Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club LEADERBOARD

Best Navigation Lights Set Up for a 12 metre Sailboat - from Lopolight

by Aleix Escorsell 3 Nov 2022 09:00 GMT
Best Navigation Lights Set Up for a 12 metre Sailboat? © Lopolight

When operating between sunset and sunrise, or in low visibility conditions, navigation lights are essential for every seagoing vessel. The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS for short) are the rules governing what lights are required on your vessel under different sailing conditions.

In this article we focus on an economical setup for boats between 7-12m (23-40ft), featuring Lopolight LED navigation lights.

Lopolight's LED navigation lights are designed to be fitted and forgotten, thanks to their durability, reliability and long lifespan. All Lopolights are finished to the highest specification, are type-approved and come with a 2.5m cable as standard, so it can be connected to your main power system, in a dry location. All lights are available in either silver or black finish and come with a range of mounting options

They have a huge collection of dedicated and combined lights for lighting applications on boats large and small, and for both commercial or private vessels.

The COLREGS for boats from 7-12m

The primary rules for sailing navigation lights are contained in Rules 22, 23, 25 and 30 of the COLREGS. The following is a simplification of the full rules to cover sailing vessels between 7-12m :

  • 22 - Visibility of lights: The range of all lights should be 2 miles, except for sidelights which can be 1 mile
  • 23 - Power driven vessels less than 12m shall exhibit an all-round white light and sidelights (red/green)
  • 25 - Sailing vessels Underway shall exhibit sidelights (red/green) and a white sternlight
  • 30 - Anchored Vessels under 50m shall exhibit an all-round white light

So those are the basics of which lights are needed for a boat under 12 meters. While it may seem like you will need to kit out your boat with a load of new electronics, that doesn't have to be the case! Lopolight has found the perfect solution for getting a safe and legal lighting set up, with just two navigation lights!

Masthead all-round white light

For the mast head, Lopolight recommends the masthead mounted all-round white light (ref: 201-030), which emits light in 3 sectors - two forward and one aft. This is a very versatile 2m range light with two operating modes. It can provide either a stern light on its own, or a full 360 degrees white light. We will come on to why that is so useful below.


For the sidelights, Lopolight recommends their 2m range combined red and green sidelights (ref: 101-004). This can be mounted on the pulpit but Lopolight suggests it should be positioned as high up on the mast as possible, however it must respect a rule that it should be at least 1m below the masthead light. This location helps to reduce glare on deck and improves visibility for other vessels.

How the two light combination works

So, say for example you're out for the day sailing in unclear conditions and need to turn on your sailing lights. In this sailing mode, COLREGS specifies that you need a stern light plus sidelights. Therefore, you can use the masthead light in sternlight mode, and your side lights.

The wind drops and you need to fire up "the donkey", so now you need an all-round white light and sidelights. All you have to do is switch the masthead light from sternlight mode to 360 degrees all-round and, with your sidelights still on, you immediately conform to the "vessel under power" regulations.

Once you reach your mooring destination, switch off your sidelights and you can rest easy knowing that Lopolight has you covered, with your all-round white anchor light.


There are many different ways to setup your navigation lights, for boats between 7-12m (23-40ft). By keeping it simple and using the two-light configuration described above, you are able focus on quality rather than quantity, with Lopolight's robust LED lights!

If you'd like to read more about other products in the Lopolight range and the company itself, see our blog on Lopolight.

If you have any questions about COLREGS or Lopolight products, please feel free to contact us by mail at , or click the link below to see our full range of navigation lights!

Shop Lopolight

Related Articles

Mainsheet systems - how do they work?
A rough guide to mainsheet purchase systems by A rough guide to mainsheet purchase systems by A block and tackle or 'purchase' system is a form of mechanical advantage, where the input force is multiplied through a series of pulleys or blocks to create a much larger output force. Posted on 23 Nov
Winterising a boat - useful tips from
Dave Proctor explains how to avoid some unpleasant surprises next spring Winterising the boat is a common task for many boat owners, regardless of where your boat is located. For some, in milder conditions, it means keeping everything dry and tidy, but for many the need for packing up the boat for winter is a necessity. Posted on 1 Nov
Winning deck hardware of a Star World Champion
Max Kohlhoff Today we are speaking about deck hardware and rig setup with Max Kohlhoff, the winning helmsman of the 2023 Star Worlds. With Ole Burzinski from Flensburg Yacht Club, onboard Playmate, they recently scored two bullets out of six races in Scarlino. Posted on 26 Oct
Polyform AS and Polyform US fenders
Exporting quality and performance from Norway to the U.S One of latest additions to the sailing hardware line-up are the Polyform fenders from the original Norwegian manufacturer - Polyform AS. Established over 60 years ago, Polyform AS is renowned for inventing the modern plastic buoy. Posted on 18 Oct
Electric Furler from Facnor
Latching on the trend of boat electrification The sailing world is undergoing a sea change, embracing the power of electrification for unparalleled ease and convenience, especially for older crews and solo sailors. Electric systems are revolutionising boats. Posted on 11 Oct
Best bottom up furlers
Top five as rated by In this article we round up five of the best bottom up furlers on the market. Choosing the right furler is a question of boat size and SWL (safe working load), sail area, performance level and budget. Posted on 5 Oct
Premium Ropes range - which rope to choose?
Product lines, materials, and characteristics of rope vary to cater for specific needs When it comes to sailing, the choice of ropes can make all the difference in your performance on the water. Whether you're a cruiser or a competitive racer, having the right running rigging lines can greatly enhance your sailing experience. Posted on 28 Sep
What's new in Velocitek's Prism 2 compass?
Latest model integrates user feedback and technological advancements Sailing demands precision and accuracy, and a reliable electronic compass is indispensable for this purpose. Velocitek, a prominent name in sailing hardware, continues to lead in innovation with this year's release of the Prism 2. Posted on 14 Sep
New Ewincher SE model
Affordable and powerful electric winch handle Ewincher has recently introduced their new electric winch handle - Ewincher SE, which stands for Special Edition. At a first glance it's difficult to find the difference from Ewincher 2, but somehow the price is considerably lower. Posted on 7 Sep
Defending your boat
Why fenders should not be overlooked In Spanish, a boat's fender is normally called 'una defensa', which may be a more appropriate name. 'A Defender' Posted on 24 Aug