Marine Navigation Lights

Probably the most important lights on a ship are its navigation lights. These lights allow for safe navigation of ships at night by preventing accidents. The navigational nautical lighting system is internationally recognized so everyone follows the same rules.

Purpose of Navigational Lighting

Navigating a ship at night requires extra care. It is vital that ships have the ability to see each other so they can avoid collision. To ensure this doesn’t happen international lighting regulations have been set up requiring ships to use very specific marine navigation lights on specific points of the ship. Use of these lights is required from sunset until sunrise, and during times of restricted visibility.

Marine Navigation Lights

Marine Navigation Lights

The marine navigational lighting rules were designed not only to help ships see each other at night but also to help indicate the size of ships seen, the angle at which they are seen and the direction they are traveling. All of this information works to help ships stay clear of each other during the dark hours of the night.

The specific regulations vary based on the size of the ship, the type of ship and how the ship is powered. For more information of the specifics of marine navigational lights visit: Navigation Rules

Image Credit: Maritime Safety Queensland Navigation Lights – Click above image to enlarge.

Types of Marine Navigation Lights

There are a few types of nautical navigation lights that are required on most ships:

  • Port Sidelight – The port sidelight is a red light that is located at the upper left side of the ship.
  • Starboard Sidelight – The starboard sidelight is a green light that is located at the upper right side of the ship.
  • Masthead Light – A masthead light or all-round light is required on the centerline of the ship. The requirements vary based on the size and type of ship.
  • Stern Light – A stern light is located at the back of the ship as close to the stern as is practical.

Using These Nautical Lights In Your Home

If you like authentic nautical decor you might want to try to find a couple of these ship navigation lights for home use. Salvaged ship lights can be rewired to work with the electrical system in your home, or some of the larger ones can simply be used as decoration.

If you are looking for outdoor nautical lighting these authentic ship lights are often a good option. Many maritime lights are made to withstand the elements so they are a perfect choice for outdoor lighting. If you are looking for colored nautical lights the green and red sidelights are a fun choice. Or a large masthead light can be used to illuminate your patio and provide distinction. Antiqued nautical lanterns in the port and starboard colors can also be a fun addition to your outdoor nautical decor.

Some of the smaller versions of these marine lights and lamps can be used for indoor nautical lighting. You can find smaller and lighter bulkhead lights with red or green globes that can be installed indoors; they can provide a unique ambiance at night with their colored globes.

Marine navigation lights are important for safety on the seas at night, but they can also be a fun addition to your home.