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Requirements for Unpowered Vessels Less Than 65.6 Feet

Unpowered vessels are sailing vessels or those that are paddled, poled, or rowed.

If less than 65.6 feet long, these vessels must exhibit the lights as shown in Figure 2. The required lights are:

  • Red and green sidelights visible from a distance of at least two miles away—or if less than 39.4 feet long, at least one mile away—on a dark, clear night.
  • A sternlight visible from a distance of at least two miles away.
Navigation lights for unpowered vessels less than 65.6 feet long

An alternative to the sidelights and sternlight is a combination red, green, and white light, which must be exhibited near the top of the mast.

Requirements for Unpowered Vessels Less Than 23 Feet

If less than 23.0 feet (7 meters) long, these vessels should:

  • If practical, exhibit the same lights as required for unpowered vessels less than 65.6 feet in length.
  • If not practical, have on hand at least one lantern or flashlight shining a white light as shown in figure 3.
Figure 3: Navigation lights on unpowered vessels less than 23 feet long

To prevent a collision, vessel operators should never leave shore without a flashlight. Even if you plan to return before dark, unforeseen developments might delay your return past nightfall.

Requirements for All Vessels When Not Underway

All vessels are required to display a white light visible in all directions whenever they are moored or anchored outside a designated mooring area between sunset and sunrise.

All-round white light