see it clearly

Offering superior performance and style, brass marine navigation lights are not only practical, but also attractive on any boat. The fixtures take on a rich nautical appearance. Brass also lends itself well when a more traditional or "salty" look is what you desire for your boat. Designed for any type of boat, power or sail, styles range from sleek and compact to classical. Brass fixtures were used almost exclusively on old sailing ships.

Types of Brass Marine Navigation Lights

Brass Nav Lights

Powerboat and sailboat manufacturers typically use plastic or chromium covered plastic light fixtures in production to save costs. Plastic and chrome become weathered from UV rays. When exposed repeatedly to harsh outdoor environments, and elements, fixture housings quickly begin to deteriorate or worse, may cause the light to fail to perform properly. Operational navigation lights are essential for marine safety and required by law.

Verify your lights are mounted correctly so they can be seen by others.

Oil lamps are another option to consider if electrical power is limited. Brass oil lamps are also an attractive way to incorporate a more traditional look on a boat.


Brass Oil Navigation Lights

Brass is a warm metal finish that became common in the nineteenth century. Unprotected brass will tarnish and show brown spots over time, however, for some, the tarnish is a desirable characteristic.

A downside for others, is the upkeep required, to maintain that shiny new look. Frequent polishing is required to protect the natural metal. Numerous companies manufacture brass cleaners and polish which are easily applied.

Don't want to spend time polishing? No problem, there are brass marine navigation light fixtures that don't require as much maintenance.

One technique used by manufacturers to protect brass and keep it looking bright; without the usual polishing regiment is called Supercoating. Supercoating is applied electrostatically, and baked onto the surface to insure a lasting shine. Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) is another technique manufacturers incorporate to protect brass. Once the PVD finish is applied, the fixture becomes corrosion, scratch, and tarnish resistant. To maintain the beauty, minimal maintenance is required for PVD finishes. Simple cleanings with a soft cloth to remove fingerprints and water spots are typically all that is needed.

Brass or Chrome

Trying to maintain chrome is another challenge for the boater. Over time, the contemporary look and shine of chrome fixtures will begin to show signs of pitting and corrosion; especially when routinely exposed to salt air and marine environments. Want to maintain the look of polished chrome and receive longevity benefits of solid brass? Good news! Manufacturers advertise solid brass light fixtures with a "marine grade" chrome overlay they claim won't break down when exposed to the elements. The best of both worlds!

Legal Requirements for Navigational Lights

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) specifies which types of lights are mandatory on vessels. Depending on vessel size and propulsion means, the required light size and shape is determined.

The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREGS) is broken into 38 rules; divided into five sections: Part A - General; Part B - Steering and Sailing; Part C – Lights and Shapes; Part D - Sound and Light signals; and Part E - Exemptions. There are also four Annexes containing technical requirements concerning lights and shapes and their positioning; sound signaling appliances; additional signals for fishing vessels when operating in close proximity, and international distress signals.

Where to Purchase Navigation Lights

Numerous resources are available when looking to purchase brass marine navigation lights. Local boating stores will often have them in their stocked inventory, or will order items directly from manufacturers if not stocked.

Internet suppliers are abundant and easily located by doing a search with the description of the specific type of light you are looking for. Repossessed boat dealers may offer yacht parts supplies as well as boat salvage yards. Second hand marine stores are also fun places to visit to find good "deals" and save a few bucks.


Remember, not only are marine navigation lights essential for boating safety, but not having them in operational condition; or properly placed will result in a fine. Lights on a boat serve to let other boaters, as well as notify you, of important information.

  • The boat is moving
  • Stationary at anchor
  • What type of boat (power or sail)
  • What direction or course one is currently traveling on.

Accidents and tickets while boating, are something every boater wants to avoid while out on the water.