Enjoying an evening under the stars on a boat is a peaceful and relaxing endeavor. However, it’s important to remember that even if you’re at a full stop and have dropped anchor, you’re still engaged in nighttime boating that requires extra care and caution.
Your vision will be very limited and you won’t be able to see as clearly at night. That means you need to slow down. No matter how vigilant you are, it’s always a good idea to have a second person share in the lookout duties with you.
Winds, currents, the ebb and flow of tides, and the presence of other vessels will affect your position, even when you’re anchored. Storms are always a consideration. Even if you’re not on watch, as the vessel’s captain it’s your responsibility to check the anchor and chains regularly along with your positioning.
Look and Listen
While keeping watch, look for red and green lights that indicate another vessel is nearby. They’re located on the sides of watercraft, enabling other boaters to see them if approached from the side. Red lights are located on the port side (left) and red lights on the starboard side (right). Sometimes a vessel can be heard before its seen, so keep an ear tuned to the surrounding waters. Always keep the lights of your own vessel on.
Vessels have navigation tools for a reason. Trust them and you’ll be able to safely navigate any waters. They provide the direction, speed and other data that will allow you to arrive safely back in port. Check your instrumentation regularly. You could easily find yourself in waters outside those for which your vessel is registered.
Headlights and Spotlights
The effect of your headlights and spotlights on other boaters is even more intense than when meeting someone on a road that won’t dim their headlights. Don’t use headlights or spotlights unless absolutely necessary.
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