Yachting and Colourblindness

The problem with color blindness on yachts (or any type of vessel) is that one cannot differentiate between red and green navigation lights, which is a very serious problem when entering harbours or trying to identify other vessels at sea at night.

Colourblindness restrictions are important for the safety of everyone on board and at sea.

Certificate Restrictions

If a person is colourblind, we place a restriction on the certificate stating “No Solo Watches”. This restriction applies to both daytime and nighttime.

"Can I still be certified to operate and/or captain a yacht?"

Yes, however, the operator is restricted from “stand-alone” watches on the bridge in command of a vessel without another person present to verify and confirm the colours of navigation lights on other vessels when entering or leaving a harbour.

"Who may stand watch with me?"
The other person present must be qualified to be an Officer of the Watch as laid down by the Safe Manning Document for commercial yachts, or someone approved by the insurance company is the case of Private registered yachts.

"Can I still receive certification for Officer of the Watch?"
Yes, but the same "No Solo Watches" restriction still applies. With that, many candidates with colourblindness restrictions opt for positions in other fields, since a second person would still need to be present to verify the colours of navigation lights while on watch.

Colourblindness Testing

IYT Worldwide accepts the Ishihara test and Farnsworth Lantern colourblindness tests, which must be performed by a qualified physician.