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post #18 of Old 07-08-2013
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Re: Do you use dinghy lights?

Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Flame on. I have them, but I don't usually turn them on, particularly the white omni directional one, which illuminates inside the dinghy and destroys night vision.

The other night, I was riding back to our mooring after dinner in Edgartown Harbor. I mention the location for those familair with the fairly small harbor that is almost entirely surrounded by homes. It is a crystal clear night and I point out that you can see the outline of the Milky Way in the sky.

With your eyes even slightly adjusted, you can see all the boats from the light coming from the houses alone. Your mooring is going to be between the two shores, even a stinkpotter could figure that out. Granted, another may not see us well, but a collision is impossible to conceive and I do have a light if it was necessary to identify ourselves.

I ask because on our way to our mooring, there is another dinghy with all their lights and a search light on! The are scanning the harbor like they were searching for a lost baby. Naturally the sweep ends up repeatedly in my eyes, ruining my night vision. As they get closer and closer, they find the dastardly target they just knew was lurking in the dark. Us! The dinghy with no lights. Their search light focuses on us like an escaping prisoner at the tree line. I was trying to decide whether to put my hands up or open fire. We are on opposing parallel course passing about 100 ft apart! What the heck are they doing. I have to throttle back, wait for the inquisition to end, regain my night vision and proceed.

The moral.... if you can't see at night, how about not dragging the rest of us down with you. However, I will bet you can see much better with zero light than some may think. In fact, youll be able to see more than just the focus of your search light beam. Old night combat trick was to look about 10 degrees away from what you're trying to see in the dark. Your peripheral sight is much better in the dark than straight on. Try it, you'll be surprised.

Next rant installment from this cruise.... Radio checks on ch 16.

Sorry Minnie you caused the incident. You were traveling unsafe. If your own light blinds you either slow down, or put a plate below the light like we have.
( ours ) is attached to the stern on a strut 4 ft high with a plate under the light so it isn't blinding in the dinghy. We also have a R/G velcroed to the bow

You complain about the boat who lit you up even though you are clearly in the wrong running dark. He had his lights you don't. He can obviously hear another motor (yours) but doesn't know where it is. Doesn't want to run into it. How does he know its a dinghy? Maybe its a fishing boat running dark? Am I missing something here?

The point is not how well you can see in the dark. The point is that you ARE seen in the dark. Not just seen, but your lights identify your direction and if a collision is possible.

To me running dark is irresponsible and an unsafe practice and endangers your boat as well as others. It makes no difference its a dinghy and if I remember correctly you have a large dinghy with a large hp engine.

Arent you as a pilot of an aircraft are you required to have lights on at night in an aircraft flying? Are all aircraft required to or just jets?

I don't advocate those search lights either. However If I head a motor coming at me and I not see any lights I would light you up also. In todays age you lucky people don't think you are running and boarding their boats and don't have a shot gun loaded.

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