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Nautical Mnemonics

The following rules of the road memory aides come at the request of a boatsafe.com reader from Israel. Thanks for the request Yuval!

The following table gives neumonics for several lighting configurations. You might also want to memorize the poem below. I have no idea where I got this or who the author might be, however, I hope that he or she does not mind sharing it.

The Rule of the Road
When all three lights I see ahead,
I turn to Starboard and show my Red:
Green to Green, Red to Red,
Perfect Safety -- Go Ahead.

But if to Starboard Red appear,
It is my duty to keep clear --
To act as judgment says is proper:
To Port or Starboard, Back or Stop her.

And if upon my Port is seen
A Steamer's Starboard light of Green,
I hold my course and watch to see
That Green to Port keeps Clear of me.

Both in safety and in doubt
Always keep a good look out.
In Danger, with no room to turn,
Ease her, Stop her, Go Astern.

Neumonics For Light Identification

Day
shape

RED
WHITE
RED
Red, White, Red
Restricted Ability Ahead
RED
RED
Red over Red
The Captain Is Dead
Vessel not under command
RED
RED
RED
Three Reds in a Row
No Room Below
Constrained by draft - (International only)
RED
WHITE
Red Over White
Fishing at night
RED
GREEN
02sailstern.gif (797 bytes)Red Over Green
Sailing Machine
WHITE
RED
White Over Red
Pilot Aheadpilot.gif (577 bytes)
YELLOW
YELLOW
Yellow Over Yellow
A pushing or Hip Towing Fellow (Inland only)
GREEN
WHITE
Green Over White
Trawling at Night
YELLOW
WHITE
Yellow Over White
My Towline is Tight
Dayshape is shown when tow exceeds 200 meters
GREEN
GREEN- GREEN
Three Greens in a Cross
Mineclearing Bossquiz0301.gif (1640 bytes)

GREEN to GREEN, RED to RED - Perfect Safety Go Ahead

Related Articles:
Lights and Dayshapes
Dayshapes - what they mean

Also see the Basic Boating Safety Course

 

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