NAV Lights Study Guide
Application: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
Function: Nautical Reference and Study
Did you know that navigation lights play a key role in determining who has the right of way. On boats, yachts and ships, a red light will be mounted on the left or port side of the ship and a green on the right or starboard side. These lights help two boats on a collision course determine who has right of way. If a boater sees a vessel on a path crossing his, he will see either its red running light or green running light. If he observes a green light, he is on the other boats starboard and has the right of way. If the boater observes a red light, he knows that the other boat has the right of way, and he is required to change his course to avoid the collision.
The United States passed an act in 1828 requiring steamboats operating between sunset and sunrise to carry signal lights. The United Kingdom passed regulations in 1848 that required steam vessels to display red and green sidelights as well as a white masthead light. The U.S. Congress required sailing vessels to operate with lights starting in 1848. United States held the first International Maritime Conference in 1889 to consider regulations on preventing accidents at sea. The resulting Washington Conference Rules were adopted by the U.S in 1890. The international 1948 Safety of Life at Sea Conference recommended a mandatory fixed stern light for almost all vessels. These regulations have been the standard since then.