Lights are required at sunset to sunrise for boating safety. Lights are important to show you what is out there around you and may be coming your way. The other reason for the navigational lights are for boats approaching at any angle do not put glare in the drivers eyes. At night your depth perception is not has readily visible, Wearing glasses or bifocals makes the situation worse often times. You want the other boat to be able to see you.
The idea is to be able to tell what the other boat is you are crossing. The lights are up very high to keep glare from blocking the other drivers eyesight. The bicolor single unite lights are for boats up to 40 feet or under. If you are a new boat owner and new to driving a boat you need to know that the red, green and white colors are in place for safety’s sake and go in the same place on all boats for navigational purposes when you encounter another boat at night.
If you see a red light you do not have the right of way to cross in front of another boat. Sidelights are red-port 112.5 and green-starboard112.5, and they need to shine forward on each side. All around lights are white and shine 360. Masthead lights are white and shine on the port side to the starboard side and they need to be above the sidelights. Sidelights can be combined to make one single bi-color light. Boats less than 65.7 in length need to show sidelights, a stern light and a masthead light. Power boats less than 40 feet need to show sidelights and a stern light. These can be combined into a bicolor light and stern light, or a single tricolor light at the top of the mast. Sailboats under 25 feet must have an electric torch or lantern to avoid boat crashes. Stern or Tow 135 arc of lights helps you to see which way the boat is moving.
At 40 feet the brightness of the lights increases. The bigger the boat the more light that is necessary to light it up to be seen. The new thing to do is to use the very bright LED lights. They use less power and they are very bright, and have a longer life.
The lights should be lined up with the center access of the boat not facing in towards each other. The port lights and starboard lights are seen at the same time at long range. Lights used to be put down low on the boat but they are difficult to see at further distances. The sooner you can see the boat the more time you have to get in correct position to pass and avoid collision.
When you see only a white light you know you are coming up from behind the boat and you can pass on either side. When you see a red and white light or a green only light, you must give the other boat the right away. An all-around white light is a non-powered boat like a canoe, kayak, rafts, row boats and rowing shells. They sit low in the water so it’s important to slow down because the wake from a larger boat can cause the non-motorized vessel to capsize. They cannot move as quickly to avoid a passing boats wake, so give them plenty of room.
Commercial ships always have the right away, do not pass in front of them. If you are fishing in the deep channel the commercial ships travel in then you need to move out of the way.