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post #44 of Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

For the average, recreational boater, this topic is so over-hyped.

When I think of how many recreational boaters I see on the Chesapeake Bay running with no lights, partial lights, or improper lighting configurations (anchor light on while steaming, etc), I just feel grateful when I see a vessel displaying some shade of red, green and/or white. While I can often tell the difference between and incandescent bulb and an LED, I don't flip out and call the USCG or the NRP because the color wavelength is slightly different from an LED.

As a sailor, I'm probably far more likely to be rammed by a powerboater because I'm running a masthead tri-color or masthead anchor light instead of deck-level lights vs. being rammed because my LED colors aren't "perfectly" aligned with old, incandescent bulb colors.

I installed colored LED's in my incandescent, Attwood deck fixtures, and verified that they could be seen over the proper arc of visibility. I laughed when I installed a USCG-Approved, AquaSignal LED, transom mounted stern light and observed that the color was more of a pure, brilliant white than the "warm white" of an incandescent bulb.

I really am done worrying about this. I'll take the lesser evil of running a non-USCG approved LED that displays the proper color over the proper arc of visibility vs. sailing in rough water at night and having an incandescent bulb blow out when I can't easily replace it.

How many sailboats do you see at night with dark anchor lights because they don't get up the rig to replace the bulb? I'd rather they display a slightly off-color LED that works 99% of the time, vs a blown incandescent.

1981 Tartan 33 #168
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