Boat Lighting & Navigational Lights


Written by Anthony Morelli

On August 27, 2018

As most boaters already know, navigation lights include a set of red/green lights for the bow plus a white light on the stern.

On bowriders and similar craft, the red/green is usually a single fixture and the stern white light is raised to be visible well above the stern, sometimes even above the bimini top.

On pontoon boats, the red/green are usually separate fixtures on either side of the bow.  On newer pontoon boats, there is often a set of front white lights that resemble automobile headlights.  Those are actually landing lights and should not be turned on while in normal running mode, but can be used for docking at the home port or the Lake Holiday Marina.  Several pontoon boats have been sighted using the docking lights while running in the high-speed zone.

The Coast Guard rule is:

Rule 20(b) The Rules concerning lights shall be complied with from sunset to sunrise, and during such times no other lights shall be exhibited, except such lights which cannot be mistaken for the lights specified in these rules or do not impair their visibility or distinctive character, or interfere with the keeping of a proper look-out.

The pontoon boat headlights clearly overpower the red/green navigation lights; so they should not be used on Lake Holiday except for docking.

Regarding small fishing boats, pedal-boats, kayaks or other small craft, if they are out between sunset and sunrise, they should be equipped with the required navigation lights.  For those crafts that are not factory-equipped with navigation lights, there are battery-powered add-on lights that can be obtained from many sources including online marine shops (e.g. West Marine, Bass Pro Shops, and Cabelas).

The Lake Committee also reminds you that high speed boating activities are prohibited from one half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise.  Thank you for your compliance with the rules and respect for your neighbors.

~Lake Committee


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