Operation Lights On – Improving safety on the water

NSW Transport Roads and Maritime services
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Roads and Maritime Services NSW are conducting a safety campaign on vessel navigation lights over the Easter long weekend.

Maritime Director Tony Middleton said the campaign – Operation Lights On – aimed to improve safety on the water by ensuring boaters were aware of night lighting requirements on vessels.

'Maritime Boating Safety Officers will conduct random checks of lighting on vessels – powered, sail and paddle craft – from Good Friday up to and including Easter Monday,' Mr Middleton said.

Mr Middleton said when night falls it is a completely different world on the water and while cars have headlights to light up the way ahead, vessels use a system of lights to show others their location and direction.

'Vessels that operate from sunset to sunrise, whether at anchor or underway, must carry and exhibit the correct lights,' he said. 'When fog, glare, smoke or darkness restrict your visibility, you must slow down to keep a safe speed.'

'A safe speed is one at which you can stop and avoid a collision, while taking into account the circumstances and conditions at the time.'

'You wouldn’t drive on a dark road without headlights. The same applies to dark waterways - be bright.'

Mr Middleton said every type of craft – dependent on vessel size and class – needs lights in order to be visible at night.

'If you anchor at night, you need to display an ‘all round white light’ where it can be seen. You should go slowly and look and listen at all times for unlit hazards such as logs, moored boats and sand banks,' he said.

Navigation lights should be positioned so they are not obscured by the vessel’s superstructure or interfered with by the deck lights. The masthead or all round white light must be fitted, if practical, on the centre line – bow to stern – of the vessel.

Lifejacket legislation compliance as well as ensuring vessels are navigating on the correct side of the channel – the right side – will also be monitored by BSO during the campaign.

For more information on night navigation lighting, click here.

For more information on lifejacket requirements, click here.

Maritime NSW website