USCG visual requirements

Regarding USCG VDS and navigation lights regulations…

For VDS, what do you use and where do you keep it? Attached to PFD? Mounted to deck? I’ve been looking for something suitable but not really sure I’m finding the right thing.

For the “white light” requirement for a vessel under oars at night, same question. For instance, does my simple headlamp count? Or must it be visible from all directions (which would make more sense)?

Thanks in advance…

I have ones with suction cups
One for the bow that has the red and green and one for the stern that is white.

I also keep them tethered but they have never come loose.

they are battery operated

jack L

White lights - 360 degree visible
When asked for specifics, most entities will want a white light to be visible for 360 degrees. So the suction cup deck mounted ones come closer. More lights never hurt if you want one on your head, though some colors of light attract mosquitos. A light that you can mount a couple or so feet away from you is not always a bad idea.


– Last Updated: Apr-14-14 1:35 PM EST –

The requirements of your state may vary from the USGS and you will most likely need to comply with the more restrictive requirements of the two.

With regard to USGS requirements, as a kayaker you are not required to carry a daytime VDS. You are required to have a nightime VDS. The only white light requirement is that you have a light which you can activate when needed to prevent a collision. There is no USGS requirement that a vessel under oars have any constantly shown lights at night.

What might be a good idea depends upon many factors and your state may have specific requirements for nighttime lights that apply to kayaks.