All round white light
An all round white light is a white light displaying an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 360 degrees. This light should not be obstructed by any part of the vessel or person.
Minimum range of visibility: 2nm This light should not be obstructed by any part of the vessel or person.
A masthead light is a white light placed over the centreline (bow to stern) of a vessel, displaying an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 225 degrees. It is fixed to display from anywhere ahead to just behind the beam of the vessel.
Minimum range of visibility:
- vessels up to 12m long: 2nm
- vessels between 12 and 20m long: 3nm
Make sure sidelights are installed pointing out across the water. They should not point straight up or only forward.
The masthead and/or all round white light must be fitted (if practical) on the centreline (bow to stern) of the vessel. It must be mounted so that it's above any obstructions – such as the cabin or occupants – and so that it does not shine directly into the driver's eyes.
Lights to display at anchor
When at anchor, all vessels up to 50m long must display an all round white light in a place where it can best be seen.
When at anchor in a busy area, keep a proper lookout and display other lights – such as deck lights or cabin lights – to make sure you're seen.
Be aware that if your vessel displays sidelights when underway, you must switch those lights off when your vessel is at anchor.
Up to 12m long
Must have separate or combined sidelights with either:
- a masthead light and a sternlight
- an all round white light.
The masthead or all round white light must be a minimum of 1m above the sidelights.
Between 12m and 50m long
Must have a masthead light a minimum of 2.5m above the gunwale and either:
- separate sidelights and a sternlight
- combined sidelights and a sternlight.
Combined sidelights must be a minimum of 1m below the masthead light.
Up to 7m long
Must display sidelights and a sternlight, if possible.
If it’s not possible to attach lights to the vessel – for example, on a small dinghy – use your torch.
Shining your torch on your sails or deck can help other vessels see you, and could help prevent a collision.
Between 7m and 20m long
Must display either:
- a combined lantern (with sidelights and a sternlight) at or near the top of the mast
- separate sidelights and a sternlight.
Over 20m long
Must display sidelights and a sternlight.
Must not carry a combined lantern.
Sailing vessels using an engine must follow the same rules as powered vessels.
A sailing vessel of any length with sidelights and a sternlight (but not a combined lantern) may also carry 2 all round lights in a vertical line at or near the top of the mast. The upper light should be red and the lower light should be green.