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While it may be hard to believe that August is already here, one thing is certain… we are not yet ready to think about boating season coming to an end. Wanting to squeeze all the boating hours possible into our days, you might find yourself navigating home in the dark.

Here are our top night boating safety tips to ensure a safe experience. The team at Atlantic Marinas hopes this inspires enough confidence to get you back to dock safely after dark.

  1. Slow down – This is the number one rule. Visibility is greatly reduced at night which means that distances are harder to judge, obstacles (such as crab pots and markers) are very difficult to see, and moisture and temperature changes create distortion. Slow down and prioritize the safety of you and your passengers.
  2. Prioritize Passenger Safety – Grab some glow sticks in case anyone goes overboard. Before leaving shore, attach the glow sticks to the PFD’s of any children on board. Also, refresh the batteries in your flashlights and headlamps, and put binoculars close to the helm.
  3. Preserve your night vision – Your night vision can take 20 minutes to adapt back to darkness after a flash of light. Therefore, dim all the onboard lights including courtesy lights, instrument and chartplotter backlighting and cabin lights.
  4. Know your red, green and white lights – Before departing, check your navigation lights to ensure they are operable so you’re visible to others. When underway, consider what other boats looks like on the water:
    • If you see both red and green, a boat is coming head-on.
    • If you see white, the boat is ahead of you and/or moving away.
    • If in doubt and you see red, stop. That means a boat is crossing your bow and it has the right of way.

Safety is always the main priority. By keeping that in mind, in addition to the tips above, we hope you feel more confident just in case you find yourself on the water after sunset.

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