Originally Posted by nigel1
Harking back to when I first went to sea, steaming lights was the collective term for Mastheads, side and stern lights.
So when describing a vessel restricted in manoeuvrability it was said to exhibit and all round red/white/red in addition to her steaming lights
An interesting, educational discussion.
"Steaming light", as it turns out, is a term not found in the Colregs. According to this: Rule 21
light terms, such as 'steaming light' or 'bow light' are from popular slang or from old rules no longer in effect."
I think most sailors use the term "steaming light" to refer to what, thanks to you, I now know is correctly if misleadingly called the "masthead light". And not to any other navigation
lights. But a bit of Googling shows that, just as you wrote, commercial
mariners sometimes refer to all their navigation lights as "steaming lights".
Interesting. Learn something new every day!