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navigation lights
night recognition of vessels
navigation light animation

 


marine navigation light recognition

aft forward starboard
Power Vessel < 50m
aft forward starboard
 
Power Vessel > 50m
aft forward starboard

either

  1. Power Vessel, > 50m in length

  2. Power Vessel, < 50m in length (displaying the optional second masthead light)

the use of a second masthead light is optional for power vessels under 50m

When seen from forward it is impossible to distinguish this from a towing vessel < 50m with tow < 200m

 

Towing Vessel < 50m (tow < 200m)
aft forward starboard
the use of a second masthead light is optional for power vessels under 50m

When seen from forward it is impossible to distinguish this from a power vessel > 50m (or a power vessel < 50m showing the optional second masthead light)
 
Towing Vessel > 50m (tow < 200m)
aft forward starboard
either
  1. Towing Vessel > 50m in length with tow < 200m
  2. Towing Vessel < 50m in length (displaying the optional second masthead light) with tow < 200m

the use of a second masthead light is optional for power vessels under 50m

When seen from forward or aft it is impossible to distinguish this from a towing vessel < 50m with a tow > 200m
 

Towing Vessel < 50m (tow > 200m)
aft forward starboard
When seen from forward or aft it is impossible to distinguish this from a towing vessel > 50m with a tow < 200m
 
Towing Vessel > 50m (tow > 200m)
aft forward starboard
either
  1. Towing Vessel > 50m in length with tow > 200m
  2. Towing Vessel < 50m in length (displaying the optional second masthead light) with tow > 200m

the use of a second masthead light is optional for power vessels under 50m

 

Fishing Vessel
aft forward starboard
Memory Aid: "Red Over White = Fishing At Night"
 
Fishing Vessel: when hampered by purse seine gear
aft forward starboard
the yellow lights are equal interval alternate 1s flashing lights

Expect this vessel to be travelling in a circle or possibly making stern-way - there will also usually be a small outboard in operation as well.

 

Trawling Vessel
aft forward starboard
Memory Aid: "Green Over White = Trawling At Night"
 
Trawling Vessel Shooting Nets
aft forward starboard
Trawling Vessel Hauling Nets
aft forward starboard
the Red for hauling means the vessel may be stopped or proceeding backwards
 
Vessel engaged in pilotage duties
aft forward starboard
Vessels Not Under Way

Vessel < 50m At Anchor
aft forward starboard
Remember, it is impossible to tell in many cases when only a single white light is seen - what this may mean (stern light? vessel at anchor? distant vessel where only the masthead light is visible over the horizon? etc...)
 
Vessel > 50m At Anchor
aft forward starboard
either
  1. Vessel > 50m in length at anchor
  2. Vessel < 50m in length at anchor (displaying the optional second all-round white light)

 

Vessel Aground
aft forward starboard
For a vessel < 50m only one white anchor light may be shown.
Since the rule does not specify exactly where the two red lights should appear in relation to the anchor light they may appear either above or below the forward anchor light.

 

Vessel Aground (alternate possibility)
aft forward starboard
For a vessel < 50m only one white anchor light may be shown.
Memory Aid: lights for a vessel aground are identical to those for a vessel at anchor with the addition of the two red lights.
Since the rule does not specify exactly where the two red lights should appear in relation to the anchor light they may appear either above or below the forward anchor light.

 
Special Cases

Vessel Constrained by her Draft

aft forward starboard
The specific location of the 3 all round red lights is flexible within the provision of the rule

 

Vessel engaged in mine clearance operations
aft forward starboard
When seen from the side the far all-round green light may be obscured by rigging or by the near all-round green light (as seen in the starboard view of this example)