Running Lights


Definition of Running Lights

See Navigation Lights 

Running lights are essential lighting fixtures on a boat that indicate the vessel's position, direction of travel, and the size and shape of the boat.

They’re also known as navigation lights or position lights.

Below is a table summarizing the regulatory requirements for running lights.

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 6 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

Running lights are positioned to indicate the size, shape and movement of a boat.

The images below illustrate how running lights differ for various types of boats.

regulatory placement of running lights for powered boats

regulatory placement of running lights for sail and powered boats

Example of Running Lights in a Sentence

"The captain turned on the running lights as the sun began to set, ensuring the safety of the vessel and its passengers as they navigated through the darkening waters."

Synonyms: navigation lights, position lights, signal light

Related Terms for Running Lights