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PA Boating Handbook
CHAPTER 2 - LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
Night Operation & Lights
NIGHT OPERATION AND LIGHTS

All vessels must show required running lights between the hours of sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility, such as fog and heavy rain. A sailboat operating under power and sail must display the proper running lights for a powerboat. Navigation lights are restricted to the colors red, green and white. No lights of any type except for the required navigation lights may be displayed. Navigation lights are designed to identify the type of boat and its situation (underway, direction of travel, at anchor, etc.) on the water. Boats underway include drifting boats. Night boaters should carry spare bulbs, fuses, batteries and a flashlight.

The navigation lights required for boats are determined by the boat’s length and whether it is powered by machinery, sail, paddles or oars.

DOCKING LIGHTS: It is illegal to use docking lights, while underway, except when docking and the boat is traveling at slow, no wake speed and is within 100 feet of approaching a dock, a mooring buoy or the shoreline. A docking light is a flood or spotlight type of light permanently installed or permanently mounted on a motorboat that is used to illuminate a boat’s forward course of travel.
Navigation lights
The charts on this page show which lights are required.

Conversions:

7 meters = 23'
12 meters = 39’4"
20 meters = 65’6"
< = less than

Type of Boat Length Figure
Powerboat < 12 meters 1, 2 or 3
Powerboat 12 - 20 meters 1 or 2
Powerboat on Lake Erie 12 - 20 meters 1, 2 or 7D
Sailboat (sail only) < 20 meters 4 or 5
Sailboat (sail only) Any 4, 5 or 6
Sailboat (sail only) < 7 meters 7B -- This is a white light either hand-held or installed ready to be displayed in time to avoid a collision.
Manually powered Any 7A -- This is a white light either hand-held or installed ready to be displayed in time to avoid a collision.
Anchored Any 7C -- This is an all-round white light visible for at least 2 miles and displayed where it can best be seen. An anchor light is not required, but highly recommended, when anchored in a special anchorage area.
77TH MERIDIAN TIME
SUNRISE AND SUNSET AT HARRISBURG
EASTERN STANDARD TIME and EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME (EDT) when in effect.
77th Meridian Time
Meridian Map - 77th Meridian Time
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