The Navigation lights are controlled by breakers on the Main Panel. The lights you show other craft signify your legal status and affect your right of way rights. Learn what each of the lights means as well as the many light configurations on various other types of craft. A sliderule is kept in the chart table to help identify lights seen at night.
The compass light has a separate cockpit mounted switch in addition to the panel breaker to switch on when desired. Carry spare light bulbs. Always check navigation lights before leaving the dock or mooring, even if you do not expect to stay out after dusk. You may be unexpectedly delayed.
Refer to USCG Publication #CG-169 RULES OF THE ROAD (COLREGS) for more information on lights and navigation rules.
When the deck-level nav lights and aft anchor light are on the aft anchor will flash once per second instead of steady on. This could be used to help gain attention in emergency situations.
Any time the engine is propelling the vessel, even if sails are raised and drawing. If you are running the engine in neutral for battery charging the following does not apply.
When operating as a sailboat only, you may choose to use the combination Tri-Color light (Red, Green, and White) at the masthead OR the deck-level navigation lights. Even though located on the top of the mast, the Tri-Color is not the “masthead” light. DO NOT USE the Tri-Color light simultaneously with any other navigation lights or whenever operating propulsion machinery.
When at anchor, where required, show the 360 degree white light on top of the mast.