Navigation Lights


Definition of Navigation Lights

Navigation lights are the lights used on boats and ships to help indicate their position and movement in order to prevent collisions and ensure safe navigation.

There are six types of navigation lights:

  • Stern Light: White light at the stern (rear)
  • Port Light: Red light on the port (left) side
  • Starboard Light: Green light on the starboard (right) side
  • Towing Light: Yellow light used on vessels towing other vessels
  • All-Round Light: White light used on vessels under 23 feet long to show their position while underway and at anchor.
  • Masthead Light: White light placed on the masthead of a boat, required for vessels over 39.4 feet in length

Here’s a table detailing the regulatory requirements for each type of navigation light.

Navigation Light Type Color Location Visibility Distance Visibility Angle
Port light Red Port 1 nautical mile 112.5 degrees
Starboard light Green Starboard 1 nautical mile 112.5 degrees
Stern light White Stern 2 nautical miles 135 degrees
Masthead light White Masthead 3 nautical miles 225 degrees
Towing light Yellow Stern and masthead 2 nautical miles 135 degrees
All-Round light White At or near the center of the vessel 2 nautical miles 360 degrees

Since COLREGS regulations require navigation lights to be on from sunset to sunrise and in low visibility conditions, finding an energy efficient light solution will save you time and battery juice.

LED lights are top of the class when it comes to conserving energy while delivering on brightness.

Here’s Petro from Apex Lighting giving a simplified guide to the navigation lights your boat needs.

Example of Navigation Lights in a Sentence

"According to international maritime regulations, it’s crucial for boats to display their navigation lights at night to avoid collisions and maintain safe navigation."

Synonyms: marine lights, boat lights, vessel lights, running lights, position lights

Related Terms for Navigation Lights