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Lights

Boat Lights at night


 
 
All boats (including PWCs) must show running lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility. 

 
A sailboat operating under power or under power and sail, must display the proper lights for a power boat. Check lights regularly to ensure that they are working properly.
 
This section describes the inland and international requirements for boats less than 20 meters (65 feet 7 inches). In many cases, the lights prescribed for a particular boat are the same under both rules. Any exceptions are noted.
 

Power-Driven Boats

Power Driven boats vs sail boat lighting

On inland and international waters, a power driven boat shall exhibit navigation lights, as shown in graphic number one (1). Vessels less than 12 meters (39 feet-4 inches) may show the lights shone in figure 1 or 2 above. In international waters, a power driven boat of less than 7 meters (23 feet) in length, whose maximum speed cannot exceed 7 knots shall exhibit an all-round white light, or have ready-at-hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent a collision.

 
 
 

Sailboats and Manually Propelled Boats (Paddlecraft)


 
NOTE: A sailboat under motor-power and sail is considered a power-driven boat.

 
Sailboats under sail alone must exhibit navigation lights shone in graphic three below.  Graphic 4 and 5 may also be used for boats under 7 meters (23 feet) in length.

 
Sailboats day and night and paddle boats with an all-round white light

 
Sailboats of less than 7 meters (23 feet) in length , shall exhibit an all-round white light, or have ready-at-hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent a collision. (See figure 6c above). 

 
Example of all around white lights on manually propelled boats

 
A manually propelled boat less than 23 feet may:

 
a) display those lights prescribed for sailboats or,
b) have ready at hand and flashlight or lighted lantern showing a white light to display in sufficient time to prevent a collision (see figure 3 and 6 above).

 

Anchor Lights

Power-driven boats and sailboats at anchor must display anchor lights. An anchor light is an all-round white light visible for 2 miles and exhibited forward where it can be seen the best.

 
However, vessels less than 7 meters (23 feet) are not required to display anchor lights unless anchored in or near a narrow channel, fairway, anchorage or where other vessels normally navigate. 

 
Also, anchor lights are not required on vessels less than 20 meters (65 feet-7 inches), anchored by a special anchorage area designated by the Secretary of Transportation.
 
Day Shape Day shape marker for sailboats
Vessels under sail and being propelled by motor must display a conical day shape, apex down, for the best visibility (see graphic 7).
 
Automotive Equipment
Equipment such as starter motors, alternators/generators and air cleaners are not intrinsically safe and should not be used in gasoline powered boats. These electrical devices are not “ignition protected” and may generate sparks that can cause fires and explosions on inboard engines.

 
    

 

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