So...you mean to tell me someone can't tell the difference between a Green and Red NAV light on a boat and a Full Length Green Light Bar running some 17-20 feet down the side of a boat?
That is simply asinine in my opinion.
All I say here applies to both red and green, but I'll use green as the example. Not everyone puts a full-length strip on their boat. Even if they do, part of it may not be visible while on plane (think hull spray obscuring the light). Green is supposed to be ONLY on the NAV light so that spotting ANY green means it has special significance. Put a sheep-load of green lights all over a bunch of boats on a busy lake and you will no longer be able to make heads or tails of what's going on.
What do I mean by What's going on? Very importantly, it's not just that you see a green NAV light, but that the display of that light is restricted by regulation as to what angle at which it is visible. It should be visible from dead ahead of a vessel to a point 112.5 degrees to the right of the vessel's centerline (for green). It must NOT be visible at any point beyond 112.5 degrees. In this way, seeing a green light means you are looking at the forward right quadrant of a vessel, AND that you are in front of the midpoint of that vessel. All of this situational awareness becomes garbled and is lost once people start doing whatever the heck they want to with green lights.
Say you've got a strip of green down the right side. I approach from your rear, slightly to the right. I won't see a long strip of green light. Instead, I'll be looking up the side of the boat from the rear; all of that green can be piled into one glob I think is a NAV light - especially at a distance on a bad visibility night.
So, the rules aren't asinine. What's often asinine is the sheer lack of boater comprehension of the rules, why they are like they are, and all the valuable information that can be learned from spotting some simple (regulated) light signals while out on the water. The orientation of two vessels to one another can be accurately discerned from observation of regulated lighting. Violate that (with non-regulated red/green), and the system becomes contaminated with misinformation and doubt.