Thursday, December 19, 2013

Marine Lighting and Safety

marine lightingBoating is not just a summer activity and as the days get shorter, it is important to make sure lights are correctly taken care of to ensure the safety of passengers and others on the water. 

Many boats are equipped with marine dock lights that at first glance, seem to serve the same purpose as headlights on a car.  However, it is illegal in most (if not all) states to operate a marine vessel in open water at night with the docking lights turned on.  While this is common knowledge for those who have taken a boating class, it isn’t something that would necessarily be inferred by someone who hasn’t. 

Another nuance to boating is that a boat must have operational marine navigation lights to be in lawful compliance when operating at night. This is a trait that both boats and airplanes have in common. So what are navigation lights and what are they used for?  Navigation lights are a pair of two lights, one colored green and one colored red.  These lights help an observer outside of the watercraft to determine position and heading.  The red light is always positioned on the left side of a craft, and the green light is positioned on the right.  This means that if an observer sees a boat coming towards them, then they will see the red light on their right, and the green light on their left.  Conversely, if an observer sees a boat moving away, then the red light will be on their left, and the green light on their right.  In short, navigation lights help determine who has the right of way in a waterway, and are also used in aircraft to help an observer determine heading and position of an observed aircraft. 

One trait that boats and automobiles share is that they both have internal cabin lights.  Marine cabin lights share the same purpose as automobile cabin lights in that they allow passengers to see inside the cabin when it’s dark outside. 

The use of marine lighting essentially serves the same purpose as automobile lighting, to make the activity safer. Do you have any questions about other types of marine lights? Let us know in the comments, we would be happy to help answer

About the Author:
Bulbtown specializes in replacement light bulbs of all types, watt-ages, sizes, and application, including marine light bulbs.  Their inventory can be viewed at


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