Originally Posted by mitiempo
Keep in mind that if a powerboater did ram you at night his lawyer wouldn't be doing their job without investigating your lights. If they were found to not be approved lights at least a portion of the blame would be yours, if not all. And after that your insurance company, and maybe the powerboaters insurance company, wouldn't even have to write a cheque for your damage and injuries.
Trilights are useful well offshore but shouldn't be used in congested waters for the reason you give - people look ahead, not up.
I have considered this, and I assure you that they'll just cook up some other excuse to pin the blame on me, if I'm running 100% USCG approved fixtures.
Before LED's were readily available, I'm certain that many boaters replaced blown incandescent bulbs with improper bulbs- Lower wattage or higher wattage bulbs that just happened to fit the socket, either willfully or accidentally. How many boaters are using red/green fixtures that are 30+ years old, and faded to the point of emitting a poor color, even though the fixture is USCG approved, and using the approved bulb?
I wonder how many of them were hauled into court and lost over it? How many accidents has this caused, really?
Maine Sail's tale of the festoon LED that vibrated itself out of position is valid. All I can tell you, is that I take care to mitigate problems like this. I check color, intensity and arc of visibility, and I regularly check my lights for proper operation. That's more than most recreational boaters do.