- Port Side Lights: Rules -
Navigation light requirements and compliance vary, depending on certain criteria, for example the length of the boat, direction of travel and type of propulsion. The laws and regulations governing boat lighting make it a must for all boat owners to become acquainted with and equip their vessel with the fundamentals. The navigation lights on all vessels must adhere to particular rules regarding colour, visibility, location and arc of beam. We have provided a summary of what you should know in order to comply with the guidelines in our navigation lights guide.
The lights that are required include the masthead light, sternlight, anchor light and both side lights. Their colour indicates either the port or starboard side of the boat. As soon as it gets dark or visibility is restricted due to weather conditions, the navigation lights must be switched on. The port sidelight is red, whereas the starboard sidelight is green.
The type of port side light and where it is placed on the boat are subject to specific legal requirements. Essential characteristics of port lights relate to beam power in average visibility conditions in relation to the length of the vessel and the angle of light. The range depends on the size of the vessel and should be between one and three nautical miles, whereas the arc of visibility, which is always an unbroken light over an arc of 112.5° should be fixed so that it can be seen from right ahead to 22.5° abaft the beam.
Good lighting is essential to ensure the highest level of safety. The port navigation light on the left side lets you signal to other boats your current course and any course changes. This allows oncoming vessels to adjust to your ship's direction of travel and avoid collisions. If you see a red side light on your own starboard side, it tells you that a vessel is crossing your path from your starboard to port (left). A green sidelight indicates that a vessel is crossing your path from left to right (port to starboard). The goal of safely navigating the water is to steer behind the other boat. A reliable port sidelight thus makes your boat and crew safer.
If your sailing yacht or motor boat is under 20 metres long, the starboard and port lights can be combined into a bi-colour light. This is then mounted on the centre line of the boat. On sailing boats that are not operated under motor, it is even allowed to combine the two side lights and the stern light in a three-coloured light, which is attached to the top of the mast.
In order to ensure safe navigation at all times, we recommend you check regularly to make sure all lights are working correctly. If you notice any damage to the housing or bulb, you should get it replaced as soon as possible. In our online shop you will find a large selection of spare bulbs for navigation lights, as well as replacement housings and lenses for navigation lights for your boats.
- Durability and resiliance from quality products -
Since navigation lights are part of the boat's exterior lighting, they are subject to legal regulations in order to avoid accidents in accordance with the collision prevention rules (in Germany, the KVR, for example). When buying suitable portside boat lighting, it is important that the product is labeled in accordance with national and international standards. EU compliance can be recognised by the steering wheel symbol and the so-called Notified Body Number. BSH approved navigation lights are marked with a model number.
Now you know the requirements, all that's left is to buy the right product for your boat! We can help you there. The SVB online shop is the place to find port side lights that conform with the guidelines for boat lighting. Our suppliers, such as AQUA SIGNAL or LOPOLIGHT are chosen by us for their high-quality products at fair prices. After all, durable, weatherproof and waterproof navigation lights are essential for your safety at sea. The conditions at sea, with the salty water, the constant risk of corrosion and rust are a real challenge for all port side navigation lights.
The manufacturer HELLA MARINE has added LED technology to their range of navigation lights, meaning not only do they design and make lights that are durable, they also feature more precise optics and increased efficiency compared to conventional bulbs. Due to exact light-dark boundaries, the LEDs considerably improve the visibility of the port light and light distribution.
If you know that the navigation lights on your boat are subject to certain legal regulations and approval criteria and you want to find out what is important to you, then take a look at our guide to navigation lights on sail and motorboats. In our online shop you will find a large selection of port sidelights, starboard lights, stern lights, anchor lights and masthead lights to equip your boat in full.
Reliable exterior boat lighting is an essential safety factor for navigating at night or in poor weather conditions. It is therefore essential for lights to be mounted safely and securely. Take a look at our SVB range of secure brackets and mounting bases for navigation lights.
Regularly check the functionality of your vessel's lighting at regular intervals to ensure safety at all times. If you notice a bulb is broken, you can purchase replacement bulbs for navigation lights from us. Our online shop also has replacement housings and spare lenses for navigation lights, should you need to replace damaged items there.
Graham L. on 02.12.2023
Natalia L. on 29.11.2023
Rui V. on 29.11.2023