at a minimum what color all-around light

at a minimum what color all-around light

at a minimum what color all-around light

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at a minimum what color all-around light
at a minimum what color all-around light

Boat Navigation Light Types & Requirements

Boat Navigation Lights

One of the most important safety systems on your boat is your set of navigation lights.

Whenever you are operating between sunset and sunrise, or in other times of restricted visibility, such as in fog or rain, you need to display the appropriate navigation lights so that other boats can see you and take the appropriate action to avoid a collision.

In general, all navigation light systems include red and green sidelights

which indicate the port and starboard side of your boat, as well as one or more white lights.

It’s also important that you have a flashlight on board, as you never know when a navigation light might burn out. The rules for what navigation lights to display depend on a number of factors including:

  • The length of your boat: e.g. under or over 12 meters;
  • Whether your boat is being powered by an engine;
  • Where you’re boating, e.g. inland or international waters; and
  • Whether you at anchor.

For now, remember that it’s your responsibility to have the proper navigation lighting. Even if you just purchased a new boat, you should check to ensure that you’ve got the right lights for safe, and legal, boating.

Powered Boat Navigation Lights

When operating between sunset and sunrise, or in periods of restricted visibility, powered recreational boats require the following set of navigation lights. Remember, these power boat light 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.

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 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.

at a minimum what color all-around light
at a minimum what color all-around light

Boat Navigation Lights at Anchor

We’ve covered what navigation lights you need to have when you are underway, but what about when you’re at anchor?

When your boat is at anchor, but you are not in a designated anchoring area, like at a marina, you need to make sure that you are visible to other boats that may be operating nearby.

When anchoring in these areas, you are required to display an all-around white light where it will be best seen by any other boats in the area.

at a minimum what color all-around light

Light is a kind of energy  called electromagnetic radiation. There are many different forms of electromagnetic radiation,

such as radio waves, microwaves, ultraviolet rays, and X-rays. Each form is characterized by a different wavelength.

For example, radio waves can be several miles long, while gamma rays are smaller than atoms.  The light that we see — visible light — falls somewhere in the middle of this “electromagnetic spectrum.”

Visible light may be a tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum

but there are still many variations of wavelengths. We see these variations as colors. On one end of the spectrum is red light, with the longest wavelength.

Blue or violet light has the shortest wavelength. White light is a combination of all colors in the color spectrum.

It has all the colors of the rainbow. Combining primary colors of light like red, blue, and green creates secondary colors: yellow, cyan, and magenta.

All other colors can be broken down into different combinations of the three primary colors. (If you’re mixing material like paint.

the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow… but for light, the primary colors are red, blue and green!)

eq-31 at a minimum what color all-around light

Objects appear one color or another because of how they reflect and absorb certain colors of light. For example.

a red wagon looks red because it reflects red light and absorbs blue and green light. A yellow banana reflects red and green light, and absorbs the rest.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 white paper cup
  • Red, green, and blue markers
  • Strand of brightly colored holiday tree lights
  • 1 pencil or pen

What To Do

Color the inside of a white paper cup with the three primary colors of light: red, blue, and green. Leave one of the stripes white (There should be four equal stripes in red, blue, green, and white.)

at a minimum what color all-around light
at a minimum what color all-around light

Use a pencil or pen to punch a hole in the bottom of the cup

Plug in the strand of holiday lights. Take a red light from the strand and stick it through the hole in the bottom of the cup.

Look at the red, blue, and green sections in the cup. (NOTE: For better results, turn off the room light.)

What happens to the colors inside the cup? Do they still look the same, or do the colors in the cup change?

A Sight to Bee-hold!

Human eyes can detect only certain wavelengths, so visible light is the only kind of electromagnetic radiation we can see.

Some animals can see other forms of light. Bees and butterflies can see ultraviolet light, which means that they see different colors than we.

This helps them find flowers to pollinate. The world must look pretty different from a bumblebee’s perspective!

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