Boating enthusiasts are well aware of the importance of keeping safety in mind when out on the water. One critical aspect is ensuring your pontoon boat has all the required navigation lights mounted correctly. All lights have specific positions, and identifying these locations is critical to maintaining safety on the water. Among them, the white light holds significant importance for many reasons.
So? Well, the answer entirely depends on the size of the vessel. According to the United States Coast Guard Navigation Rules, the white masthead light must be positioned above the level of the red and green sidelights. If the pontoon boat is under 39.4 feet (12 meters), the white light must be at least one meter above the sidelights. This positioning ensures that the vessel can be seen from a wider distance by other boaters.
For larger pontoons, the masthead light must be at least two meters (6.5 feet) higher than the sidelights, as stipulated in the COLREGs. However, there are more than one masthead fixtures or lanterns when boats surpassing the 20 meters (65.6 feet) in length.
Undoubtedly, navigation lights in the night-sky make boats more visible. They are of vital importance in maintaining safety on water, especially during low visibility or foggy weather conditions. In these scenarios, boats with improperly positioned or damaged lights can result in severe safety risks. Proper light mounting and positioning ensures that all boaters can recognize and identify vessels from afar, therefore, providing precautions to avoid possible collisions.
Moreover, pontoon lights must illuminate according to the regulation’s standards. The Coast Guard requires that the white light must have a brightness of 225 degrees, with the majority (22.5 degrees) of the light spread below a vertical line from straight in front of the vessel and where it is mounted.
The white light on a pontoon boat is the masthead light that is placed higher than the sidelights. The positioning height is dependent on the size of the boat. The right light positioning guarantees visibility and contributes to safety while traveling at night or low visibility weather. Boat owners must ensure that their navigation lights are working correctly and mounted as per Coast Guard regulations.