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This article is sponsored by Larson Electronics. Boat navigation lights serve very important purposes out in the ocean. In addition to looking great, they also provide navigational benefits and guidance. This is a very important part of their application, as numerous marine regulators, such as the US Coast Guard, have specific guidelines surrounding the type of lights certain boats should have (colors and configuration) during operation.

This article explores these requirements, which are critical aspects to boating safety.led boat navigation lights

Boat Sizes and Light Configurations

Generally speaking, sailing boats must have a green light that shines 112.5 degrees aft (ahead) on the starboard side, while the port side should emit a red light. This is also applicable to power boats. For power boats under 40 feet, a white light is needed at the center that shines in both directions or all-around (360 degrees). This requirement applies to boats that are anchored, indicating its status in the water. During the day, a black anchor ball is used to indicate the same status. Boats that are less than seven meters in length do not have to follow anchorage guidelines.

Manual-powered (oar driven) vessels have the option to use sail boat lighting guidelines or a lantern. Mast head lights must be white. They should be installed at the pole, over the side lights, encompassing 112.5 degrees on both sides. Most guidelines vary, depending on the size of the boat. For example, a boat that measures less than 65.7 feet could use one bicolor luminary, instead of separate red and green side lights. Additionally, sail boats that measure less than 65.7 feet could use a tri-color unit to combine side and stern light functionality.

Because of this, it is recommended to setup LED boat navigation lights based on the type and size of the vessel. Furthermore, the location of the water you intend on deploying the boat may also dictate such configurations and practices.

Why LEDs?

LEDs are optimal lighting technologies for navigation lights. The units are extremely compact, making them suitable for installations in tight spaces. Their compact and sturdy form factor can withstand vibrations associated rough waters and constant contact with docks or large debris in the water.

LED boat navigation lights also require less maintenance and repair, compared to their outdated alternatives. This can help reduce operational costs for individuals or businesses that are frequently on the water. To conclude, LEDs are ideal options for navigation lighting systems on boats, due to their resilient and durable features.