It is important to have the right navigation lights in your boat to ensure its safety. These lights help you communicate the direction, position and status of your boat to other watercraft. And there are international and local maritime regulations you need to adhere to when installing navigating lights. These regulations ensure safe navigation for the boats especially when it comes to boating in the nighttime or in low visibility conditions.
The forward part of the boat is called the bow
And bow lights are used to help other boats on the water understand which direction your boat is travelling in. These are typically white or green. The green light will be seen from the starboard or right side of the boat while the white light will be seen from the port or left side. This can help prevent collisions as the other watercraft will know your position on the water. You need to mount the bow lights as close as possible to the centreline of the boat to ensure maximum visibility.
Then there are LED stern lights for boats which are located on the rear. These are typically white and help other watercrafts determine the size of your boat and its presence. You need to place the stern lights at the highest point so that it will be visible from all directions. The arc of visibility and the placement with regard to degrees will be provided by the regulations.
The size and type
Of the vessel will be indicated through masthead lights and these will be placed on the highest point of the boat’s superstructure. The colour is generally white and it can be a single all around light. You can also have a combination of forward and aft light to achieve maximum visibility. The light will be more visible when you place it at a higher position. Then there are all-around lights that will offer visibility in all directions. These will be mounted on the mast or superstructure of the boat; these lights are mostly used in smaller boats that don’t have a separate masthead light.
These are white lights placed on the highest point of the boat. Then there are anchor lights that will be illuminated only when the boat is at anchor during the night. This lets the other vessels know that the boat is stationary. The colour is generally white but in certain regulations you will find that yellow lights are allowed as well. And similar to masthead lights, the anchor lights will be at the highest point of the boat.
If your vessel is towing another boat or a barge or any other object
You will need to have the towing lights on display. This will let other vessels understand the length and breadth of what you are towing so the size of the towing vessel can be determined. If you are towing something alongside the vessel, the lights will be yellow. Green towing lights are used when you are towing something ahead of your vessel.
And if the towing object is behind the vessel red lights will be used. You can also display special lights to give others an indication of your operations. For example, fishing vessels will display additional lights to give more information. The lights will be green if the fishing vessel is using trolling gear and if they are actively trawling, the lights will be red.