Why Is Marine Navigation Lighting Important?

Lighting is a crucial element in all modes of transportation because it enhances sight that makes navigation easier. Marine vehicles like ships need a reliable lighting system to prevent accidents in the sea, leading to loss of lives and damage of goods.

The International Maritime Conference developed specific lighting guidelines to help curb marine accidents. Afterwards, other countries globally began to adopt a particular set of rules, for example, what colors of light would be best for marine navigation lighting.

Marine navigation lighting patterns

Red, green, and white are the three colors that makeup lighting in a marine vessel. Specific marine lighting guidelines recommend that the colors follow a particular pattern: Green and red represent the sidelights.

When a viewer is facing the bow, green is on the right and red on the left. They each create an angle of 112.5 degrees with the ship combined, adding up to 225 degrees. White light is usually in the back, creating an arc of 135 degrees. Moreover, this color makes up the night lights in the mast of the ship.

How do marine navigation lights indicate position and orientation?

Another crucial part of marine lighting is appreciating ‘Aspect,’ which is how a vessel perceives the light of another. Meaning a ship’s lighting system not only provides information concerning its status, but the people on board can use its lighting information to understand the vicinity of other vessels and for the captain to take necessary action.

It is an essential requirement that all vessels under 12 meters have all light colors on, that is, the red and green sidelights together with the white masthead lights, which should be at least one meter above the sidelights. 

What are the different visibility ranges for marine vessels?

The factors that determine the visibility of a ship are its length and its distance from an approaching boat. A giant boat needs lights with an extended visibility range so that it is easy for another vessel that is approaching from the opposite direction to see it. One can understand the practicality of marine navigation lights through a head-on situation.

Once a captain observes a light signal, each ship should change its direction to pass on each other’s sides safely. This rule is part of navigation guidelines. For this reason, every person in charge of a marine vessel’s navigation should thoroughly appreciate the importance of lighting and study the different applications and procedures that will promote safety.

Problems facing marine navigation lighting

You should thoroughly assess your vessel and make necessary adjustments setting off on a journey. Some of the problems that most people observe with regards to marine lights include:

  • Exterior lights replacements: Since the lights are on the outside, they are easily susceptible to damage. For example, those that lower on the ship usually get sprayed by water which can cause a corrosive effect in the long run, thus requiring replacements.
  • Interior light bulb filaments can burn out, requiring replacement.
  • Underwater lights may fail, primarily when the vessel uses older lighting models that are less efficient than newer LED lights with improved features.
  • Older models of navigation lights are constantly, and thus, they tend to draw more power and do not last as long.

Why are LED lighting systems critical in marine navigation?

The demanding nature of marine navigation creates lighting systems that can endure conditions such as significant temperature variations. LED lights are more efficient than traditional lighting models because they reduce heat output while producing a range of light options like color temperatures, such as cool, warm, or neutral, depending on the user’s preference.

Moreover, with LED lighting systems, you get the option of having multiple colors from one fixture. A user with halogen or incandescent lights will need to have colored lenses that will help create different colors. LEDs can change colors, which is handy for a marine vessel that operates with three different-colored lights.

LED systems like Phoenix navigation lights are sophisticated and an affordable option for marine vessels to adopt. Moreover, there are many other features to enjoy, such as white tuning and full color-changing capabilities. As a boat owner, you can touch on a screen to switch to your preferred lighting option.

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