Night Time Boating Safety

Lots of people enjoy boating at night, even if it’s just floating within eyesight of the dock to enjoy some peace and quiet. That being said, no matter what you’re up to on the water, day or night, it’s always a good idea to think about safety precautions ahead of time. We’re not talking about preparing a disaster kit, but rather, just spending a little bit of time thinking ahead to put some items on the boat that may come in handy if you ever need them.

Many survival items will be applicable here. These include things like having an appropriate knife, some extra layers of clothing, water, may a little bit of non-perishable food, and some way to flag down help if you’re stranded. One thing we didn’t mention are personal floatation devices, but we sincerely hope it goes without saying that these are a MUST in all situations and should always be worn and present on the boat at all times.

Boating at Night

Boating at night isn’t usually recommended for obvious reasons. However, if you do decide to get out on the water in reduced visibility, let’s talk about a couple different items that could be worth having for safety reasons, and to be honest, can be pretty fun as well.

Light Sources

Having some sort of flashlight can go a long way when you’re boating at night. We’re not talking your dinky little flashlight that you can get from the dollar store. Rather, some boat enthusiasts love having a rugged and extremely bright flashlight on board. This can serve two main safety purposes. First, and likely most obvious, is that it allows you to see your surroundings with a lot of light. Second, if you become stranded, military grade flashlights often have extremely high lumen ratings, making them highly visible for miles. This could make the difference between receiving help and being stranded for an extended period of time, exposing yourself to the elements.

However, we have spoken with the odd boating enthusiast who had gone one step further. This may be a little bit of overkill, but some people like the idea of having hands-off capability with their flashlight. Perhaps the simplest way to achieve this is with a headlamp, ideally a really bright LED headlamp, so you can still have full use of your hands.

If you’re fishing, using a flashlight on the water will both attract and scare fish depending on how you’re using it. In any case, it affects the strategy and takes away from the pureness of the sport. Some extreme night time fishermen opt to wear night vision goggles, but we suspect this is largely for fun, rather than safety or strategy.


Of course, having a radio or some other form of guaranteed communication with the mainland is must at all times on a boat, but if you’re really worried about things cutting out, having a satellite phone can come in handy, but this can be really difficult to implement on a boat, especially if it’s not huge or you often have lots of other people aboard.

Final Notes

If you’re already thinking about safety items for your boat, or better yet, additional safety items for your boat, then you’re already on a great track. We hope this article gave you a couple thoughts about various light sources for the boat, however unconventional, that could be highly applicable to your next trip. Stay safe, and have fun!