Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road by Llana & Wisneskey

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Rule 31 -- Seaplanes


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

Where it is impracticable for a seaplane to exhibit lights and shapes of the characteristics or in the positions prescribed in the Rules of this Part she shall exhibit lights and shapes as closely similar in characteristics and position as is possible.

Where it is impracticable for a seaplane to exhibit lights and shapes of the characteristics or in the positions prescribed in the Rules of this Part she shall exhibit lights and shapes as closely similar in characteristics and position as is possible.

 

The International and Inland versions of this short Rule are the same. For obvious reasons, airplanes may have difficulty complying with navigation light requirements that were written for ships.

Airplanes of all sorts (not just seaplanes) display a green "sidelight" on the right wingtip, a red "sidelight" on the left, and a white "sternlight" aft. Most aircraft also have provisions to make these lights blink when they are on the ground. This blinking mode, if available on a seaplane, should not be used on the water.

Seaplane manufacturers often provide an all-round white light on a portable mast primarily intended for use when the seaplane is anchored. The mast usually has provisions for displaying a shape. This mast is often difficult to mount and dismount, and requires the seaplane to be stopped before mounting. In short, seaplanes in sea-air transition should not be expected to conform to the light and shape requirements as closely as when they are anchored.

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