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Old 10-03-2018, 09:41 AM   #1
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Default Stern light requirements

I was out at night with some friends last week. I have always been under the assumption that a white stern light was required while running at night. They both said that it was a common misconception and the stern light was only required while at anchor. Below are the CG regulations.

It's confusing when they talk about masthead lights v. sternlight. I'm still pretty sure you have to run a white light at night. What do you guys think?



Sidelights: These red and green lights are called sidelights (also called combination lights) because they are visible to another vessel approaching from the side or head-on. The red light indicates a vessel's port (left) side; the green indicates a vessel's starboard (right) side.

Sternlight: This white light is seen from behind or nearly behind the vessel.

Masthead Light: This white light shines forward and to both sides and is required on all power-driven vessels. A masthead light must be displayed by all vessels when under engine power. The absence of this light indicates a sailboat under sail.

All-Round White Light: On power-driven vessels less than 39.4 feet in length, this light may be used to combine a masthead light and sternlight into a single white light that can be seen by other vessels from any direction. This light serves as an anchor light when sidelights are extinguished.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:03 AM   #2
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I have never heard that, always ran a stern light.
On my bigger boats, I also had a separate anchor light.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:21 AM   #3
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The last paragraph states it clearly. Under 39.4 ft port stbd and a 360 white clearly visible 360 degrees.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:46 AM   #4
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The stern light is actually very helpful at night for establishing direction.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:24 AM   #5
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I got a ticket when I was fishing an afternoon bass tournament on Fish River in Baldwin County Alabama for not having my stern light on when I was coming in right at dark. The Officer said its has to be on 30 minutes after sunset and must be visible from 360 degrees. Cost me $279(OUCH). So I would have it on once it gets close to sunset.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:37 AM   #6
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Over 20m - sidelights, stern light and masthead
Under 20m - 360 white light & sidelights
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coastfishing View Post
I got a ticket when I was fishing an afternoon bass tournament on Fish River in Baldwin County Alabama for not having my stern light on when I was coming in right at dark. The Officer said its has to be on 30 minutes after sunset and must be visible from 360 degrees. Cost me $279(OUCH). So I would have it on once it gets close to sunset.
It's not just a before sunrise/after sunset deal. It's in low light conditions or in low visibility conditions.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coastfishing View Post
I got a ticket when I was fishing an afternoon bass tournament on Fish River in Baldwin County Alabama for not having my stern light on when I was coming in right at dark. The Officer said its has to be on 30 minutes after sunset and must be visible from 360 degrees. Cost me $279(OUCH).

Be glad that's all it cost you. A friend said he was in Ala on the intercoastal waterway coming in from night fishing. Said he had a 20" bar LED light mounted on the front of his boat, sorta like a headlight, so he could see better.
Said there was no other boats on the water (sometime after midnight) except for the
Ala game-warden that stopped him and gave him a $500+ fine for running that light.
Told him it could blind other boaters. Wow, no other boats, couldn't a warning have sufficed? Maybe the Fl registration played a role in it?
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Old 10-05-2018, 04:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CurDog View Post
Be glad that's all it cost you. A friend said he was in Ala on the intercoastal waterway coming in from night fishing. Said he had a 20" bar LED light mounted on the front of his boat, sorta like a headlight, so he could see better.
Said there was no other boats on the water (sometime after midnight) except for the
Ala game-warden that stopped him and gave him a $500+ fine for running that light.
Told him it could blind other boaters. Wow, no other boats, couldn't a warning have sufficed? Maybe the Fl registration played a role in it?
I live on the water in Gulf Breeze and was coming home one night after night fishing for bull reds with my two young sons. I had an led light bar mounted to the front of my T-top for the same reason, however I knew it was “illegal”. I use it for coming in my channel, intermittently and so-on. I was stopped while using it a little longer than intermittently. FWC officer noticed the children and we were all legal he gave me a non written warning and sent me on my way. I’ve since bought a new boat and will likely mount one to this top as well. When I’m fishing at night with children I like to be lit up like an oil rig! It’s also great for coming in my channel and checking the location of can buoys in the bay.
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Old 10-07-2018, 02:22 PM   #10
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Corpsman, your friends are wrong...and if the right boat outrun the from behind at night...they would be dead wrong. While a small boat MAY run a separate mast and sternlight, at minimum, they are required to run a 360 light, mounted centerline on the vessel or as close to centerline as possible( most outboard are off center) . I usually mount mine on the engine cowling.
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