135 degrees.

    Masthead light on boats

    The masthead light in a boat is another white light similar to the stern light. This light glows forward and to the left and right sides of the boat. It is a required component of all power-driven boats or any other vessel that has an engine that helps them function.

    Sailboats on the other hand do not need a masthead light. If a vessel is only operated by sails, they have just a stern light and sidelights.

    Other engine vessels that are smaller than 39.4 feet, do not need a masthead light either. In those vessels, the masthead light and stern light can be combined to form an all-around white light that has the same function of making the boat visible during fog or at night.

    All round white light on boats

    The all-around white light on boats is an anchor light used when sidelights are off. This can also be a combination of a stern light and masthead light for vessels with an engine that are smaller than 39.4 feet in length.

    Navigational lights need maintenance as with time they may be consumed or damaged. By using TheBoatApp you can plan your maintenance tasks and save time on maintenance scheduling.

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