Ridetheducksofseattle is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The Best Boat Navigation Lights

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

Lights in the marine industry are always connected with safety. Specifications and requirements are even mandated by the law.For boat owners are on search for the best boat navigation lights, keep in mind that choosing the right light is not only for compliance but also for the safety of yourself and other people.

best boat navigation lights

By using navigation lights, accidents, and collisions are prevented. These are the tools that relay information regarding the direction and activity of the travel of every vessel. They can also guide you to the proper course of action when you approach another boat or other water vessels.

Color emission, brightness, and angles are the important elements when evaluating a navigation light. You have to display the right kind of lights at night and during moments of reduced visibility. To meet these requirements, here is the list of 12 navigation lights.


<strong>Top 1</strong>

Obscurso Light

+ Innovative LED optical
+ Passing the requirements of USCG
+ Durable and High-quality

Jump to Review

<strong>Top 2</strong>

Attwood 14190

+ Water-resistant
+ Visible two miles away
+ Install is so easy

Jump to Review

<strong>Top 3</strong>

Obscurco Navigation Light

+ Emit vivid, bright light
+ Perform installation easily
+ Adhere well to the surface

Jump to Review

Top 10 Boat Navigation Light Reviews

1. Obscurso Boat Navigation Light

This product is considered one of the top-ratd LED navigation lights. It’s so bright and the radiation angles, which are up to 225 degrees, are in the correct stance. The red and green lights are made of innovative LED optical design which reduces the accumulation of heat so the light can last long.

Thanks to the brightness of the 4W LED bulb, sailors will be warned of approaching vessels. It gives me peace of mind whenever I go night boating. Even if there is possible interference of mist or fog, the brightness of this light still can make others aware of your presence.

In other words, you can be seen even from a distance. All of these features are included to keep up with the requirements of USCG for 2 nautical mile visibility.

I can say it gives the value of your money as it’s both dependable and durable. Its casing made of chrome plated zinc proves it. The manufacturer lets it go through 72 hours of salt spray test to prevent corrosion while in use. Water can’t get into the light and damage it.

The light works with DC 12V and powered by 3W. It is 1.7” high, 3.9” long, and 3.1 wide. There are red (positive) and black (negative) wires.

Installation is very easy. You can attach the screws using an old-fashioned drill or an electric drill. It would be better if the necessary screws came with the package. Anyway, it’s not a big deal as I can buy them and they’re not expensive.
  • Innovative LED optical and waterproof design to improve brightness & lifespan
  • Passing the requirements of USCG for 2 nautical mile visibility
  • Being dependable, and durable and in high-quality
  • Casing is made of chrome plated zinc for avoiding corrosive problems
  • Minimizing circuit issues of the internal parts and installing process
  • Necessary screws are not included in the package
Using this navigation light is certainly an upgrade. It proves to be way more capable than any lights that I used previously

2. Attwood 14190 Boating Navigation Lights

Getting this boat navigation light kit is worth your money. I don’t have any complaints when it comes to the price and the light power that it delivers. It’s super bright that it is impossible for you to get lost while sailing. Plus, it’s perfect for small boats as it’s portable.

I get this for being a law abiding citizen but I’m concerned for my safety too. I feel secured as the bright light is evenly distributed. It can still be visible even two miles away. With these abilities, it can comply with the laws of many states regarding navigation light.

The kit is composed of green and red navigation lights, white LED stern light, pole, hardware, and quick release of C clamp for mounting. It is easy to place or remove the light. So when I choose to use my pontoon on some occasions, I just take the light off from my boat then transfer it.

These are battery powered navigation lights as three pieces of AAA battery are the power supply. Using high quality lithium ones also allow them to last for a year. I don’t want to mess up with some internal wires so I find this feature very convenient.

The LED lights, shatterproof polycarbonate lens, and the essential parts are secured in a shock-proof housing. This makes the lights durable and strong. Attwood navigation lights have gained a high reputation for high quality testing, engineering, and manufacturing.

It’s so easy to install as I don’t need to deal with wires. There’s a 32” pole for the stern light and you can take them apart for storage. I only have to clamp all the lights. But be careful not to break the clips that keep the light and the pole.
  • Water-resistant to guarantee better longevity
  • Show high versatility with portable light that is perfect for small boats
  • Give off bright light that is evenly distributed
  • Visible two miles away
  • Add and removes of mounting clamp easily
  • Provide shock-proof housing for improving durability and strength
  • Install is so easy without messing up with wires
  • The clips should be handled with care to prevent from breakage
It’s easy to install and use at the same time. It doesn’t have to stay in the same boat as you can remove it and use it in another water vessel.

3. Obscurco LED Boat Navigation Light

This strip light makes my boat look much cooler as I placed it on the rub molding. I first bought this light for complying with fishing regulations. However, this product demonstrates to be more than that; it is suitable for both sailing and fishing purposes

The green and red strip lights emit vivid, bright light. It’s not only to make it appealing but also to be seen even a mile away. 18 5050 LEDs per strip and high color reaction are the factors that help this product achieve its purpose.

It’s important that marine paraphernalia are waterproof just like this device. So even if it’s submerged into the water, it remains functional. My brother even placed it at the edge of his pontoon. Water splashes can’t stop it from working.

Installation is easy but I have to clean the surface first. I need to make sure that not a tiny bit of dirt can ruin the adhesion. Whoa! It clings to the surface well without the tendency to peel.

I don’t consider it an issue but the manufacturer should have provided indication which color is which by placing some small stickers. The length of each strip light is 12 inches. When placing the light, you must check the angle to follow the mandate of the law. The arc of viability should be 112.5 degrees which is 22.5 degrees towards the beam.
  • Give off a cool appearance for the boat
  • Follow the regulations on marine boat and fisheries
  • Emit vivid, bright light
  • A waterproof navigation light
  • Perform installation easily
  • Adhere well to the surface
  • No indication of the lights’ color
Overall, this product is not only used for navigation but it can enhance the boat’s appearance a notch higher.

4. Shangyuan Boat Navigation Lights

These LED boat navigation lights give my boat a sleek and modern look. Although they’re small, it gives off bright light that is not blurry. With these strip lights, I can avoid tripping over a permanent bow light or stowing a plug-in mount. It simply works to keep me safe over the waters.

You can avail of these lights in white or in a combination of red and green. Since its appearance and brightness stand out, it not only serves as a navigation light. It can be a bow light, starboard light, portlight, and stern light. This light is perfect for small boats, sailboats, kayaks, and pontoons.

I used it in the entire winter and no cracking or fading issues occurred. This indicates that the casing and PC lens are reliable. They are water-proof, dust-proof, and shock-proof.

Each strip light has a length of 3.8 inches. The power supply is DC 12V. There are two wires that you need to attach to the battery or electrical system of your boat. The wires labeled by colors as black for negative and another color for positive. This enables you to connect them effortlessly.

There’s a set of screws and foam tape bases provided so it will be easy to mount for you. Don’t put a lot of strength when tightening the screws as you might crack the casing. It’s not necessary to apply too much force anyway.

It can be more effective than the standard, pole-style navigation lights. The easy application and level of brightness can allow you to remain visible from a mile away.
  • One year warranty from the manufacturer
  • Gives off bright light that is not blurry
  • Suits small boats, sailboats, kayaks, and pontoons
  • Water-proof, dust-proof, and shock-proof
  • Save energy by reducing temperature and power, resulting in a longer lifespan
  • More effective than the standard, pole-style of navigation lights
  • Provide free screw set and foam tape bases in the package
  • Too much strength when tightening the screws might crack the casing
Installing navigation lights will be easy and simple with this product. Making your boat appear stylish is a bonus.

5. 12v Marine LED Boat Navigation Lights

It is relatively small when compared to other bow lights for boat but it is well-structured as a navigation light. What’s inside this 2-inch wide and about 2 inches tall light? It has 16 pieces of LEDs in a single light so it can give a clear and bright light. There is a 225-degrees radiation angle for a wider scope of light.

The aforementioned features are for the safety of boat owners. They also meet the requirements set by the United States Coast Guard. I passed the inspection for boat lighting because of this red and green bow light. The light remains recognizable even from a distance and it lessens the blind spot at night.

Apart from being a reliable navigation light, it’s worth your money. It is lightweight but durable as it is made of ABS plastic material. The LEDs are completely sealed for long-term use.

Strong wind and heavy rain can’t stop this light from working as it is IP65 waterproof. It keeps on giving light even if the weather is harsh. Moreover, it won’t easily be degraded by corrosion or rusting.

In terms of installation, it’s so easy. All I did was to put the three screws to secure the light on the surface. But I need to enlarge the holes so the screws are tightened well. The red and black wires should be connected to the source of energy. That’s all it is and there you go.
  • 16 pieces of LED in one light to give a clear and bright light
  • 225 degrees radiation angle
  • Meet the boat light requirements set by the United States Coast Guard
  • Lightweight and easy installation
  • Durable and made of ABS plastic material
  • IP65 waterproof for corrosive resistance purpose
  • The need to enlarge the holes for tightening the screws
All in all, it is a small bow light but it’s incredible in serving as a navigation light.

6. Interwebz Boat Bow Navigation

It’s good that there are led navigation lights for boats that are much better than the typical pole style. I’ve been using it for over a year and it still prettily sits on my boat, never comes off even once.

This boat navigation light kit includes the 12-inch red and green strip lights. They have a black background strip to match any boat rub rails or exteriors. I place them next to the rub rail of my boat and they look awesome.

These strip lights give extreme brightness. My boat was transformed into a sleek-looking vessel as well. It keeps me and my surroundings safe when I go night fishing. I am thrilled every time the fish draws near the front of the boat. It makes fishing more fun.

It makes the boat detectable even from afar. Even DNR approves the brightness of these lights. It’s great for navigational visibility as your presence is made known to other water vessels.

It’s IP68 waterproof so even submerging into the water, the lights won’t stop working. They are well protected by silicon covering.

Adhesion is usually an issue with light strips but not for this product as it has plenty of double-sided 3M adhesive tape. Clean the mounting area first before you lay them down for the best application. Then, apply silicone glue for a long term reinforcement.

The 6-feet black wire leads are extra long to make installation convenient. They are all black but with sticker labels, so you would know which one is positive.
  • The strips with black background that match any exterior of a boat
  • Give an extreme brightness
  • Be able to detect clearly even from long distance
  • IP68 waterproof which helps to extend longevity
  • Installation is convenient thanks to extra long wire
  • Alternate typical pole style navigation lights
  • Silicone glue is necessary for applying.
I’m happy with this product as it increases navigation visibility and it helps me with my night fishing.

7. Obcursco LED Navigation Lights

This device effectively functions as a fishing boat, speed boat, skeeter, and pontoon navigation lights. I think it can be bought at a fair price but it works better than the expensive brands that I tried using before. The eight LEDs in a bulb create extreme brightness which can cover the distance of one mile.

This pair of green and red navigation lights can guide you with any night activity that you have in the open water. Most of all, it supervises the safe sailing experience. The 3W LEDs in this product facilitate 1NM visibility. It also abides by the fisheries and wildlife regulations.

Aside from the outstanding provision of light, the cover of the LEDs is non-corrosive as it is made of stainless steel. The built-in, waterproof ring blocks the water from getting into the lights. Therefore, getting the lights submerged in the water doesn’t cause me any worries or concerns.

The installation was simple when I placed the two lights in front of my boat. The necessary screws for fastening the navigation lights in place are included in the package. There are three holes on the stainless base of these small lights. The diameter of the base is 2.4 inches and the height is just 1.8 inches.

I like the red and black wires as they are 9.8 inches long. They’re easy to connect with a battery or power source as long as you have general knowledge about wiring. Once you make this small light work, you’re ready to sail at night.
  • Navigation lights for pontoon, sailboat, speed boat, and skeeter
  • A fair price is offered
  • There are 8 LEDs per bulb creating extreme brightness for 1 mile
  • Supervise safe sailing experience
  • Covered by stainless steel for non-corrosive and waterproof purpose
  • Come with 6 screws for installation and replacement
  • Requires general knowledge about wiring to connect wires to a power source.
This red and green duo of navigation lights ensures the regulations and my safety when I’m on the water at night. Although it’s small, it’s still reliable.

8. Attwood 5100-24-1 Frosted Globe Light

I chose this light because of its product description which is not a bluff at all. It provides 360 degrees illumination and this is what I need for a navigation light. When boating at night, sufficient light is essential to avoid accidents.

The bulb or the frosted globe light delivers a bright light. It’s perfect for my small boat but it is also good for vessels that are up to 20 meters big. There’s also a 2-pin standard pole and base bayonet contacts in the package. The pole is 24 inches long with a diameter of .75 inches to fit an existing socket.

As for its base, two standard pin base sockets are needed. You can easily find and buy them from the hardware. There’s no need to search for it if you have it in your boat. But if not, you have to install it so the light will be plugged into the power source.

I plugged mine into a receptacle. It’s also possible to connect it with a hard-wired base which can be attached to a battery for energy. If there’s an available pin base socket in your boat, you can use this globe light right away.

I’ve been using this light for over three years. I can continue fishing after sunset as it provides a sufficient amount of light. If ever the light ceases to work, I only need to buy a new bulb and replace it as the whole frame can stay as it is. So the best part is that I don’t need to re-install and deal with screws.
  • Provide 360 degrees of illumination
  • Deliver a bright light
  • Have 24-inch pole, which is perfect for small boats
  • Can be used for years
  • No need to re-install as the bulb should only be replaced
  • Make the base on your own
What I like best about this globe light is the frame can stay for a long time and the 360 degrees of illumination.

9. LEANINGTECH Marine Boat Yacht Light

It is the best pair of marine navigation lights for me as it can be used for old boats that came from the 1980s’. I’m also impressed by its wide application aside from being navigation lights or LED boat running lights.

It’s a pair of navigation lights that are not only for boats but for yachts, skeeter, pontoons, and even touring cars. I placed it in front of my boat to provide an amazing bright light that conforms to the wildlife and fisheries regulations.

Although it projects an ample amount of light, it has a low energy consumption as only one watt is required by each light. I’m surprised by this information but via checking I am entirely convinced by its amazing characteristics

The light is recognizable one nautical mile away with 120 degrees LED beam angle. So I feel secure sailing or fishing at night. It assures me that other mariners can notice my appearance. Thus, accidents and collisions can be avoided.

There are other features that made me like this product even more. It is sturdy and heavy-duty as it is composed of quality materials like its stainless steel housing and ABS plastic base. Strong wind and heavy rain can’t stop this light from functioning as it is rated as IP66 waterproof and dust-proof.

Despite the many benefits that it gives, it’s so simple to install. I even did it quickly as there are free screws and rubber gaskets. It fits with precision in the front of my boat. However, some users may need a larger opening when mounting this pair of bow lights.
  • Can be used for old boats
  • Have wide application for different purposes
  • Low energy consumption
  • Still recognizable one nautical mile away
  • 120 degrees LED beam angle
  • Sturdy and heavy-duty
  • Waterproof and dust-proof by using durable material
  • Some users may need a larger opening required for opening
These green and red lights work well on being yacht, skeeter, pontoon boat navigation lights. I have nothing to complain about.

10. Osinmax Boat Navigation Light

I love the fresh look that this super bright light gave my boat. I think I made the right decision choosing this among the plethora of navigation lights in the market. Its ability to give light with 112.5 degrees radiation angle is approved by USCG legal provision.

The light has red and green LEDs created from new ideas and techniques so it has high visibility. Boats on the opposite side or two nautical miles away will be able to see you. Thus, collision and accidents can be avoided.

It will allow you to see coming boats so you have the chance to promptly give way. Hence, even a small accident like scratching the boat’s surface won’t happen. The power consumption is lower compared to a halogen lamp.

Durability is also important to me as it will last long. This pair of lights are reliable in this aspect as it has a sealing ring made of high-density foam silicone rubber. It is also rated as IP67 waterproof. Aside from the ability to last long, it prevents the short circuit from happening.

Another thing I adore this product is its appearance. You have to believe me that the photos describe accurately the real products.

When it comes to installation, I was able to do it easily and quickly. Even without the help of the manual and gasket, everyone can do it the way I did. I’m in awe of how it fits perfectly but I was thinking two screws should fasten each light. It doesn’t matter as the lights stick on the surface well with just one screw.
  • Super bright light
  • Approved by USCG legal provision
  • Has high visibility even from two nautical miles away
  • Low energy consumption
  • IP67 waterproof helps preventing any water-caused problems
  • Installation can be done easily and quickly
  • Only one screw for mounting
You won’t regret buying this pair of navigation lights. It abides with boat navigation lights rules and it can give your boat a fresh look.

What is a Boat Navigation Light and How Does it Work


A boat navigation light is a part of the safety system of every water vessel. It’s a must for those who use their boat between sunset and sunrise. Other instances to consider the importance of this light are foggy and rainy periods.

Having the appropriate navigation lights is important in order to take the right course of action and avoid collisions. These lights reveal which direction the boat is heading to, the size of the boat, and the angle which makes it visible. They play a vital role in minimizing accidents in the waters.

Generally, navigation lights have red and green sidelights that represent the starboard and port sides of a boat. Others have one or more white lights.

To comply with navigation lights rules and to make sure you have the appropriate lights for your boat, you have to pay attention to the following factors:

  • Location (of the boat or other water vessel)
  • Range of visibility (also known as brightness)
  • Arc of illumination

It’s the responsibility of the operator or owner of the boat or any water vessel to thoroughly check the factors above. You have to ensure that the navigation lights that you installed in your boat can serve its purpose properly.

Types of Boat Navigation Lights

  • All-Round White Light

It’s considered an unbroken light as it has a scope of 360 degrees which means it can cover the arc of the horizon.

  • Masthead

It’s the white light that you can see on the vessel’s centerline. This type of navigation light emits a whole light over 225 degrees arc of the horizon. It should be placed in a specific area so it’s visible for everyone who is either behind or ahead of the boat.

  • Sidelights

This is the reason why you should get a pair of navigation lights which are the red and green ones. The red light is for the port side and it’s on the left while the green one for the starboard side and it is situated on the right side. The whole light coming from each side forms an arc of the horizon in the range of 112.5 degrees

They are flush mount navigation lights that can be mounted horizontally and vertically. There’s a reference line marked on lights intended for horizontal mounting so it can parallel to the boat’s centerline.

Sidelights for vertical mounting are placed on the side of the topside of the cabin. It should be in the correct position so the lights would be visible as a whole and not being a crossover. A wedge or similar tool can be used to achieve the right alignment.

  • Stern Light

It is a white light that is located near the stern. This light produces unbroken light of 135 degrees over an arc of the horizon.

Benefits and Drawback of Using Boat Navigation Lights

Boat navigation lights allow you to see if another vessel is coming. You would know what direction it is headed and its size. Just like any other lights will do, they illuminate so you avoid the tricky period of reduced visibility and obstruction.

They will be a guide to your vision in darkness and fog. You will know for sure what’s going on around you and the other vessels.

Navigation lights guarantee safety. With their provision of light, you can keep your boat away from being damaged. But the most important is making yourself safe as well as the staff or crew, passengers, and the people on other boats or vessels.

Considering the mandate of law, you can avoid paying a hefty fine when the authority catches you without navigation lights. So it’s better to spend on them rather than to be obliged to remit more money.

As you can see, the benefits of using boat navigation lights are substantial. This kind of light saves lives and even the law can’t just ignore how essential it is. It helps prevent accidents and collisions to maintain smooth and safe sailing for everyone on the water.

As for drawbacks, it’s not directly weighed on navigation lights. This perspective is based on how responsible the boat owner is. It’s best to learn the appropriate way of using the navigation light. You can’t blame the manufacturer for any dysfunctions or technical issues.

A responsible boat owner should find out the right set of navigation lights for his or her boat. The proper way of installation is very important. If it’s taken for granted, the navigation lights will be ineffective.

They should be placed in the right place where they can project the light at a specified angle. If the wrong way of installation was done, the navigation lights are not useful at all. It won’t be effective in giving signs and warnings to other vessels.

Buyer’s Guide


Here’s a guide for you when buying the appropriate navigation light kit:


LED is commonly used lights even in boats these days as it’s an energy saver while providing bright light. High visibility is a very important feature for navigation lights as they are a medium of communication on the waters. This can be made possible by LED lights and other kinds of light that have extreme brightness.

The usual colors of navigation lights are white, green, and red. Boats from a mile away should be able to see the presence of another boat. The colors are the signs of the boat’s body and the direction of their travel.

They should be able to achieve the required range of visibility and arc of illumination set by the law. Manufacturers should guide the boat owners on how to correctly install the navigation lights to be able to set up the essential factors.

Casing or Covering

Navigation lights are exposed to water and different kinds of weather even the harshest of it all. So the casing or covering is important. It should be waterproof, dustproof, non-corrosion, rust-free, and not easily tainted.

If the casing is reliable, it shows sturdiness and durability. So the light inside can be used for a long time. It also increases safety on board as the current is associated with the lights. Since they are protected from any element that can start a short circuit, you won’t be in danger.

Easy Installation

Installation of navigation lights should be easy for every boat owner. Adhesion and screws are not complicated to apply. Wires are also included in this section. They should be made after the wiring code for safe use.

Navigation lights should be wired so it will be one with the switch and other running lights. Once you turn on the switch, everything lights up. But when it comes to portable navigation lights for small boats, installation is not necessary as they are powered by batteries.

Light Fixture or Fitting

The right navigation lights should fit well on the designated light fixture on your boat. Additionally, you should check if it obeys the marine rules in your state or country. These are the things that you have to keep in mind in getting a set of navigation lights.

Be thorough in examining the shielding arrangements to ensure that the lights shine in the right direction. No overlapping of lights should emerge from a combination of lights.

Care and Maintenance

Navigation lights are the form of non-verbal communication among water vessels. The purpose of using these lights is to keep the order on the water and for the safety of everyone therein. So boat owners should keep an eye on care and maintenance.

Routine maintenance is best done when you’re at the dock. You have to make sure that the power supply is disconnected from the navigation lights before doing it. When doing the necessary procedures, some things require your attention and carefulness such as water from the sea or the rain, wind, sunlight, vibrations, and wires.


Water can cause destruction when it gets into the electrical system of your boat. You should know about water ingress and how it can bring danger. It can cause a fire because of the electrical system due to a short circuit. When the lights are frequently getting fused, it’s probably caused by water ingress.

Even the casing of the navigation lights are tight and waterproof, there will be problems if there’s leakage in the electrical system. It’s always better to get a brand that has non-corrosive covering or is not prone to rust so it won’t worse the situation

What you need to do is to check any leakage of water regardless of how reliable you think your lights can be. Check for salt formation and fungus too. It’s recommended to apply water-resistant material like silicon or putty when you open the casing. Use fine cloth or cleaner for cleaning your lights.

Wind and Sunlight

These factors can easily degrade navigation lights made of plastic. You should know the circumstances if you choose to buy them. Getting weatherproof brass material light fittings is the solution for it.


Vibrations are produced by the boat’s engine. They may affect the performance of the navigation lights. What you need to do is to get a vibration absorber material in the form of a rubber gasket.

Your concern about vibration will need you to check loose holders or bolts. You may need to tighten them again. Some instances may require you to clamp the light fixture but this feature is available on some navigation lights.


You also need to take care of wires as weather exposure can loosen or tangle them. The loose ones can be secured by cable wires but still, it’s best to regularly examine them.

Frequently Asked Questions


Who makes the best boat navigation lights?

The ones who make the top-rated boat navigation lights are Obscurso, Attwood, Shangyuan, 12V Marine, Interwebz, LEANINGTECH, and Osinmax.

What color are navigation lights on pleasure boats?

Although the colors of marine led nav lights are affected by coldness and heat, it’s still important to know the exact lights for pleasure boats. This refers to the sidelights on pleasure boats.

The red color is on port and the green one is on starboard. Both of them work together to create 112.5 degrees unbroken arcs. The other scope of this pair of lights is the 22.5 degrees towards the stern and the beam on each side of the boat. A white stern light is also added at the back with 135 degrees arc of illumination.

Where do navigation lights go on a boat?

There are four different types of navigation lights and they have various coverage. They go on a different range of visibility and arcs of illumination as boats are in different sizes.

The ideal visibility range is based on the boat’s size.

  • The sidelights of boats in the size under 39.4 feet or 12 meters should be visible one nautical mile away. The rest of the lights should be detectable for at least two nautical miles away.
  • The masthead of the boats in the size under 65.7 feet or 20 meters should still be seen even if they are three nautical miles away. Other lights should be seen even from two nautical miles away.
  • With boats over 65.7 feet or 20 meters or less than 164 feet or 50 meters, the light from the masthead should stay visible for five nautical miles. Other lights should be detectable even from two nautical miles away.

Arc of illumination based on the type of illumination light:

  • Masthead (white) – 225 degrees
  • Sidelights (red and green) – 112.5 degrees
  • Stern light (white) – 135 degrees
  • All-round (white) – 360 degrees

How to maintain and care?

Although the casing is waterproof and dustproof, you still have to make sure that there’s nothing that goes inside it. So regular cleaning won’t hurt anyway and unscrewing is pretty easy as well as putting it back.

Wires should be given attention too as they can pose danger although you can put protection on it like wire loom. Check them regularly if they get loosened up or tangled. You may also need to counter check if there’s water that gets into them. It’s better to be sure than sorry as current can be dangerous when water is involved.

What are the navigation lights for the different types of the boat?

There are four types of navigation lights. They are all-round white light, the masthead, sidelights, and stern light. There are also different kinds of boats. Here they are and how the navigation lights project their illumination.

  • Powered Boat Navigation Lights

This is the type of navigation lights that would help you get through restriction of visibility. It’s what you need when you sail between dusk and dawn. Sailboats with the motor can also use it.

The set of navigation lights for powered boats in the size below 12 meters or 39.4 feet should be:

  1. A single white light that is all-around and it can be seen two miles away in the scope of 360 degrees.
  2. A pair of red and green sidelights that are still detectable a mile away at 112.5 degrees.

When you place the white light in a boat that is smaller than 12 meters, you have to position it at a height of 39 inches over the sidelights.

The following requirements are for boats that are smaller than 20 meters or 65.5 feet or referred to as recreational boats.

  1. The white light placed in front of the boat is the masthead light. It should be visible two miles away across 225 degrees.
  2. The white light can also be made into a stern light which will be placed at the back of the boat. It needs to be seen two miles away across 135 degrees. When these two lights which are masthead and stern lights are combined, they are summed up into 360 degrees.

For boats with a size smaller than 20 meters, the masthead light should be towering eight feet over the gunnel.

  • Boat Navigation Lights at Anchor

You don’t only need a navigation light when your boat is in motion. Despite being anchored at a dock or a marina, you still have to ensure that you are visible to other operating water vessels nearby. All you have to do is to display white light for everyone to see.

  • Personal or Pleasure Boat Navigation Lights

Navigation lights should be present on personal or pleasure boats too when in motion at night or in cases of restricted visibility. The manufacturer’s instructions should be able to assist you with the installation. An all-round white light must be installed in a way that won’t jeopardize things while you’re sailing.

It’s fine to add accessories or aftermarket products but they shouldn’t intervene with the design and purpose of the navigation lights set by the manufacturer. The watertight integrity of the hull shouldn’t be compromised as well.

  • Sailboats

It’s acceptable to use the basic navigation light for sailboats that are less than seven-meter long. It should be on throughout your stay on the waters.

What are the helpful tips for navigation lights installation?

It’s best to follow the instructions of the manufacturer for navigation lights installation. The lights should be kept from shining directly to the operator’s eyes. It can be arranged with the help of a pole or a mast. The lights can be above the height level.

But this is not necessary when you have LED lights as they don’t affect night vision and the mounting features. As an advantage of this feature, it minimizes damage as they don’t have to contact with other objects. For example, the ones near the bow and anchor can be vulnerable.


There are many aspects that you need to check on the lighting of your boat. It can start from installation to how the lights give off visibility range and arc of illumination. But with the best boat navigation lights, you can pass all the strict requirements

You keep yourself and those around you safe while your boat is in motion. With consideration to the law, you have also complied with their requirements. Thus, you avoid unnecessary troubles and fines

5/5 - (4 votes)