Best colours for visibility at sea

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Leo Lazauskas, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    That's a good point, with black being the worst.

    Well, any ideas on an orange that is as good as a red as a green as a blue, etc... ?

  2. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 1,189
    Likes: 51, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 497
    Location: Australia

    Poida Senior Member

    I am wondering why you want a permantly highly visible vessel.

    If it's a rescue vessel, you really want the boat you are searching for to be highly visible, because you know where you are. For this reason yellow/orange plastic sheets can be used by a vessel in distress to make it easier to find them.

    Vessels need to be highly visible when working close to each other and surely flashing yellow lights could be used, as do forklifts etc. (although forklifts don't float very well).

    I'm sure there are specialised coatings that are UV stable that would last longer but would be expensive.

    Thinking outside the square, clip on panels could be used that are reversable so you only have the orange side visible when required to reduce the fading.


    P.S. Red and orange are both at the end of spectrum and fade badly.
  3. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Just to answer the green...

  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 474, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Several reflective strips, possible in a stylish pattern will go a long way to satisfy you visibility desires.

    Select an engineering grade, which are available in several colors so you can do a graphic if so inclined. They can be stretched and shaped much like a vinyl applique, though they are self adhesive usually. I've never seen it, but I'll bet it is available as a vinyl applique too.
  5. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 8,553
    Likes: 500, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Presumably fluorescent colours would be more visible, but last only a short time. Fading of reds, oranges, and yellows depends on the pigments used, most of them that contain various lead compounds, rather than organic pigments, tend not to fade much.
  6. Schoonner
    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 388
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 38
    Location: Washington State USA

    Schoonner Senior Member

    Yeah, that's the word I was looking for, Flourescent colors... I think it would be awesome to have a glow in the dark sail. I know, I know sounds retarded right? Not really if all I have to do to make it glow is use a florescent black-light. It would be awesome if I could make ig glow blue beneath the waterline in spots and lines like a young tigershark. Might keep the fish awake while I party moored out in the sound, but hey, I'm probably not going to get run into in the dark.

    Forgot the picture... There.
  7. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 8,553
    Likes: 500, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Tangerine seems the most visible to me, but I have a degree of colour-blindness so it is a subjective thing to some extent.
  8. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
    Posts: 4,862
    Likes: 115, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1180
    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Glowfast photoluminous paint and tapes are effective on sails as well as for marking safety equipment, grab bags, seacock handles, escape routes, ignition circuits, ......and could be used on hull cove stripes for visibility enhancement.

    Attached Files:

  9. TeddyDiver
    Joined: Dec 2007
    Posts: 2,578
    Likes: 120, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1650
    Location: Finland/Norway

    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Defineatly black... Day time from a distance all colours fade away. In darkness only lights work..
  10. Schoonner
    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 388
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 38
    Location: Washington State USA

    Schoonner Senior Member

    Yeah, glowfast paint additive

    Looks like that might do it. It would probably look awesome over black and light blue or yellow. It might make yellow cover better. You never know. It is $60.00 for 500 grams so It is probably cost-prohibitive.
  11. bertho
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 181
    Likes: 5, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 59
    Location: asean archipelago

    bertho bertho

    Just surprisingly notice the most easy fishing pot flag we see from far away are black color .! and any thing with reflector solas tape by night.
    nice looking boat so ! :)
  12. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 5,594
    Likes: 252, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2489
    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Attached Files:

    1 person likes this.
  13. Village_Idiot
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 382
    Likes: 14, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 138
    Location: USA

    Village_Idiot Senior Member

    Survival suits are orange (with black trim and reflective tape) (as are most USCG and commercial life jackets).

    Most marker buoys are orange or a combination of white/orange.

    For a high-vis paint scheme, I'd go with black/orange banding with reflective tape added in strategic places.

    For a terrestrial application, there was a study done a while back that showed white motorcycle helmets were noticed significantly more than any other color of helmet.

    And to get further off-topic, there was a study (actually a whole string of studies done over the decades) that indicates that people do not see what they don't expect to see. IOW, it is very easy to miss something that is extraordinarily out of the ordinary. The most famous of these studies have people counting the number of passes that ball players are making, while a woman in a red dress walks through the background, and in another study a gorilla with an umbrella walks through the background; yet, the observers don't see them because they aren't looking for them. I mostly paid attention to this research because it helps to explain why, in so many automobile/motorcycle accidents, the auto driver claims they never saw the motorcycle (interesting to me since I am a motorcyclist). However, in a vain attempt to bring this back on-topic, people scanning the horizon at sea are generally looking for something out of the ordinary, especially if they are a rescue team. :p
  14. Tiny Turnip
    Joined: Mar 2008
    Posts: 666
    Likes: 131, Points: 43, Legacy Rep: 743
    Location: Huddersfield, UK

    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Hoyt - I didn't know about the Broighter boat at all - that is *just exquisite!* Thankyou!

  15. Schoonner
    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 388
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 38
    Location: Washington State USA

    Schoonner Senior Member

    Looks like this boat has it all. white and orange with black sails. I've never seen black sails before. If the black sails were dyed with luminous paint additive, you might never see the additive because the black absorbs everything in the daytime. That would probably look awesome at night!!

    ACWS cats are mainly black. The black and red boats look sharper than the white which I think white adds to the glare of the scene and colors relax the eyes. These guys are doin' it right. =0)
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.