Vessel operators must make sure that their vessels 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
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 vessels only.
The required navigation lights differ depending on the type and size of your vessel. The common lighting configurations for recreational vessels are discussed in this course. For other configurations and requirements for larger vessels, see the USCG’s Navigation Rules.