Lighting for Kayaks

Water resistance no threat of me buying it now. :laughing:

After reading the first 20 responses, which were informative, I would go about this somewhat differently.
I would want a 360 degree white light mounted on my hat or a head harness. That is the highest position on a kayak when paddling and thus the easiest for others to see, and it is the highest mounting if the user should make a wet exit. It also keeps the light out of the user’s eyes. A chinstrap on the hat or a tether from the headstrap to the PFD should help assure that is is always with the paddler.
NaviSAFE makes a Navilight that seems to fit the bill, advertising two-mile visibility and 15 hour run time (85 hrs in strobe mode) with 3 AAA batteries. It costs $70. Some of the graphics on the manufacturer’s website appear to show head-mounting, but I couldn’t find details about how that is done. I don’t paddle at night, but perhaps someone who does could give this product a try and report on it. A quick search of Amazon did not reveal similar lights made by other companies.

Here you go:


I keep a whistle handy too, but have only used it once in an attempt to avoid a collision. A powerboat cranked up and steered straight for me. My little lights were on. I sped up, and it changed its angle towards me. Realizing there wasn’t anything I could do about this boat running me over if it wanted to, I blew some bursts into my whistle. Someone yelled “We see you!” They rushed right up to me to ask if I had a fishing license and to check for fish.
I’m typically the last person to get excited when a powerboat is coming my way. This one had my heart rate up. I imagine charging towards people to catch them off guard while still in possession of evidence was part of their gig.
It was nice to know the whistle was heard above their engine roar.

I want that hat!

It’d be fun to wire it up with a light. Bonus points if the light rotates.

Used two they don’t last long. But hey 35 busks a year it’s worth it. Die-electric on the contacts helps. I take care of all my equipment.

How did you mount the Navilight on your hat or headharness?

Comes with magnetic disc you put inside your hat.

This is one of my favorites. I only use white. It’s cheap, simple & reliable.
I have two on my PFD shoulder straps. One in constant on, the other in strobe mode. I like that they’re so small and light. It can have a strap threaded through the frame or use the included clip which is quite secure. You could even cut a slit in top of a hat and clip it in.
But understand it is NOT coast guard approved. So I don’t use it as a “nav” light. I consider it a back-up light if my primary fails, or an emergency locator strobe.

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Good find. I just ordered one from Amazon. Thanks!
You might want to edit your posting because the link in your message is barely visible–at least to my eyes.
Note: Amazon deprecates this vendor. After using Troy’s link to order it, I twice searched the two words, eGear light, and could not find it on 7 pages of other lights. Then I searched with quotation marks around the one word eGear and it was near the top of the first page.

Be aware that a strobe is considered a distress signal on inland waters and on some coastal waters as well. It can also be confused for a navigation marker.

I didn’t think a strobe should be left on unless it’s an emergency?

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I was going to let that one go but yes, strobe is an emergency signal. If you have a boater who actually understands what it means you could find a rather large boat coming at you fast.

There seems to be a fashion for paddle craft to adopt motor boat signals. I see people get away with this inland granted.

But as someone who actually got a Junior License to operate a motor boat (adults did not need one in my state at the time), l fundamentally disagree. They are they and paddlers are not.

Get a motorcycle battery and an led flood or spotlight.

This may sound silly, but how about just following the coast guard approved lighting.
The reason we have a set of regulations is so everyone follows the same rules.
I have a sailboat and navigation at night is hard enough without trying to decipher some strange lighting on the water.
Imagine driving at night with a few cars using totally different lights then the rest of the cars.


I’m with JohnFH and Celia — there are maritime standards for lighting for many good reasons. The biggest safety one is that in low light situations another approaching craft needs to have some reasonable sense of what kind of boat you are so they can judge where your direction and speed might place you in their own path. Being mistaken for a faster craft under mechanical power or larger than you actually are can lead to uncomfortable or even dangerous close calls.

I found some kayak lights on Amazon now I had to do some altering but this is what I have … depending on the location your in it may require more but I’m from TN and they only require one white light so did modified that too … picture of my yaks

Hate to have to tell you this, but your state specifically prohibits the use of those lights on watercraft. They not only require a white light on kayaks but that is all that they permit to be used so you are in violation. I’ve attached a link below to the actual Tennessee regulation.

Any lights that interfere with the prescribed types and placement of maritime safety lights are not allowed by their regulations. Blue lights are reserved for law enforcement, yellow is for stern ID on barges and red and green are for side markers for larger boats.

Most states only allow white lighting for canoes and kayaks for good reasons. It’s important to standardize this per Coast Guard regulations so that other boaters know what is out on the water with them in low light conditions. Sorry you put so much effort into this, but you should not take these out on the water, other than a private pond with no other boats.


If paddling in a group, the last thing an approaching boat needs to see is a confusing sea of red, green, and white lights. A kayak is essentially a nearly fixed object to a power boat. All that’s needed is a steady white light while maintaining your course and speed.

If it’s confused with an anchor light, that’s fine. As far as most power boats, that’s what you are, a boat at anchor, maybe slowly dragging.