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What do white, green, and red lights indicate on a boat?

Boating can be a fun and relaxing activity, but it’s important to know the rules and regulations that come with it. One of the most basic yet crucial things to know is the meaning behind the different colored lights that boats display at night. Let’s break it down.

White lights usually indicate that a vessel is stationary or anchored. These lights are used to help other boaters avoid colliding with the anchored boat. In addition, sailboats often display a white light at the top of their masthead to signal their location to other boats, especially if the sailboat is not moving fast enough to create its own wake.

Green lights are positioned on the right-hand side of a vessel and indicate the starboard side. This means that another boat should pass on the port side (left side) of the vessel with the green light.

Red lights are positioned on the left-hand side of a vessel and indicate the port side. This means that another boat should pass on the starboard side (right side) of the vessel with the red light.

It’s also important to note that larger boats will often have a combination of colored lights to show which direction they are moving in. For example, a boat moving forward will display a white light at the front and a red light at the back, while a boat moving in reverse will display a white light at the back and a green light at the front.

Knowing the meaning behind these lights is crucial for any boater, whether you’re a seasoned captain or a beginner. Make sure to keep an eye out for these lights when navigating in low visibility conditions, such as at night or during fog. By following these basic rules, you’ll ensure a safe and enjoyable time on the water for all.

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