Lights (O.C.G.A. § 52-7-11)

(a) Categories. Requirements for lights on vessels operated within this state fall into two categories: regulations for vessels using inland waters (waters of this state) and regulations for vessels using international waters (coastal waters). Vessels equipped to meet international waters requirements may operate on any waters; however, vessels equipped to meet inland waters requirements are restricted to inland waters.

(b) Inland waters (waters within the state) requirements.

(1) All nonmotorized vessels being operated during hours of darkness or low visibility shall have ready at hand a white light which shall be displayed in time to prevent collision.

(2) All motorized Class A and Class 1 vessels being operated during hours of darkness or low visibility shall display a 32 point white stern light visible for a distance of two miles, plus a 20 point combination red and green light on the bow, visible for a distance of one mile and displayed lower than the white stern light.

(3) All motorized Class 2 and 3 vessels being operated during hours of darkness or low visibility shall display a 20 point white light on the bow visible for a distance of two miles, plus a 32 point white light on the stern fixed higher than the white light forward and visible for a distance of two miles, plus separate ten-point red and green side lights fitted with inboard screens to keep the lights from showing across the bow and visible for a distance of one mile.

(4) Class A and Class 1 vessels equipped with sail only or sail and motor, when under sail only while being operated during hours of darkness or low visibility, shall display a 20 point combination red and green light on the bow visible for a distance of one mile, plus a 12 point white stern light visible for a distance of two miles.

(5) Class 2 and Class 3 vessels equipped with sail only or sail and motor, when under sail only while being operated during the hours of darkness or low visibility, shall display separate ten-point red and green side lights, properly screened and visible for a distance of at least one mile, plus a 12 point white stern light visible for a distance of at least two miles.

(6) When any vessel is being powered by sail and motor both, that vessel shall carry the same lights as those required for power alone.

(c) International waters (coastal) requirements.

(1) All motorized Class A, Class 1, and Class 2 vessels being operated during the hours of darkness or low visibility shall display either a 20 point combination red and green light on the bow, or else ten-point red and green side lights properly screened and visible for a distance of at least one mile, plus a 20 point white light displayed in the fore part of the vessel and visible for a distance of three miles displayed three feet above the combination or side lights, plus a 12 point white stern light visible for a distance of at least two miles.

(2) All motorized Class 3 vessels being operated during the hours of darkness or low visibility shall display either a 20 point combination red and green light on the bow or else ten-point red and green side lights properly screened and visible for a distance of one mile, plus a 20 point white light in the fore part of the vessel displayed nine feet above the gunwales and three feet higher than the colored lights and visible for a distance of three miles, plus a 12 point white stern light visible for at least two miles.

(3) All Class A, Class 1, and Class 2 vessels equipped with sail and motor being operated under power during hours of darkness or low visibility shall display either a 20 point combination red and green light on the bow or else ten-point red and green side lights properly screened and visible for one mile, plus a 20 point white light in the fore part of the vessel at least three feet higher than the colored lights and visible for a distance of three miles, plus a 12 point white stern light visible for a distance of two miles.

(4) All Class 3 vessels equipped with sail and motor being operated under power during hours of darkness or low visibility shall display either a 20 point combination red and green light on the bow or else ten-point red and green side lights properly screened and visible for a distance of two miles, plus a 20 point white light in the fore part of the vessel at least nine feet above the gunwale and three feet higher than the colored lights and visible for a distance of two miles, plus a 12 point white stern light visible for a distance of two miles.

(5) All sailboats of Class A, Class 1, and Class 2 being operated under sail only during the hours of darkness or low visibility shall display a 20 point combination red and green bow light visible for a distance of one mile, or ten-point red and green side lights properly screened and visible for a distance of one mile, plus a 12 point white stern light visible for a distance of two miles.

(6) All sailboats of Class 3, being operated under sail only during the hours of darkness or low visibility shall display a 20 point combination red and green bow light visible for a distance of one mile, or ten-point red and green side lights properly screened and visible for a distance of one mile, plus a 12 point white stern light visible for a distance of two miles.

(7) Sailing vessels may carry on top of the foremast two 20 point lights in a vertical line one over the other and separated so as to be clearly distinguished. The upper light shall be red and the lower light green.

(d) Vessels at anchor. All vessels at anchor, except those anchored or moored within marinas or other designated anchorages, shall display a 32 point white stern light during hours of darkness or low visibility.

(e) Other lights. During the hours of darkness or low visibility, no other lights which may be mistaken for those prescribed shall be exhibited.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1977, p. 1182, § 7; Ga. L. 1995, p. 10, § 52.