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Boaters in NSW reminded to light up during darkest days

by Emily Rundle 17 Jul 2019 22:55 UTC
Boating with lights at night and lifejackets © Emily Rundle

Recreational boaters across NSW are being reminded to use navigation lights on their vessels.

NSW Maritime Executive Director, Mark Hutchings said with shorter days and colder water during winter, it is a timely reminder of the importance of displaying correct navigation lights when boating at night.

"NSW Maritime's Boating Safety Officers (BSOs) conduct early morning and night patrols to ensure vessels are displaying the correct lights," Mr Hutchings said.

"Using navigation lights helps boaters stay safe so they can avoid hazards and exercise good judgement, and reminds boaters to keep a proper lookout when visibility becomes limited or reduced.

"Navigation lights also help boats be seen at night by other boaters, which is important in avoiding collisions.

Mr Hutchings said the most common offence involves vessels not displaying an all-round white light correctly.

"The height of the light is often positioned too low and its visibility is restricted by parts of the boat," Mr Hutchings said.

"Boaters are required by law to display navigation lights, and the required number and combination of lights varies on the size and type of the craft.

"When night falls, the water becomes a completely different environment. Every vessel on the water, from kayaks to sailboats to superyachts, needs lights in order to be seen.

"Vessel lights should be mounted in a position that gives the skipper optimum night vision and allows others to see the vessel from every direction.

"Navigation lights should also be installed correctly so they are not obscured by the vessel's structure or mistaken for deck lights."

Non-compliance with navigation lighting in NSW carries a penalty of $250 or a court-imposed maximum penalty of $5500.

Raising awareness and encouraging boaters to fit and use the required lights is in line with the Keeping a Proper Lookout priority action.

This is one of the objectives from the Maritime Safety Plan 2017-2021 to reduce serious boating injuries and fatalities by 30 per cent by 2021 and towards zero by 2056.

For more information visit and

Download the Maritime Safety Plan at

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