Navigation lights are used to prevent collisions at night or in times of reduced visibility, and are an essential tool in keeping you and your vessel safe. Nav lights allow you to see other nearby vessels, and allow other vessels to see you.
Nav lights also provide information about the size, activity, and direction of travel. By understanding the characteristics of Nav lights, you can determine an appropriate course of action as you approach another vessel.
On any vessel, navigation lights have a specific color, (white, red, green, yellow, blue), arc of illumination, range of visibility, and location, as required by law and regulations. For the purposes of this course, we will concentrate on pleasure boats under 65 feet in length. Knowledge of navigation lights is important to a small-boat skipper for separate, but important, reasons.
- You are legally responsible for displaying lights of the proper color, intensity, location and visibility on your boat.
- You are required to display the appropriate lights at night or during times of reduced visibility.
- Knowing the type and heading of another boat.