Boat Navigation lights

Boat Navigation lights

Port and starboard sidelights

A red light on the port side and a green light on the starboard side.

Stern light

A white light placed at the stern of the boat.

Masthead light

A white light projecting towards the front of the boat.

All-round light

A white light projecting all around the vessel.


What is a navigation light?

Just like for vehicles on our roadways, there are rules that apply to the lights that must be displayed by boats. 

These lights provide critical information to the operators of other vessels when they see you. Depending on the lights required to be displayed on your boat based on its length and type of propulsion, the information that these lights provide to others can tell them whether you are at anchor or underway or engaged in some other activity, whether you are a power-driven vessel or not, what your heading is, etc. Other vessels around you make collision avoidance decisions based on the information available to them, that's why it is so important that the information your navigation lights are giving them is the correct information.

If you are caught by the police not showing lights or showing improper lights, you will likely be fined. Worse yet, if the information your navigation lights are providing is incorrect and an accident occurs as a result of this, there could be serious repercussions.  

When must navigation lights be displayed?

  • Between sunset and sunrise

  • When periods of restricted visibility (fog or heavy rain)

Blue flashing light

All law enforcement agencies (Police) and some government agencies must display an all-around blue-flashing beam engaged in duties in Canadian waters.

Police boat

Yellow lights when towing

Is a navigation light used for towing. It's a yellow light placed at the forward end of a towing vessel or vessel being towed.

Yellow lights when towing - tug boat