Kayak Safety Lighting

Kayak Safety Lighting
Kayaking at night time is a very peaceful and enjoyable experience. It is important to take precautions and have functional safety lighting when paddling on the water at night.


The primary function of a kayak lighting system is to ensure that other boaters see you. A proper lighting system consists of a white light that is visible for 360 degrees.


A boat light for night-time operation should either be mounted on a pole and attached to the kayak or affixed to the paddler's personal flotation device, or PFD, in the most visible location.


When kayaking at night amongst a large group of paddlers, it may be useful to be able to identify the direction of movement. Attach a green and red navigation light to the kayak's bow with a suction cup to serve this purpose.

Gear Considerations

Another way to promote night visibility is to mark paddling gear or the kayak itself with reflective tape. The reflective material will amplify any ambient light.


The U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies are the designated authorities on any body of water characterized by heavy boat traffic. Some bays and lakes may have additional kayak safety lighting requirements.

Article Written By Seth C. Burgess

Seth C. Burgess has been an outdoor writer for Trails.com since May 2009. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.

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