Choosing the right Navigation Light
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"Look for the Mark"
How to choose the right navigation lights for your boat
All U.S. registered vessels are subject to either the ’72 COLREGS or the U.S. inland rules. Effective 11/1/03, lights must meet one of 3 types of certifications depending on the size of the vessel and the date it was manufactured.
Large Boats Over 20 Meters (65.6 ft.)
The U.S. Coast Guard is accepting lights that have passed the UL tests (A.B.Y.C. A-1104) as meeting the ’72 COLREGS and the U.S. Inland Rules for vessels over 20 meters (65.6 ft.). As the first domestic manufacturer to pass UL 1104, PERKO’s lights can be installed on vessels over 20 meters (65.6 ft.). PERKO manufactures two classes of lights for the large boat market. The first group of lights is for vessels between 20 meters and 50 meters. The second group includes larger lights and is for vessels over 20 meters (without an upper limit on length).
A brass tag is permanently affixed to the light indicating the type of light, catalog number, voltage and bulb type to install (if applicable) to meet the visibility requirements. It also states that the light is classified by UL or Imanna Labs. in accordance with the ’72 COLREGS. This is the only documentation needed by a vessel in this size range for navigation lights to certify light construction compliance with the ’72 COLREGS and the U.S. Inland Rules.
Small Boats Under 20 Meters (65.6 ft.)
U.S. requirements for smaller vessels are less strict and they differ depending on when the boat was built.
Small Boats Built After 11/1/03
The only recognized means of certification of lights for these boats is the USCG approval system. This system uses independent, 3rd party USCG approved labs to conduct some of the tests required for the A-16 certification. On all USCG approved lights, the permanent marking USCG 1nm, USCG 2nm, or USCG 3nm (depending on whether the light is a 1-mile, 2-mile, or 3-mile light) must be visible when the light is installed. Note that certifications may vary with voltage (e.g. USCG approved for 12-volt and A-16 certified for 24-volt).
Small Boats Built Before 11/1/03
Lights for these boats must be manufactured in accordance with the American Boat and Yacht Council (A.B.Y.C.) Standard A-16. The primary means of certification recognized in the United States for lights for these boats is through the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association (NMMA) certification procedure. USCG approved lights, as described below, are also approved for these applications. All PERKO small boat lights designed for use on boats built before 11/1/03 are certified under this NMMA Certification Procedure. All lights certified under this procedure are required to permanently carry the mark "A-16" visibly displayed when the light is installed.