Lights and Night Boating

Lights and Night Boating

Posted on June 6, 2022

If you’re in a powerboat at night, and see another boat’s red light and white light, but not the green light, you are generally in a “give-way” position.

This means that you must slow, turn, stop, or make whatever other manoeuvre is necessary to stay out of that boat’s way. If you see both the red and green light and a white light, you are meeting the other boat head-on. If you see only the white light, you are running up the stern of the other boat, or the other boat is at anchor, or it may be a sailboat under sail. If you see the green and white light and not the red, you are considered the boat of privilege, or “stand on” vessel. But remember, having that privilege or status is of little comfort if there is a collision, so avoid collision at any cost.

Remember, a general rule is that the more lights you see on a vessel at night, the larger it is and the more you should try and avoid it.

Carry spare light bulbs of the kind and type for all your navigation light fixtures, and know how to change them. Having nav lights on your boat that don’t work is considered the same as not having nav lights on your boat. If you ARE in a situation where your nav lights poop out and you can’t fix them, light as many flashlights as you can and wave them around in all directions as you make your way to safe harbour.

If you see yellow lights on the water, you are encountering a large vessel or barge being towed. Stay well clear of this hazard!

Night boating is deceptive. Always reduce your speed at night, and keep a sharp lookout for lights of other boats, and debris.

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