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Video Transcript
Rob

All right, so boating can be really dangerous because it’s dark, you can’t see a lot of stuff. What do people need to know about boating at night?

Officer McClure

Boating at night is different than daytime in that we simply can’t see the things that are there because we don’t have the visual cues. We don’t have the lighting to illuminate them. So keeping that in mind, if we will slow down in the boat, and if we are unsure about what we’re seeing—we may be seeing a contour, may be seeing a shape that would obviously be maybe the shoreline in the daylight—stop or slow down, recognize what that is.

If you have to use interior lighting in the boat, try to use a green or red light to save your night vision. And if you don’t have that and you have to use a normal white light, just remember that it’s going to take a few minutes for your night vision to recover. And then just make sure that you are giving yourself enough time to slow down or stop if there’s something that you can’t recognize as something that you may hit.

Rob

And then also, people need to know they’ve got to have lights on at night, too. So make sure you’re displaying your lights, or something could hit you.

Officer McClure

Right. And Missouri law requires that we have proper navigational lights on board the boat during hours of darkness.

Rob

Any stories that come to mind about boating at night and being safe?

Officer McClure

A few years ago a gentleman had left his dock in a bass boat. Was going to go night fishing. And had left and was getting ready to bring the boat up on plane—in other words, go up and get going faster. As he was in that process of bringing the boat up to full speed, he collided in the back of a pontoon boat that had four or five other people on board.

Rob

And how did he not see the people?

Officer McClure

Being dark, his depth perception, his eyes were playing tricks on him because he didn’t have the visual cues. But what he said later was, “I did see the light. I saw the light that the boat was displaying as a sternlight.” The boat was anchored and it was displaying its proper lights, but he did not recognize that light being as close to him as what it actually was. So his depth perception was inhibited quite a bit.

Rob

The night can play tricks on your mind, so go slowly and be more cautious.

Officer McClure

Go slow, and just keep your head on a swivel.