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Old 07-08-2013
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Re: Do you use dinghy lights?

I agree with T37Chef about lighting an inflatable. I would love to find a usable set of running lights for our inflatable, so we could be seen by others.
The reality, as mentioned above, is that the all around legal white light blinds the operator of the dink pretty significantly, whereas running w/ sailboat lights (red/green/stern only) is a much more intelligent set up for dinghy operation. You can be seen from any point, your direction is apparent and unless those seeing you and assume you are foiling on an AC 72, you are probably a dinghy.
Of course, when I commuted to work (12 noon to 10 PM) in Charleston in a my dinghy lit as above, I was pulled over by a water cop for improper lighting. "I couldn't see you" was his comment. "Funny, did you stop me because you are telepathic?" I wanted to reply, but didn't (I was older and wiser then). Explaining about the all around light blinding me (lots of crab buoys in Charleston Harbor) fell on deaf ears. No ticket, but a truly unpleasant experience.
Here in the West Indies the only place we have to worry about being legally lit (or carrying anchor, life jackets, etc.) is in the USVI, and it doesn't matter if you are a US boat or not, by the way. Every other country leaves these decisions in your hands and I suppose if you get hurt it will be your responsibility, too.
All that being said, I would very much like to be, at the very least, lit with a red/green that was convenient. The engine mounted lights, as mentioned above, are often obscured by the occupants of the dink and usually get broken pretty quickly. Any non-mounted pole set up will vanish from your dink in a day or two unless you want to lug it around every time you go ashore.
We do all right presently, using a flashlight with a lit handle, but you can't even imagine the unlit dinghy traffic at night down here, in some of the most popular anchorages.
There are a lot of creative folks on this forum; how about someone coming up with an LED red/green set up that uses the 3 triple A battery cartridge or one A that we can put together from easily found parts and is small enough to put in my girlfriend's purse.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.

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