Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
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The Navigation Rules, both International and Inland, call for an anchored vessel to display:
(1) in the forward part of the vessel, an all-round white light; and
(2) near the stern of the vessel, and lower than the light in the forward part of the vessel, a second all-round white light.
Vessels less than 50 meters in length may display just the one light in the forward part of the vessel.
However, the Rules also provide for a vessel at anchor to: "also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks" if she so desires. Vessels over 100 meters in length SHALL use these lights.
I take from this that if you're going to show a second "anchor light", it should be near the stern and should be lower than the first anchor light. Maybe, hanging in the cockpit?
Also, you could show your decklights, spreader lights, or any other light which could be construed to be "working or equivalent lights".
My solution when anchored where there is significant traffic and, especially, small boats with party animals aboard, is to hang a bright anchor light halfway between the mast and the forestay, about 10' above the deck. This light, alone, meets the requirement for an anchor light, and provides pretty good illumination of the decks and hull.
If I were to use this light in addition to the regular anchor light at the top of the mast, I'd move it to the stern of the boat.
It is NEVER OK to leave your running lights on at anchor. In addition to it being wrong (cf the Rules) and looking stupid, you'd be leaving yourself open to possible legal action if an accident were to occur.