lites for kayak

Hey all…can anyone tell me where i can get running lites for front red green combo and white lite for back battery operated…and how do they stay on…thank you

not legal

– Last Updated: Jul-20-16 10:40 AM EST –

The state of Pennsylvania forbids the use of red and green lights on kayaks and canoes. They also discourage "running lights" on a kayak. This is because they do not want a human powered boat to look like a powered boat in the dark which would give other operators the false impression that the boat is under power and can get out of their way. I know these regulations because I live and kayak here.

You are required to use a static white light. There are lots of waterproof lights -- the REi stores in Pittsburgh have many choices but any sporting goods store will have a variety of LED flashlights, headlamps and clip on lights. When I paddle after dark I use an LED headlamp with a bright LED light clipped to the back of the boat as well.

If you are anchored in the boat you are required to have a white light that is visible 360 degrees in all directions, but not when you are moving. These can be bought that have a suction cup to attach to your deck.

Other lights can be attached with clips or velcro ties to your deck rigging (the non-stretch nylon lines across the deck). In fact you can even use those bright $2 multi-LED oval flashlights from Harbor Freight tools if you pop them into a clear plastic waterproof box like they sell for $5 at Dunhams and Dicks.

Also, you are not allowed to use a flashing light unless you are signalling that you are in distress and need assistance.

Here is the link to the PA Fish and Game commission boating regulations. The rules for kayaks are at the very end:

The rangers will check if you have a whistle on you and you can get fined if you don't have one. Though the regulations say a coaches' whistle is sufficient, those don't work well when wet so get one of the flat orange plastic "pea-less" whistles and clip it with a short piece of cord to your PFD (another good reason to ALWAYS wear your PFD.)

that combo is not legal on a kayak
there have been many threads on what is.

I used to think the same…
Until I talked to the US Coast Guard in Tucson and the Arizona Game & Fish which has jurisdiction over paddlecraft in Az.

The local USCG is more than willing to talk to you about this and give you good and legal advice.

Then you go to whomever has legal authority over paddlecraft in your state.

In Arizona the USCG defers to Az Game & Fish which follows USCG rules. They work together well here.

Which means that in Az, powercraft must give way to paddlecraft (HA!!!) but at night paddlecraft and sail-only sailing craft only need to carry a flashlight to illuminate themselves when approached by a powerboat.

Also Az G&F no longer require paddlecraft to be registered and most states that do will let you go if you show them an Az DL to prove that you are only a visitor so follow Az laws.

It is complicvated but any local Kayak club should do a yearly meeting with the USCH and Az F&G rep to cover the current laws. Both F&G and CG will be happy to send someone out to the club for free.

FYI, pretty much every DIY lighting system people design (aka Youtube) are illegal by USCG and Az G&F regs.

Careful with information
There is nothing in the USCG Rules / Colregs International or Inland

Rules that says other vessels must give way to kayaks or human

powered craft. They are simply a vessel and depending on position relative to another vessel they will be either the stand on or give way


Some State waters (lakes, reservoirs, etc) may have their own rules that are different and modify the USCG Rules. They may indeed give paddlers stand on status and I suspect that to be the case with the above post.

The danger with such a post is that folk may not understand the whole picture and assume they have stand on priveledge in places like the San Juans, coastal waters etc.

The Colregs can be confusing and when in doubt its best to give way and be conservative. The USCG Rules / Colregs demand mariners take whatever action necessary to Avoid a collision.

Safe paddles.

Night lights
Regulations in Canada are the same, coast to coast. What you need depends upon the vessel and its length. For kayaks, (and similar vessels) there is an easy answer attached to the regulations:

“*If everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket or a PFD of appropriate size, you are only required to carry

. 1) a sound-signalling device; and

. 2) a watertight flashlight if the boat is used after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility.”

Law of gross tonnage
Good expression of common sense.

"Might has Right"
Excellent post.

We call it:

Might has Right!

Or, to put it really really simple:

If you are small, keep out of every bodies way.