Navigation Lights

Does anyone know how to rig (what to buy or make) a Scot for after sunset crusing? I bought a set of nav lights with u-clamp attachments but found that the underside of the gunnel will accept this screw type of clamp. I checked with the local Conservation Police and they said I had to have both bow red/green lights and a stern light elevated 2 to 3 feet. I got my 2001 boat last fall and it came with a suction cup all around white light, but it is only 7 inches tall. Some of our sailing/racing club goes on overnighters and I would like to at least be there for appetizers/sipping and then cruise back to the dock after sunset or into the setting sun. BTW, the last two races we got 1st and 2nd (4 seconds out of 1st), so the ole Scot is mighty fast in all winds.
Appreciate the help,

Sorry my wording was not accurate. Correct---the underside will NOT accept the clamps due to the boat curved nature. Also I got these clamps at Dicks Sporting Goods for about $15 each...pretty cheap.

fs5138's picture

West Marine sells bow and stern lights with suction cups. I've bought several sets for our club members. Get the one's that float. We have midnight sails regularly at our club, usually of the scotch cup variety. There is nothing like lake sailing on Deep Creek Lake after the sun goes down. The shore thermals disappear and all of the shifts from the days races are gone.

We also take a big spotlight with us as well.

Bob Vance

Bob, thanks. I checked these lites in West Marine by Aqua Signal as well as Innovative Lighting (looks like same item by diff name) at Wholesale Marine but the "stern" light in suction cup or small molded mount still is only about 7 inches height. Maybe I could mount the suction cup on top of my Honda motor housing, but that's not good if I am sailing with motor out of water...scratch that.

And the "stern" model with 18" pole still supplies only the c-clamp method....I will call this vendor and discuss the height aspect. Actually the molded mount (glued/screwed??) looks better than suction cup for keeping the light in place when underway and I read one review where a guy said the unit is top heavy and topples over with suction cup. I better do a little more research.

I believe a single low white light is OK for a canoe or kayak, but not for a 19 ft sailboat.


I'm trying to picture a 2-3 ft. shaft on the stern and how that doesn't get fouled up with the mainsheet.

Unless the rules have changed, your local conservation police are incorrect. Sailboats under 23 feet are not required to carry red or green lights. If sailing, you are requied to have a white light that you can show to avoid collision (and, I believe, it doesn't have to be set anywhere or even shown all of the time - just available). If the sailboat is under power, then you have to have a white light that is shown 360 (there is no height rule). However, the white light cannot be seen 360 because of the mast. So, for motoring, you can often accomplish the white light by hoisting the light on a stick above the top of the mast.

Of course, you should carry the red, green, & white lights if you can for safety. I am not advocating that you don't carry them. Using the suction cup options is what we use to use. But you are not required and the police should not be able to write you a ticket for not having them (except the white light).

Of course, it would be nice to have the Regulations with you in case you get pulled over some night.

What Steve [transom] says is correct, according to Federal regulations. You only need the white light. I remember a suggestion to Shine a flashlight on the sail.

However, is you are under power, you need to have what your Conservation police say.

FSSA Forum editor

I have used the flashlight battery D powered bow and stern light. The bow light has the suction cup and although it has never come off I always have a small lanyard. The stern light has a C clamp that I clamp to the rudder head and angle backward. I have not had any tangling problem. I Used the aluminum type tape made for duct insulation to make sure a reflector that blocks any light from shining into the cockpit. Good luck Gabor

Check what your state regs are as they may require more than the federal regs. In Ohio we are required to have a bow light (red/green) and a white transom light.


Hello Gabor,
I have a question on your stern nav light message.
When you said, "I used the aluminum tape to make a reflector that blocks any light from shining into the cockpit"....
I guess this was for being under sail. But did you ever motor with sails down when the white light should then be 360 deg in which case the aluminum tape would block the forward part of the 360. Guess you meant under sail?

I did not realize that when motoring you are supposed to have a 360 degree white light. What a shame! The 360 degree white light destroys the night vision and with proper bow lights I do not really see the need for 360 degrees. In any case the aluminum tape is easy to peel off. Gabor

On the 360 deg white light subject--when I owned cruiser keel boats, they came with a stern light which was light your aluminum tape mod but then they also had a light on the front of the mast which when added to the angle of the stern light gave a total of 360 deg. So the "nav lights" switch was for the bow and stern lights. Another switch was called "masthead light" which was that light on the mast. So when motoring you must have a 360 deg white light so satisfy the federal right of way nav rules because the Scot sailboat is by law then a motor boat. On my cruiser, for sure when just a small amount of light came thru the light housing into the cockpit, it blinded I taped over the like leak areas.

Check your local laws.

For sailing you need a red/greed light in the front and a white light in the back if doing so is "practical". There is nothing about minimum height for installing these lights. Also you could argue that mounting lights isn't practical and show a flashlight instead.

Once you put a motor on the boat it becomes more restrictive.

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA

I also want to add lights to enjoy some summer nights on the lake. I have found some led marker lights by Tektite. These lights are used by kayakers. They look like they might be better than the Aqua Signal and other flashlight types. Anyone have any experience with the Tektite leds??

Tim, Therapy #4769

I use a West Marine LED red & green marine lights powered by 2 D flashlight batteries when sailing @ nite . The unit has a suction cup @ the bottom . The unit is secured up against the front of the mast with suction @ bottom (lights are facing the bow) & with a piece of shock cord around the unit & mast . I use a flashlite for the mainsail .
FOR SAFETY: carry extra flashlights & batteries in case needed. When sailing @ nite always have a hand held vhs to monitor the channel other boats are on or to call for assistance if necessary . Before leaving check the wind direction , tide & tell someone when to expect you back. Sailing @ nite on the ocean has its own set of additional safety concerns... In Brooklyn we are constantly monitoring where the other boats are (especially power boats ). Know the local Marine Channel markers. Special attention should be given to see commercial vessels , tug boats & fast returning boats to the harbour . When I sail I always give wide berth to other boats & the right of way . Nite sailing in the summer offers light breezes, beautiful moons & sunsets .... Be safe & enjoy ! Bill