Every boat operator must know the rules that apply in the sharing of waterways, in order to safely navigate. When navigating at night or by restricted visibility, the operator must be able to recognize a boat by the color and positioning of its navigation lights to determine what actions to take to avoid a collision.
According to the Collision regulations, an operator of a power driven pleasure craft of less than 12 metres in length, and underway, may display, from sunset to sunrise, in addition to sidelights (red -- green), an all-round white light.
According to the Collision regulations an operator of a power driven pleasure craft of more than 12 metres in length, and underway, may display, from sunset to sunrise, a masthead light (white) forward, sidelights (red -- green), and a sternlight (white).
The operator of a sailing pleasure craft underway shall, from sunset to sunrise, display sidelights (red - green) and a sternlight (white).
A vessel engaged in fishing, other than trawling, shall display two all-around lights in a vertical line, the upper being red and the lower white. When making way through the water, it displays the sidelights and a sternlight.
A vessel when engaged in trawling, which means dragging a dredge net or other fishing apparatus through the water, shall display two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being green and the lower white. When making way through the water, it displays sidelights and a sternlight.
The operator of a sailing pleasure craft of less than 7 metres in length not under power (canoe, kayak), underway, shall from sunset to sunrise, display, if practical, sidelights and a sternlight, but if the operator cannot, he/she must have at hand, a flashlight or lighted lantern emitting a white light which must be lit in enough time to prevent a collision.
At anchor, the operator of a pleasure craft shall display, from sunset to sunrise, in the fore part, an all-around white light.
A power-driven vessel when towing shall show sidelights, a sternlight, and a towing light in a vertical line above the sternlight, and two masthead lights in a vertical line. When the length of the tow, measuring from the stern of the towing vessel to the after end of the tow exceeds 200 metres, three such lights in a vertical line shall be displayed.
Apart from the regular navigation lights, when a boat tows another vessel in distress or in need of assitance for any reason, must take all possible measres to show the relation between the towed vessel and the vessel doing the towing. A vessel towing must try to shine a light on the towing cable to make it as visible as possible, so that other boats do not come into contact with the cable.
A vessel or other structure under tow, if it is less than 25 metres wide, shall display one all-around white light.
Any government vessel or any vessel that is owned or operated by a harbour, river, county or municipal police force may display a blue flashing light to identify itself as such, in the following cases
• when it is providing assistance in any waters to any vessel or other craft;
• when it is engaged in law enforcement duties in Canadian waters.
A power-driven vessel, when pushing another, must display the sidelights, a sternlight, and two superimposed masthead lights. The vessel being pushed, and not part of a composite unit, must display its sidelights at the bow. When a vessel is pushing another, if both are connected in a rigid, composite unit, they will be regarded as one unit, thus showing the appropriate lights.