Georgia Boater Education Course


NAVIGATION LIGHTS: POWERED BOATS

When operating between sunset and sunrise, or in periods of restricted visibility, powered recreational boats require the following set of navigation lights. Remember, these requirements also apply to sailboats when using a motor.

For powered boats less than 39.4 feet, or 12 meters, you need to have the following set of navigation lights.

  • One all-around white light that you can see from 360 degrees and from two miles away;
  • And one pair of red and green sidelights that are visible at 112.5 degrees and from one mile away.

For boats of this size, the all-around white light needs to be positioned at a height of at least 39 inches above the sidelights.

Figure A shows a boat with this setup.

FIGURE A

If your boat is greater than 39.4 feet but less than 65.6 feet, or 20 meters, you need the following set of navigation lights:

  • A masthead light, which is a white light at the front of the boat. The masthead light needs to be visible across 225 degrees and from two miles away.
  • A stern light, which is a white light at the rear of the boat. The stern light needs to be visible across 135 degrees and from two miles away. When the masthead light and the stern light are combined, that makes up 360 degrees.
  • Finally, you need one pair red and green sidelights that are visible across 112.5 degrees and from a distance of one mile.

For boats of this size, the masthead light must be positioned at a height of at least 8 feet above the gunnel. 

Figure B shows this configuration.