Sometimes you can't avoid boating at night, and if that ends up being the case, you need to be prepared. Obviously your visibility is greatly reduced once the sun goes down, but something else to consider is that other boaters may not be as well-trained as you are. For this reason it's a good idea to review some issues before heading out, in the event that you find yourself navigating in the dark:
- Be Careful With High Beams: If you rely on continuous high beam lighting to find your way, you run the risk of blinding other captains who may be heading in your direction. If your boat is equipped with these lights, use them sparingly.
- Know Your Lighting: Boats typically have at least four lights, and sometimes five. The sidelights are a red and green light on each side of the bow, and if you can see both of them on another vessel, it means it is heading directly toward you. The red light is usually on the port side, while the green will be on the starboard side. There is also a stern light, which is white and located on the back of the ship, a white masthead light located on the front, and occasionally an all-around white light on the mast that is visible from any direction.
- Slow Down: The fact is that even with good lights, your visibility will be poor and you'll have trouble seeing any objects under the surface of the water, let alone other ships. Moving slowly is the only surefire way to make your trip safer for you and your passengers.
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