Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

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

by Aleix Escorsell 3 Nov 2022 02:00 PDT
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

Performance Code Zero Furlers
Options from KZ Racefurlers put under the spotlight We are pleased to introduce KZ Racefurlers to the website. Racing sailors will need little introduction, as KZ have been gracing the bows of grand prix race boats for almost 30 years. Posted on 28 Jan
What we can all take from the IMOCAs
A Conversation With Oliver Heer Ocean Racing The IMOCA class has long been at the forefront of technological development in deck gear and rigging systems. Many of the performance products have originated in the French offshore racing classes before filtering down to cruiser/racer communities. Posted on 19 Jan
The Spinlock RIG-SENSE
Find your optimum rig tension and keep it! The Spinlock Rig-Sense is a compact rig tension device designed to measure the loads in wire or rope on small keelboats and dinghies. Many boat owners may not be aware of just how critically important rig tension is for efficiency and fast sailing. Posted on 12 Jan
Introducing Flipper
The world's first foldable winch handle Are you a sailor looking for an innovative way to make sailing easier? Look no further than Flipper™ the world's first foldable winch handle. This handle is designed to be compact and efficient, making it easy to manoeuvre. Posted on 28 Dec 2022
Sea Sure Marine Hardware
Dedicated to quality dinghy components Technical Sales Manager Dan Henderson puts their success down to their strategic decision to retain a tight focus on dinghies and small keelboats and not be drawn into building components for larger sailboats. Posted on 22 Dec 2022
The Best Lopolight Navigation Lights
A guide for sailing yachts of 12-20m We have previously discussed the best navigation lights set up for boats under 12 metres. In this article we look at the ideal light configuration for yachts between 12 - 20m in length, referencing products from the Lopolight LED navigation light range. Posted on 15 Dec 2022
Top Five Tips To Get Your Boat Winter Ready
There are five key categories to consider, say As its that time of the year again when most of us have to pack up our sails and move the boat into storage - if you haven't done so already. Winterizing your boat is a thorough process that can lead to serious damages when not done correctly. Posted on 8 Dec 2022
Evolution of the IRC code zero
A conversation with North Sails In our previous article we spoke with Ronan Grealish from North Sails on the topic of reaching sail configurations for double-handed racing. Now we continue the conversation to take a closer look at the design philosophy and evolution of the code zero. Posted on 2 Dec 2022
Achieving a Stable Reaching Setup
An Interview With North Sails Reaching legs are an inevitable feature of coastal racing, and a good setup can produce some of the fastest and most stable sailing. We are talking about that range of off-wind angles, where an eased jib is no longer effective. Posted on 26 Nov 2022
Top picks from the METS DAME awards nominations
Some of the latest innovations in sailing, reviewed by We are planning to share with you some of the latest innovations in marine sailing at the show next week, but for now here are a few of the DAME nominated products that caught our eye! Posted on 16 Nov 2022
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTER