Nighttime boating can be more challenging than boating during the day, but boaters can take precautions to safely operate their boats in the dark.
Keep your windshield clean. If you can see your windshield as opposed to seeing through it, it needs cleaning. Salt spray is a notorious windshield fouler. If necessary, stop the boat and clean the windshield.
Wear a life jacket with an attached strobe light and whistle. A person in the water is a lot harder to see than a navigation light.
Wear sunglasses until the sun gets lower in the sky during late afternoon. Normally, your eyes take a half hour to achieve maximum night vision, but a few hours of bright sunlight can delay this for hours.
At night, look slightly to the side of an object to see it. Using averted vision in darkness helps your eyes see the object better than looking directly at it.
Cover one eye when you approach a dock or lighted area. According to the AAA magazine “Car and Travel,” truckers sometimes do this when gassing up at night to preserve their night vision in one eye.
Use red instrument lights. Your eyes are less sensitive to red than any other component of visible light. In my cabin, I have the choice of a white or red overhead light; the red light will give enough visibility to locate what I want but not take away my night vision.
Lastly, just take it slow at night. –Hank Foglino
Feel at home on the water
Learn to boat with confidence by taking the Boat Handling course online from America’s Boating Club.