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Towing Lights: Mastheads

William Ackerman Jun 11, 2017 04:08PM EDT

Towing lights are causing me some difficulties. Specifically: what masthead lights are required if the towing vessel is 50 meters or more in length? Rule 24(a)(i) seems to say forget about 23(a)(i) and 23(a)(ii), and display two masthead lights in a vertical line. (I'm just addressing masthead lights here). Then, 23(d) seems to indicate that the vessel SHOULD comply with 23(a)(i) and 23(a)(ii). Which is it? And, if the towing vessel is 50 meters or more, and it has to have a second masthead light, would not approaching in another boat head-on see three lights vertical, giving the impression it's a tow greater than 200 meters? Or does this even matter at that stage?

Thanks!

Bill Ackerman

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MLS Staff Instructor Jun 11, 2017 04:46PM EDT Mariners Learning System Agent

A vessel with a tow of 200 meters or less must display two masthead lights in a vertical line.

A vessel with a tow of greater than 200 meters must display three masthead lights in a vertical line.

If the vessel is less than 50 meters in length an AFTER-MASTHEAD LIGHT is optional. This is different than the masthead where the lights are displayed in a vertical line. See the image on page 54 on the bottom of the page.

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