Required nav lights for a small sailboat?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by DennisRB, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

    Something unmentioned so far-

    Learn how to use others lights to determine heading relative to yours and keep in practice.

    It's simple enough to swing the correct bright lights on your own vessel. The challenge I have always found is in trying to keep track of all the other boats, lit buoys, chart work etc and still manage to keep under way safely towards your destination.
     
  2. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    A very good light for small craft operating in busy waters is the Tri color anchor Strobe.

    The well known is the series 40 aqua signal...several other manufacturers.

    The strobe light may save your life when hove to in the vicinity of traffic and the tri gives max visabilty at sea.

    As for general lighting..... two sets are the norm for safe operation. Deck level running lights for ease of maintence and the masthead tricolor for max visabilty.

    Narurally a sailing vessel needs a steaming light under power.

    The forespar combo deck illumination steaming light is the industry standard for small craft.
     

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  3. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Agree about the AquaSignal.. but strobes :eek: I will shoot if I see one on a boat (and in the dark no one will know who it was..)
     
  4. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    TO my mind the purpose of the light is to show your presence , demanding your legal right of way over big vessels (or expecting it from pleasure palaces) is unwise.

    Personally I would install the white 360 deg light , as allowed on the 7 meter boats.

    With no colors to go thru (with 80-90% loss) the white all around will be seen miles further,
    A 10W will out shine a 25V bulb with color lenses.

    On seeing a white light it could be a stern light , its avoided,
    it could be an anchored vessel its avoided.

    On ocean passages we (in company with other boats) have found the white to be far better than any colored lights of any mfg..

    I don't want to demand the 1000ft container ship do anything except not run me down.

    To do that he MUST see me.A radar reflector helps him plot that we are not intercepting , I always give way with a massive course change he can easily see.No big deal, in 10 min he is gone.

    My tiny speed , compared to the commercials 20K-28K does not make me fear that he would avoid a 7meter boat , but crash into the stern of our 10 meter boat at hull speed.

    Legally I am wrong , but at sea to BE SEEN is best.

    Running inshore we do use conventional lighting , but 4 x 25W bulbs are not a big deal on a short trip.

    "The strobe light may save your life when hove to in the vicinity of traffic"

    Any strobe light is an emergency distress signal , do you want to be sent a rescue helicopter or removed from the boat?

    Or have a ferry stop to assist?

    FF
     
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    "Any strobe light is an emergency distress signal , do you want to be sent a rescue helicopter or removed from the boat?

    Or have a ferry stop to assist? "


    Naw... When things are looking bad I fire off the colour RED. RED is distress. The colour White is Attention !!!!!!!!!!! The classic example are long line bouys.

    You may call attention with white flares, but they are expensive and dangerous.


    Far better to illiminate the strobe and say.. attention.

    The radar reflection of a small craft is poor...in 8 meter waves you are compltely hidden.

    When operating under difficult inshore conditions with heavy backround light pollution your running lights are useless.

    A strobe light , illuminated whenever you feel threatened by traffic or feel that you must announce your position, is good seamanship.
     
  6. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    It's bad and irresponsible behaviour.. can be expected from yellow lubbers. If someone feels so threatened better to stay away from shipping lines instead.
     
  7. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Big, bright, legal running lights are a must. BERTIE's Aqua Signal bulbs were swapped for LED equivalents and seem quite a bit brighter than before, while using less than a quarter of the wattage. Yes, a bright white can be seen and is always avoided by the prudent, but one cannot make a heading/course/speed judgment about the illegally lit vessel and may make a poor decision as a result. I too, make a big course change to let a ship know I see him and am giving way, but first he must know who/what I am so he does the right thing too.
    Both in the USCG, on tugs, on fishing boats and historic sailing replicas, I have spent a large part of my life close in-shore to metropolitan areas with bad light pollution and have found that a good pair of binoculars with an internal bearing compass is a great tool. If I see a suspicious light/shadow/whatever, a quick bearing over the steering compass is taken, then the binos are steadied on that bearing and you know you're looking in the right place so don't waste time.
    So many times I have seen: sidelights combined with masthead, steaming and stern while under sail, sidelights only, spreader lights only, and best of all several times- reversed sidelights with red on stbd and green on port installed by someone who just didn't understand what the f they were doing.
    While out on the water showing only a bright white masthead light, there may be others besides big ships who need to make decisions about your course too, like an unlit yahoo going fast while drinking his last beer out of the 12 pack. It's very hard to tell how far off a single light is, while seeing the sidelights with it gives depth perception.
     
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  8. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    What the hell is that headed towards us?

    Some boats operating in crowded areas may also carry a yellow flashing beacon for added visibility during day or night.

    A hovercraft must display an all-round flashing yellow light.

    A wing-in-ground craft must display a bright all-round flashing red light when taking off, landing, or flying near the surface.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:A-90_Orlyonok_1.JPG

    Surprisingly; from Wikipedia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intern..._Collisions_at_Sea#Part_C_-_Lights_and_shapes
     
  9. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I know light combinations well....I have spent my whole life at sea in small craft.
     
  10. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    When I see a flashing strobe on a small cruiser craft at sea, I assume it means "All hands fast asleep." It also means I may have an opportunity to offload all my cruising trash if I can manage an intercept.:D

    If you are setting up lights for the first time on a boat, DONT GET CREATIVE. The lights must describe what you are and what you are doing. Keep them as standard as possible. I consider a decklevel set of lights essential for their ease of maintenance. A tricolor masthead, if desired, should be independently switched and fused. Same for steaming. Same for anchor light. The simple, three position push-pull switch setup used on skiffs isn't going to work for you. I'd also encourage you to add a receptacle for a plug-in 2 to 3 million candlepower handheld searchlight.
     
  11. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Fishermen off the west coast of the US also sleep with all deck lights ablaze and a strobe going. The smart ones also have 'red over red' lights indicating not under command.
    'Red over green' instantly shows you are a vessel under sail and I'm surprised it is not more used. The sailing mega-yachts that pass through usually have this set-up with pairs of fixed 180 degree lights both sides of the mainmast up high, giving 360 red over green.
     
  12. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    A small craft is not required to fit any.... red over red ,the captain is dead .... situation lights.


    A small crafts primary line of defense is visibility. Masthead running lights, an effective Radar reflector and a strobe light greatly aid visibility.
     
  13. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    No, I was mentioning 'red over green - sailing machine', and it is not required but instantly says what you are. Big radar reflector and anything that can get attention, strobe, searchlight, whatever obviously to keep from being run down. I knew a guy shot out the pilot house windows on a Taiwanese ship that seemed to have no one at the helm. Don't know if it got their attention or not. He was becalmed in broad daylight and unable to maneuver, and he opened up with his rusty 30-30 as they missed him by 20 feet. They just kept on. Must have been a surprise when the watch came back on the bridge.
     
  14. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    And if he ain't dead he might be soon.. The point lies in the fact that a small craft isn't dangerous for commercial ones.. so not using legal lights and putting a bouyo light instead... good luck:rolleyes:
     

  15. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    You guys will argue for some time I suspect but it's all there in black and white in the collision regulations.

    Sorry to interupt, as you were.

    -Tom
     
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