Which rear nav light position do I use?

Campfire

Seaman Apprentice
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
48
I have a 1973 18’ I/O. The boat has a two sided white position light. In the “anchor” selection, both sides light up. In the other selection, only the forward lights up. I have found information pertaining to sailboats which discusses masthead lights verses anchor lights. It would seem that the same rules would apply but…all of the newer boats have a 360 degree white light. So I am unsure what the correct procedure is.

I think on some older boats, there are lighting requirements that are grandfathered but my neighbor who just got his 6 pack said that lights are not grandfathered. Of course another licensed captain with a 1940s Chris Craft with a forward facing white light (not a docking light) says he is required to run that light at night and has the paperwork to prove it (it is a larger boat if that matters).

At the end of the day, what position is legal to run on my vessel and what position will minimize the chances of a vessel “safety inspection”?
 

cptbill

Chief Petty Officer
Joined
Oct 6, 2012
Messages
421
Rule 23 states, A power driven vessel underway shall exhibit a mast head light forward ( under 50 meters)Side lights and a stern light
Rule 23 continued states, A power driven vessel under 12 meters may, in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this rule, exhibit an all-round white light and side lights. You are under 12 meters so if your running between dusk and dawn All-round white light and red and green side lights. There is no exception for the age of the boat the only thing that changes would be with the size of the boat
 

Scott Danforth

Grumpy old guy who plays with boats
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
34,872
yes, the CFR is based on international maritime law. same rules apply globally when it comes to lighting
 

Comogene

Cadet
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
26
Actually, the old Chris-Craft IS grandfathered. The current rules require the masthead or steaming light to be at least one meter above the sidelights. The old rule allowed the white forward light (a/k/a masthead) to be below the sidelights, typically on the deck at the bow
 

cptbill

Chief Petty Officer
Joined
Oct 6, 2012
Messages
421
That may be but in the colreg's there's no mention of that
 

Campfire

Seaman Apprentice
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
48
So I did some more investigation. It looks like my boat was outfitted with the old school style lighting as it has a stern light on the back of the hull. The bulb was burned out and I simply did not realize that that was supposed to light up. I figured it was a swim platform light. You don’t know what you don’t know. Now I do. Thank you.
 
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