Mohave County Sheriff Department Warns Boaters To Use Navigation Lights

Arizona lake officials remind boaters that not using boat navigation lights not only risks boat safety, but also ignores the laws on the water

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Whether it’s along a path, on the road, or in the master bath of up to 46% of homeowners’houses, good lighting is essential for proper safety and accident prevention. For this reason, having one’s headlights on while navigating the Arizona road is not only important, it’s the law.

This same law applies to the boaters of Arizona’s lakes. However, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Department, recent boaters on Lake Havasu have been ignoring these laws and endangering the lives of others.

On Thursday, August 25, sheriff officials arrested Roy Pearce, 59, for operating a boating vehicle on Havasu Lake without navigational lights while under the influence of alcohol.

Friday, August 26, officials then arrested Jason Kartchner, 44, for operating a boating vehicle under the influence of alcohol with a 12-year-old child on board. The boat had been driving off the shore of Windsor Beach at 25 mph without adequate lighting. The child was not wearing a life jacket.

These aren’t the first two boating incidents the sheriff’s officials investigated last month. In just the first weekend of August, two fatal boat accidents occurred on Havasu Lake, following a deadlier string of events that occurred throughout the summer.

“We’ve been talking behind the scenes with law enforcement agencies to see what to do to make the lake safer,” said Jim Salscheider, President of the Lake Havasu Marine Association. “Something needs to be done.”

While some of the incidents are simply unfortunate events caused by unforeseen circumstances, other circumstances on the lake were unforeseen due to the lack of navigation lights. Boaters who fail to use their navigation lights are nearly invisible on the water. Without visibility, the lives of those on the watercraft are put at risk along with those operating other craft on the lake.

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Using the Right Navigation Lights on Your Boat

Officials remind the public that proper lighting must be used at all times while on the water and that drinking while operating watercraft is against the law.

A reminder for boat navigation light rules for boaters:

  • A bright white light that is visible for up to two miles must be placed on the aft / stern of any watercraft.
  • A red light must be placed at the front port of any watercraft.
  • A green light must be placed at the front starboard of any motorized watercraft.

Blue lights must only be used by emergency watercraft and law enforcement.

See this photo compliments of West Marine for more information on proper placement of navigation lights on boats.

navigation lights
photo courtesy of West Marine

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  1. capt rob
    Capt. Rob ChichesterSeptember 8, 2017

    In the last paragraph, did you mean red light forward on the port side and green light forward on the starboard side? I am not familiar with any light configuration showing a white and red light aft and a green light forward.

    1. Diane SeltzerSeptember 11, 2017

      Thanks for the comment Rob! I edited her article to make it more clear and also added a good graphic for proper navigation light placement on various boat types.

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