Author: Boat Accessories Australia Date Posted: 23 November 2022
When it comes to boat navigation lights, it’s every owner’s responsibility to make sure their boat complies. If your boat is out on the water between sunset and sunrise, you need lights. Even during low light conditions during the day, you may need lights. Whether you are anchored or underway, having the right lights onboard helps keep you, your passengers and other water users safe.
Navigational lights tell other skippers what your boat is doing – anchored, motoring, or under sail - so they can predict your movement and anticipate the potential danger of a collision.
Follow these navigation lights guides to understand the requirements for both private and commercial power boats, for all states and territories within Australia.
|Up to 12m
|12m - 20m
Vessels up to 7m long with maximum speed of 7 knots must have:
Vessels from 7m to 12m long, or if the vessel can travel at a speed faster than 7 knots, must have:
*The masthead or all-round white light must be a minimum of 1m above the sidelights.
Vessels from 12m to 20m must have:
*The masthead light must be a minimum of 2.5m above the gunwale. Combined sidelights must be a minimum of 1m below the masthead light.
The common rule of thumb for all vessels up to 50m long, is that when at anchor, must display an all-round white light in a place where it is best 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 in clear sight.
Exceptions to these rules are different for the following states and territories:
WA & VIC: Vessels under 7m are exempt from showing an all-round white light, unless anchored in a narrow channel or anchorage, or where other vessels usually navigate.
SA: Vessels under 7m or when anchored inside a special anchorage, are exempt from showing an all-round white light, unless anchored in a narrow channel or anchorage, or where other vessels usually navigate.
NT: Vessels under 12m may substitute the all-round white light for masthead and stern lights.
QLD: All boats at anchor or attached to a registered buoy mooring must show an all-round white light.
Boats operating by sail or rowing may be required to show different lights to those motoring.
For more information, click on the links below to view the relevant state or territories safety requirements for navigation lights:
Salt and time are natural enemies of all boat parts and navigation lights are no exception. Burnt-out globes, broken wires and blocked or smashed lights occur regularly.
It’s essential to maintain your lights to comply with the current rules and look after your own safety.
If it’s time to upgrade or replace your navigation lighting, we have made it easier by sorting our navigation lights into the following categories:
If you have any queries about navigation lights for your boat, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Boat Accessories Australia on 1300 308 161 or contact us online.
Correction to posted information.By: John Softley on 27 October 2022Please post correct information, the information regarding lights for Anchored vessels in South Australia does not match what is on the linked SA website, there is no mention of needing lights when on a registered buoy mooring in SA, unlike Queensland which does require and Anchor light when on a registered buoy mooring.
It looks like a copy and paste from QLD to SA including the bad grammar.
Boat Accessories Australia Response
Thank you for your comment on this blog, we have now updated it with the correct information and included the exceptions for specific states where required.