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It’s getting late, so we should be headed home. But first, we should turn on these—our navigation lights.



Besides the obvious of helping boats see each other at night, each light plays a role in navigation. All boats use a white light when under power or anchored. Depending on the boat, this is either an all-round white light or separate masthead and stern lights. And there are colored lights, too. Those green and red sidelights on the bow or sides of the boat give us information about how to navigate around other boats. The red light indicates a boat’s port or left side. The green is the boat’s starboard or right side. If the red and green lights are not visible and we only see a white light, the boat is anchored or headed away from us. See if you can figure out which way the boat is heading by only using the navigation lights.

Scenario one: red on right, green on left, white light in the middle. Is the boat approaching or heading away? Answer: Approaching.

Scenario two: single white light. Is the boat anchored or heading away? Answer: Either of these options is correct.

Scenario three: red light on the left side, white light on the right. Is the boat heading to the left or heading to the right? Answer: Heading to the left.


Even with boat lights, you can’t see very well out here at night. That’s why we always operate at a slower speed and keep our eyes out for the lights of other boats. Don’t assume that all other boats have lights, have the correct lights illuminated, or that they know how to navigate near you.


And remember, out here on the water, you can never be too careful. So we’ll see you later. But only if you have your lights on.

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