Boating Tips

Boating Tips: Darkness Falls

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As the sun dips below the horizon and darkness creeps up on the boat, it can be a very nerve-wracking time for the captain and the crew. Try driving a car at night with no accompanying street lights. It’s very difficult and extremely stressful.

Humans are visual beings and when we are thrown into darkness, our very sense of wellbeing reacts against it. That being said, navigating at night is not as difficult as it used to be and there are a number of aids and various electronic devices on the market that make night travel by boat that much easier, more enjoyable and even romantic.

Leisure Boating switches the navigation lights on to enhance your night boating experience.


One of the main rules of boating at night is to go slowly. It doesn’t matter that the boat is full to the brim with all kinds of electronic navigation equipment, seeing at night is always a lot more difficult than during the day, and for this reason, distances to other objects and boats is compromised.

Objects often won’t be in view until they are fairly close. If you are travelling too fast, you won’t be able to avoid a collision, particularly with a floating object such as a piece of timber floating just above the waterline. During a full moon you will be able to go a little faster than usual due to the increased visibility.

If you are negotiating a narrow channel or are in the vicinity of rocky outcrops or sand bars, extra care needs to be taken.


Lighting on board your boat can be tricky at night as lights that are too bright will impair your night vision. Yet, some lighting, particularly backlighting for instrumentation and electronics is required to be able to see it. Eyes typically can take from 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness.


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