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Boat operators must make sure that their boats are equipped with the proper navigation lights and use the lights during these conditions:

  • When away from the dock between sunset and sunrise
  • During periods of restricted visibility such as fog or heavy rain

The different types of navigation lights are described in Navigation Lights in Unit 4. No other lights that may be mistaken for required navigation lights may be exhibited.

Note: Blue or red flashing lights are restricted to use by law enforcement boats only.

The required navigation lights differ depending on the type and size of your boat. The common lighting configurations for recreational boats are discussed in Unit 4. For other configurations and requirements for larger boats, see the U.S. Coast Guard's Navigation Rules.