Originally Posted by scottyt
lapworth here is
a running thread about legal lights. you might want to read it.
as for the flash light looking running lights for dingy's yes they might work, but only when under power.
there is a lot of misstatements here on lights, alot of people argue the USCG certified lights are the only ones legal. that is not true, it just means that the USCG has looked at and tested them and found them to be bright enough ( and proper viewable angles ) . there are other lights that are bright enough but the CG has not tested em. if i where to strap a 250 watt halogen to my mast as a steaming light, and it had the right viewable angles it would be legal even thou the CG has not tested it.
And this is one of them... since the USCG actually doesn't test lights ever.. they're not responsible for doing so. USCG certified lights means that the lights are tested by independent testing laboratories and found to meet the USCG set standards.... not that the USCG has tested and certified them.
the catch comes in when you use a light that is not certified and something happens. the other person may try to blame it on your lights, you are then behind the 8 ball and need to prove the lights you used where bright enough as for the electric end trying to run a 12 volt bulb on 9 volts would probably barely light the bulb.
Using non-certified lights is fine, until you're involved in a collision. At that point your liability can be increased by the use of non-certified lights. That also means that if you are not at fault, you can be FOUND partially or wholly at fault if you have uncertified lights.
Using 12VDC lights on 9VDC power is a good way to guarantee you'll get borked in court... not only are they not legal, they're also far more likely to cause an accident. The brightness of a light is one way people tend to estimate how far away they are... running 12 VDC lights on 9 VDC means they will be far dimmer than they should be, and may fool someone into thinking your boat is further away than it really is. If the boat you fool is a high-speed ferry or powerboat, the chance of that turning into a serious problem for you is pretty good.
if you dont want to spend as much you could build your own switch panel for around 20 bucks to control the running lights. as you only need 3 switches, running, steaming and anchor. if you dont have a motor you dont need the steaming, and if you dont have an anchor you dont need the anchor light. but i would not want to stop all the extra possible use i could get out of the boat by not having the extra lights. you are a short sail to annapolis, you might someday want to go up and anchor for the night for a romantic dinner. with the wife if you have one.
As for using small battery powered lights, like those meant for dinghies, as long as you keep the batteries fresh, they should meet the whatever requirements they are designed for.
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