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Patrol advises boaters after issuing several warnings, citations for lights violations

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said it has seen a recent problem with boaters not having proper lighting. (MSHP)

After nearly 100 instances of boaters failing to properly use navigation lights, the Missouri State Highway Patrol has warned those on the water to take precautions.

MSHP Troop F released a statement Friday afternoon, saying it has issued 12 citations and 84 warnings from May 26, 2017, through June 12, 2017, to boaters for either navigation lights burning out, displaying lights other than what is prescribed on a watercraft or nor displaying navigation lights at all.

“If you will be out on the water after dark, check your navigation lights before you leave the dock or ramp.” stated Capt. Turner. “When boaters understand and obey the law, and vessels are in good operating order, everyone’s experience on the water becomes safer. Do your part to make our waterways safe at night by displaying proper navigation lights and by reducing your speed when visibility is limited.”

The release continued:

"Generally speaking, vessels are required to display a red light on the port (left) side of the vessel and a green light displayed on the starboard (right) side. The red and green lights should be visible from at least one mile away on a dark, clear night. Additionally, an all-around white light must be visible from at least two miles on a dark, clear night. Section 306.100 RSMo. provides the complete description of vessel navigation lights based on the length of the vessel. Section 306.100 RSMo. can be read in its entirety here.

There are various combinations of lights which meet the requirements by state law. Navigation lights are imperative on the water at night to prevent boat accidents. Navigation on the water at night is unique in that your lights are designed so other boaters are able to see you and determine the direction you are traveling, but your navigation lights will not necessarily help you see better at night. It is illegal to display spotlights or docking lights continuously, but those lights may be used briefly to identify hazards in the water. Missouri has a 30 mph nighttime speed limit effective 30 minutes after sunset to one hour before sunrise. Depending on visibility, it may be prudent for boaters to travel much slower than the 30 mph speed limit at night.

Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear It!!"

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