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Published: 2011-06-08 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is reminding boaties that failure to display the right lights at night endangers their lives and those of other water users.

The warning comes with the arrival of winter, bringing with it shorter daylight hours and the increased likelihood of fog.

Council navigation safety manager Nicole Botherway said, “There have not been any serious injuries so far this winter season, but we have been made aware of some instances where vessels have not been seen until almost too late.

“If you’re out at night, you must show a light. Failure to do so risks the lives of those on board, as well as people on other vessels,” Mrs Botherway said.

“Lights must be switched on from sunset to sunrise and during times of poor visibility, such as in rain or fog.”

Mrs Botherway said the rules applied to all of the region’s waterways, including rivers and lakes.

It’s illegal to use a vessel at night without the correct lights shining and skippers risk being issued an instant $200 fine for failing to adhere to the rules.

Maritime collision prevention rules state that:

  • A power driven vessel over 12 metres but less than 50 metres in length must display red and green side lights, a white stern light and a white masthead light. 
  • A power driven vessel less than 12 metres in length may combine its stern and masthead lights to one all round white light, side lights must also be displayed. 
  • A power driven vessel less than 7 metres in length and with a maximum speed of 7 knots may exhibit an all round white light.

For full details of the rules, please read the council’s navigation safety information, www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/navigation