The colours of the position lamps are green on starboard, red on port and white for stern light or marker light and steamer light. A towing light is fitted at the stern but shines yellow instead of white. Boats up to 7 m in length only need a white full-circle lantern, from 7 m in length sailing vessels and motor boats must also have a side lantern on each side of the ship. Sailing vessels up to 20 m in length can use stern light and side lights in only one light, the so-called three-colour lantern (usually 12v - 24v supply), combined in the masthead. The regulations on position lights apply to vehicles in motion. In addition, further regulations on light guidance apply. These particularly include the anchor light and signal lantern. There are also certain marker lights for boat trailers and semi-trailers, which need to be mounted in different positions depending on the size of the boat.
The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency is responsible for testing and acceptance of the ship's lanterns. Every light must be type-tested and approved. Exceptions are lanterns on inland waterways which are not subject to the inland waterways regulations. Lanterns which are not DHI-tested may not be used by vessels on coastal waters and on the high seas. LED position lamps are now approved. LED technology has many advantages. The service life of this light source is considerably longer, LEDs are more economical and more robust against shocks and vibrations.
The housing and the mounting of the position lantern must meet the requirements for sea operation. The construction must be shock and impact resistant as well as seawater resistant and fail-safe, the material has to be UV and corrosion resistant. Precision optics must guarantee the exact radiation of the specified sectors. For fixed installation, care must be taken to ensure stable and vibration-free mounting.