Not to high jack the thread but I'm confused. I previously thought this was the case, and was proved wrong (I believe on a Sailnet thread). So now, I thought it must apply to motoring only. However, in reviewing the regs, it seems it makes no difference. Has something changed in the past few years?
On every boat I've been on, the helmsman can't even tell if the running lights are on (Stern light notwithstanding), without going forward. I thought they were supposed to be designed that way.
I went to a school with a fellow who claimed he was never wrong except once when he thought he was wrong but was mistaken.
I'm not aware of any changes, just reading the book. It says what it says.
As far as the helmsman seeing the lights, I agree with you that on most boats you can't see the red and green except as a reflection off a sail sometimes but the stern light often sets up a glare reflecting off of shiny metal or polished fiberglass.
When it happens it really bothers me.