*Common Navigation Lights & Sound Signals*
All vessels which are underway in areas of restricted visibility are required to display running lights. All vessels are also required to have a sound signal onboard. Donít take this as gospel. Different size boats require different things. Check at your local marine store or contact a Coast Guard unit to find out what you need.
Common Navigation Lights
Port light (left side of boat)= Red
Starboard light (right side of boat) = Green
Both have 112.5 degree arc of visibility.
Masthead light= White
Has a 225 degree arc of visibility. It faces forward on the mast of a vessel
Towing light= Amber
Has a 135 degree arc of visibility. It faces aft(backwards) on a vessel
Stern Light= White
Has a 135 degree arc of visibility. It also faces aft on a vessel.
Sailboat masthead light= red over green and used in conjunction with the red and green sidelights OR masthead configuration is red+green+white. Meaning there is a single light on the top of the mast that displays the red, green & white lights.
Short blast = approx. 1 second long
Prolonged blast = approx. 4-6 seconds
Vessels less than 12 meters in length are required to have a means of making an efficient sound signal on board. Examples are; whistle, horn, bell.
Vessels of 12-100meters in length must have a whistle and bell. Check for your requirements.
Vessels of 100 or more meters in length must have a whistle, bell and gong.
Common Sound Signals
1 short blast= altering your course to starboard
2 short blasts= altering your course to port
3 short blasts= operating astern propulsion
2 prolonged/1 short blast= I am overtaking you on your starboard side
2 prolonged/2 short blast= I am overtaking you on your port side
1 prolonged blast= bend signal (navigating around a bend in a channel where you canít see whatís ahead of you)
5 short blasts= Danger signal (A vessel has had a man overboard or will be making sudden course changes. Sounded as a caution to warn other vessels of danger)
Continuous short blasts= distress signal
In areas of restricted visibility these signals must be sounded:
Anchored: rapid ringing of bell for 5 sec. Every minute
Aground: 3 distinct rings on bell, rapid ringing for 5 sec., 3 distinct rings on bell. Every minute.
Underway and making way: 1 prolonged every 2 minutes
Underway, not making way: 2 prolonged blasts every 2 minutes
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