Adventures in Boating Washington Handbook
The Official Boating Handbook of the Washington State Parks - Web Version
Table of Contents
The required navigation lights must be displayed between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility such as fog or heavy rain. For requirements for larger vessels, see the U.S. Coast Guard's Navigation Rules.
Power-Driven Vessels When Underway
If less than 65.6 ft. long, these vessels must exhibit the lights as shown in Figure 1. Remember, power-driven vessels include sailboats operating under engine power. The required lights are:
- Red and green sidelights visible from a distance of at least two miles (or if less than 39.4 ft. long, at least one mile).
- An all-round white light or both a masthead light and a sternlight visible from a distance of at least two miles away on a dark, clear night. The all-round white light (or the masthead light) must be at least 3.3 ft. higher than the sidelights.
Unpowered Vessels When Underway
Unpowered vessels are sailboats or vessels that are paddled, poled, or rowed.
If less than 65.6 ft. long, these vessels must exhibit the lights as shown in Figure 2. The required lights are:
- Red and green sidelights visible from at least two miles (or if less than 39.4 ft. long, at least one mile).
- A sternlight visible from at least two miles.
If less than 23.0 ft. long, these vessels should:
- If practical, exhibit the same lights as required for unpowered vessels less than 65.6 ft. in length.
- If not practical, have on hand at least one lantern or flashlight shining a white light as in Figure 3.
All Vessels When Not Underway
All vessels are required to display a white light visible from all directions whenever moored or anchored away from dock between sunset and sunrise. Vessels less than 23 ft. long are exempt unless anchored in a narrow channel, fairway, or anchorage, or where other vessels navigate.
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.