Stus-List Electrical Question

Rick Brass rickbrass at
Tue Sep 13 22:03:15 EDT 2016

Strictly speaking, it should be “tricolor/anchor light at the masthead”.


The definition of a “masthead” light (Rule 21a): 

“Masthead light” means a white light placed over the fore and aft centerline of the vessel showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 225 degrees and so fixed as to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on either side of the vessel. 


I do wish it were called a “steaming light”, which would be so much less confusing. But the lights are used to identify vessel size and direction of travel, as well as used in circumstances other than “steaming” so I do understand there might be resistance to using that term.


Anyway – it isn’t legal to show both the lights of a power boat (red/green/stern/masthead) and the lights of a sailboat (masthead tricolor) at the same.  I suspect the Coasties would never pull you over and write you a ticket if you did it. Though I can see that a Coastie with an attitude and time on his hands might use the lights a reason to pull you over for a safety inspection.


Rick Brass

Washington, NC




From: CnC-List [mailto:cnc-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of Joel Aronson via CnC-List
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2016 10:21 AM
To: cnc-list at
Cc: Joel Aronson <joel.aronson at>
Subject: Re: Stus-List Electrical Question


So if you have a combo tricolor/anchor masthead light and you are under power should they both be on?





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