If it is a commercial ship, then it has AIS, and has to monitor it, and cannot shut it off. Pretty much the entire merchant fleet relies on AIS for safety, and it is mandatory in several countries that all boats have AIS. AIS is relied on world-wide for ship crossing situations more than navigation lights now.
There is something disconcerting about a watch keeper on a freighter not seeing a masthead light until it was only a few hundred feet away, and not picking up the boat on radar at further range.
For those of us not on freighters - rather at sea-level - masthead lights are seen much further away than deck-mounted lights. I can't count the times I haven't been able to see deck lights in medium seas on small boats.
Like George, I'm having a difficult time understanding how nav lights get out of alignment. I can see them being originally installed out of alignment, but not getting randomly whacked out.
Yeah, yeah, it's mandatory for lots of stuff that doesn't happen in the real world. Anchor lights instead of garden solar lights, or strobe lights, unlit barges/tugs improperly lit, and on and on.
How so many of these things get out of whack, I have no idea, I just see it on a fairly regular basis.
And quite frankly, I can compute CPA w/o any help from some electronic aid and I couldn't care less about communicating with commercial traffic at sea or even interisland. I don't trust you or anybody else to do what's expected, mandatory or even sensible on the water or on the roads. I'll stick with my eyes and what I [B]know[B] works just fine for me, which is taking responsibility for my own actions and regulating the space around my boat, car or whatever I'm responsible for operating.
But, if you've never stood a night watch on the bridge of a ship, you have absolutely no idea of what they can see, and how what you present actually looks to them. If they are even awake, a scenario I can assure you is not all that uncommon offshore.
If you care to risk your life and the lives of any others you might have aboard your vessel to someone else complying with what's mandatory or even expected, then that certainly is your choice.