Navigation lights are required for your power boat at all times, but will need to be turned on when you are operating your power boat at night or during periods of restricted visibility, such as fog, so that other vessels are able to spot you. When at anchor, the red and green sidelights can be turned off but a single white light or a combination of masthead and stern lights must be illuminated to provide view from 360°. If your boat is equipped with navigation lights, they must work and meet the technical standards set out in the Collision Regulations. Navigation lights can be fitted with LED lights which are very energy consumption efficient and there are certain lights to help illuminate your vessel.
A masthead light, sidelights and a sternlight with LED lighting can be one sure (and legal) way to be seen at night or in poor visibility. Deck lights are legal but can be lost in a seaway as they can be obscured by large waves.
Since deck lights are being exposed to the elements, it is wise to check that they work on a regular basis. It is also a good idea to check their connections for corrosion. There are good products (silicone based is best) that can be sprayed on connections and in light housings to help prevent corrosion.
Having some spare bulbs on board is another good idea. Below are the legal requirements for your power boat.
- Sidelights – a green light to mark the starboard side of your boat and a red light to mark the port.
- One stern light – a white light.
- One masthead light – a white light.
- Optional: Another masthead light.
- One all-around white light.
- Sidelights - a green light to mark the starboard side of your boat and a red light to mark the port side.
If your boat’s design does not incorporate navigation lights and you wish to boat at night or during periods of reduced visibility, you can purchase battery-powered navigation lights that can be clamped to your boat that will bring it into compliance with the Collision Regulations.