Since I paddle mainly in Mexico I have learned to approach night paddling a bit differently than I might in the U.S..
First off, I don't show a continuous light at night. It simply attracts panga fishermen who are curious about a strange light.
Second, If I hear a boat I stop paddling and listen. There's not much point in looking since few boats show lights of any kind (in the Sea of Cortez).
If I get the sense that the vessel is approaching I turn on both front and back deck mounted strobes. Now for sure I will be approached... After greeting the pangeros I turn everything off. A kayak in the dark makes for good conversation and a few shared chukkles.
I know of one paddler who had the front of his kayak removed by a mexican military panga that failed to see him (he couldn't get his headlamp turned on in time...)