Originally Posted by Sonosailor
Do you perceive that running a masthead trilight with a steaming light forward, deck
red and green, and a stern light, all at the same time does or does not impair the distinctive character of the prescribed lights?
Yes, don't do it. Either run the deck
lights and the steaming light if motoring, or the tri-color or the deck lights if sailing.
I have seen people running tri-colors and deck lights together. This definitely can lead to confusion. If with the steaming light, from the port side at a distance you will see Red over White over Red which are the lights for a vessel restricted in its ability to manouver - which means that you are claiming rights which you do not have as a sailboat. The stbd side shows green over white over green which as far as I can tell has no meaning in the rules, but would be confusing. If done without the steaming light, the port view asserts your boat is aground (red over red), and the stbd view (green over green) is just confusing. The view from the stern is equally confusing, a white over a white is typically the steaming lights for a larger vessel, though you would be wondering where the side lights were.
Please everyone remember that correct lights are used to avoid collisions. Showing incorrect lights can only interfere with another vessels ability to correctly understand what you are doing and the different actions expected of each vessel.
Back to the original question, I have seen many sail boats in the Med (maybe just French?) not showing the correct lights for motoring. I wonder if the inland rules in France
or other Mediterranean
countries are different from Colregs?