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Shapes and Lights

Some types of vessel show special lights by night and shapes by day. They can help you to identify vessels that may require special actions on your part. For example, seeing a vessel displaying a 'Divers down' flag would prompt you to stay well clear and slow down; divers may be surfacing around that vessel.

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Black ball forward, by day. By night all-round white light if over 50m, a second light aft and lower.

vessel at anchor with black ball
By Day
By Night

By day, letter 'A' international code. By night, the same lights as vessel restricted in its ability to manoeuvre: all round red, white, red lights in a vertical line plus normal steaming lights when underway.

boat with international A flag
By Day
By Night

By day, a cone pointing down, placed forward. By night, normal steaming lights.

yacht motor sailing with cone
By Day
By Night

By day, two black balls vertically. By night, two all-round red lights, plus sidelights and sternlight when making way.

Vessel not under command
By Day
By Night

By day, Letter 'H' international code. By night, all-round white light over all-round red plus sidelights and sternlight when underway

Pilot boat with H flag
By Day
By Night

By day, ball, diamond, ball in a vertical line. By night all-round red, white, red lights in a vertical line plus normal steaming lights when underway.

vessel ristricted
By Day
By Night

For tows over 200m: by day, towing vessel and tow display diamond shapes. By night, vessel towed shows sidelights, sternlight and yellow towing light at stern. Towing vessel shows three masthead lights, sidelights sternlight and yellow towing light.

tug towing barge
By Day
By Night

By day, three black balls in a vertical line; by night, anchor light(s) plus two all-round red lights in a vertical line.

vessel aground
By Day
By Night

By day, two cones pointing towards each other in a vertical line one above the other. By night, all-round red light over all-round white plus sidelights and sternlight when underway.

vessel fishing
By Day
By Night

By day, two cones pointing towards each other in a vertical line one above the other. By night, all-round green light over all-round white light, plus sidelights and sternlight when underway.

vessel trawling
By Day
By Night

Test Yourself

Drag the shapes and lights to the correct boxes below.