lites on my kayak

-- Last Updated: Jul-05-16 7:45 AM EST --

Morning all ..hey can anyone tell me how many lites i need on my kayak and wat color and where can i find one.jyou can email me at thanks

If you are just paddling during daylight

– Last Updated: Jul-05-16 8:39 AM EST –

You don't need any.
If you are paddling at night you must have a white light that can be seen from both the front and rear.
If you want good coverage you should have a white light in the stern and a red and green on the bow.

Green on the starboard and red on the port. This tells any boats coming at you which side to pass on.

You can get battery operated ones on stanchions and with suction cups. The bow one is on one stanchion with a split lens
We have the full coverage as I described since we have done night paddles where there could be heavy power boat traffic.

Jack L

Pennsylvania boating law

– Last Updated: Jul-05-16 10:18 AM EST –

" a white light either hand-held or installed ready to be displayed in time to avoid a collision."

"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."

Carry a white lantern or flashlight. Any other lights are illegal in Pennsylvania

agree, but…
I agree with what pirate said that a white light that can be turned on in time to avoid a collision is all you need, with the possible exception that a few localities have their own rules. Not common, so likely what is said above is right, but do check to see if your locality has their own requirement that takes precedent.

Not true in all states
Jack, here in PA kayaks and canoes are not supposed to post red and green lights. Those are reserved for powered craft and you are not to have anything on your paddle craft that could cause it to confuse others as to what kind of boat you are in. That includes colored lights, flashing lights or lights that outline the hull.

check with your home state’s regulations

– Last Updated: Jul-05-16 1:47 PM EST –

Usually you can find these by googling the name of your state and "boating regulations lighting". You also need to be aware of state requirements for launch permits or boat registration and rules for the use of PFD's (life jackets). Most states also require that you carry a whistle, and not any whistle, it has to be a "pea-less" whistle (without the little ball inside such as what metal sports whistles have). You can get these whistles at most sporting goods stores for a couple bucks. You should keep one tethered with parachute cord in the pocket of your PFD where you can quickly reach it.

It is important to know all these things. I was out paddling at one of our local state parks this past weekend and the rangers were ticketing kayakers and power boaters for failing to have the required annual stickers and equipment. In fact they made several people take their power boats out of the water and go home. I can't blame them -- a guy who was launching his pontoon boat while we were unloading our kayaks at the ramp had owned the boat for 3 years and never registered it (all he had was the 60 day temporary transfer form that had long expired). Plus he had only 2 PFD's though he had 5 family members in the boat and he also had none of the mandated safety equipment and was carrying a cooler full of beer, which (though not illegal) probably tipped the rangers towards being less than generous. They seemed to be letting kayakers off with warnings if they were just lacking an annual permit (which can be bought at the park office anyway) or whistle, but they are strict about the PFD's.

I should have read the OP’s profile.

I was thinking about the ocean and going in accordance with the USCG.

Why on earth would PA be against front red and green running lights? -doesn’t make much sense

Jack L

might confuse

– Last Updated: Jul-05-16 4:50 PM EST –

Actually, in reading the USCG code, it isn't clear if colored lights are allowed anywhere on paddle powered craft. Can't find the specifics, but I think a summary of the regs are:
- sailboats over x feet need colored lights
- sailboats under x feet can use colored, or can carry the white light
- paddle powered boats carry white light (no mention of the colored light option)

That said, I just checked and my state (Cali) does say lights as per sailboat or white light - But if it didn't say lights as per sailboat, then it would be white light only. Perhaps PA went this route?

My guess it is to avoid confusion. If another boat saw the red and green pattern, they may assume it is a boat that can move as a power boat or similar can, not at paddle-powered (read slow) speeds.

Full-time white light is good

– Last Updated: Jul-05-16 7:01 PM EST –

The idea of turning on a white light in time to prevent a collision sounds easier than it often is in real life. I find that if I'm moving at a good clip when there's even a little bit of chop on the water, the little bit of noise my boat is making will mask the sound of many of the quieter powerboats (a lot of powerboats are extremely quiet as heard from directly in front of them). In splashy conditions I've had powerboats get scary-close before I knew they were there (I'd say 150 yards). It's good to have a 360-degree light on all the time if other boats are around (I use two lights to achieve the 360-degree effect instead of putting one light on a tall pole, and I shield the side of each light that faces me so I'm not ever trying to look past a light into the darkness).

On many inland lakes, though, white lights are hell to put up with unless you don't mind being absolutely covered with millions of tiny flies. That's a good time to follow the law to the letter and only turn on lights as needed (or maybe it's a good time to wear a dust mask to keep from inhaling the little buggers).

Not just PA
And for reasons listed above. If red and green, it risks a power boat thinking a paddle boat can move as fast as they can. Lots of white light is less likely to give a wrong signal, and SOLAS tape with reflective rigging can be used to provide a sense of boat profile.

running lights
Red/green lights on kayaks are pretty much worthless 90% of the time, they are just too low to the water to be seen unless it’s dead calm and being so close to the water the other boat won’t see them even in flat calm very far away.

Bill H.

Light up if it’s busy or noisy
Second what GBG said. But, a lot depends on where you are. On a remote and quiet lake where there’s not much moving at night, I’d just carry a head lamp, which I wear around my neck. Turn it on and shine it at any boat that approaches. You’ll be fine.

I will also alternately shine the light on the deck of my boat so that the oncoming pilot can see there is something in the water. In an urban setting, there are so many lights around and reflecting off the water, that it might be hard to distinguish my little point of light from the background clutter. Again, this isn’t necessary on quiet, out-of-the-way lakes, where your light can be clearly distinguished.

I often paddle the Severn River at Annapolis. There, I put a white light on my back deck. The Severn is right under the flight path for BWI, so there is a lot of noise from aircraft. Additionally, there are highway bridges, and a lot of noise comes from traffic. I’m not so worried at any boat coming at me head on. I see them and turn on my light and shine it at the oncoming boat. But a boat from behind could be right on top of me and I might not hear it coming until it is right on top of me.


anchor light
In a kayak, if you are at anchor after sundown you need to have an all around white light that can be seen for at least 2 miles ( read that as uscg approved ). If you are not anchored, you need to have a flashlight or head lamp to warn boats but I personally like being seen at night so I use a 360 light at my stern.