All You Need to Know About Marine Navigation Lighting

December 20, 2022

A quality marine navigation lighting system is a must for the ship's safety. The main reason why a marine navigation light is important is to avoid accidents.

What is the pattern in which lights are setup for navigation vessels?

  • The light at the right-hand side of the vessel with respect of facing the starboard of the vessel is green in color.
  • The light at the left-hand side of the vessel in respect of facing the port side of the vessel is red.
  • The light at the back side of the vessel also known as the stern side of the vessel is white.
  • A white light is placed on each masthead of the boat.

The different applications of marine navigation lighting are:

  1. Lights in a ship serve as identification markers for other vessels and vice versa.
  2. 2. Marine lights are also essential to comply with COLREGS to ensure the vessel's status.
  3. Unfavourable weather conditions can pose a threat to vessels and mariners. Having proper navigation light will help vessels and mariners to maintain safety in all weather conditions.Specific Navigation Lights by Boat Type

Apart from the basic lighting requirements as per regulations, different kinds of boats with different sizes also have specific requirements.

For instance:

1. Recreational Boats Shorter Than 65.6 Feet

For boats lesser than 39.4 feet (12 meters) in length, you may need more than one masthead light but the two sidelights are a must.

2. Powerboats

If your powerboat is shorter than 12 meters stern light, two sidelights, and a masthead light along with an all-around white light is required.
If in doubts, do refer to COLREGS.

3. Sailboat

For sailboats less than 7 meters long, basic navigation lights are suitable. However, if it breaks or becomes useless, an electric hand torch or lantern can also serve as an alternative.

It is also worth noting that for whatsoever reasons, in case of lights on vessel not being able to function (i.e. when the vessels/boats break down at sea), during such incidents and for the safety of other mariners, it is necessary to seek help soonest possible and by placing Plastic Buoy installed with navigation light on it.

When it comes to purchasing navigation lights, you should always cross-check that the boat dealer and seller are reliable. It is also necessary to check by obtaining proof from the relevant manufacturers/suppliers whether the LED navigation lights are built in accordance with the industrial requirements.


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