Water Police crack down on boat lights

October 27, 2022 9:39 am in by

There has been an increase in boats not displaying the correct lights when out at night, according to Gladstone Water Police.

It comes as more boats begin to head out after dark, as we get closer to summer.

A Gladstone Water Police spokesperson says a common misconception is the incorrect use of what is commonly referred to as an ‘anchor light’.

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“With only a few exceptions, most recreational powerboats or personal watercraft on the water at night must display an all-round white light whether they are underway or at anchor,” they said in a statement.

“Too often Water Police speak with boaties who are under the misconception that they only have to switch on their ‘anchor light’ while at anchor, but in fact the all-round white light must be on at all times while they are on the water at night.

“It is only the red and green side lights that get switched off while at anchor.”

Queensland is home to more than 25,000 registered recreational boats and Water Police officers are concerned that a lack of understanding about navigation lights is putting many boaties at risk.

Gladstone Water Police have issued this advice:

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Check that your red, green, steaming and anchor lights are operating.
Ensure that the lens of each light is clean and not opaque.
Make sure your navigation lights are visible as per the arc diagram below.
Are there spare light bulbs onboard your vessel that suit each nav light?

The QPS recommends that you refer to the Navigation Lights Factsheet from Maritime Safety Queensland Navigation lights factsheet ( or head over to the MSQ Website for further tips on boating safety.