Always, Before departing on your voyage, check to make sure your navigation lights are operable so you’re visible to others.
Turn off the stereo and listen. You may hear fog horns, bells or other boats approaching. Use your hearing, which may seem more acute in the dark when you can’t rely on your eyes.
Trust your navigation instruments
Your eyes can play tricks on you in the dark so if your chartplotter is trustworthy normally, don’t suddenly decide it must be wrong. If your chartplotter hasn’t been updated or you’re not all that familiar with its use, slow down and approach with caution until you figure out whether your eyes and ears or your electronics are right.
Bring along a towel
A nice beach towel has lots of uses at night. You can drape it over yourself to stay warm and dry, you can toss it over parts of your console to cut down on ambient onboard light, and you can use it wipe a fogged windshield.
Dock with extra caution
Again, distances are distorted at night so only approach a dock as fast as you’re willing to hit it. Ask crew not to jump onto a dock but rather step off calmly when the boat is close enough. Double-check everyone’s knots and hitches before leaving the boat unattended in a slip.
Night boating was once described as "riding a giant worm through Disneyland’s Space Mountain"—that’s not an exaggeration. However, if you’re prepared, vigilant and cautious, you’ll find that nighttime excursions can be quite pleasant.