Basic Light Requirements for Small Craft

Get Outdoors Knowledge Outfitting Staff

Boats that operate either under power, in fog or at night are required by law to display various lights. These lights will make your boat more visible and not a hazard to other boats on the water. It is your responsibility to have and maintain these lights both for your safety and the safety of others.

The basic lighting for all boats is displayed at the bow. A green light is displayed on the right or starboard side and a red light on the left or port side. Power boats must also display a white light above the running lights high enough to be seen from a 360 degree perspective, even while anchored if it is occupied and anchored in or near any channel. Power boats usually have these lights integrated into the design of the boat.

Small boats of any description are allowed on the water at night, but are required to display the correct lighting. While these lights can be purchased and affixed to the bow and powered by a marine battery, consider choosing instead small battery powered lights for the occasional night trips. Then instead of having to recharge the heavy marine battery, you can simply replace the AA