Hey Maine, tonight I'm the lawyer for the powerboat. I say your boat was 34 years old and you hadn't changed the light bulb or cleaned the contacts in the USCG Approved Fixture for over ten years, so even though it was USCG Approved my client didn't see it because it was deficient, and anyway, your batteries were low and your ground wire was corroded so the light was too dim to meet COLREGS even if the fixture was approved.
Now what so you do?
It doesn't make any difference if your fixture was approved, the light can still be insufficient to meet COLREGS for many reasons, and any good attorney, or an evil one, will quickly hold that against you anyway.
So let's stuff the regulatory terrorism where it belongs, let the iPhone owners who are scared to change their batteries or tires worry about it. If you're sailing a boat and you have any awareness of COLREGS, what you want to do is turn on the lights, swim out three miles, and see if you can see the lights. Seen 'em? Good, you're in compliance. Can't see 'em? OK, screw the approval, you've got a problem and you're not in compliance.
Really. That's why COLREGS is written that way.
iPhone owners can hire a professional surveyor to perform the same procedure for them.(G)
Don't laugh this is exactly what the lawyers tried in the death case involving my friends father. It took a forensics expert to prove lights were on and could be seen. The defenses entire case was based on his stern light.. Drunk a-hole still got a hand slap and minimal jail time & now he's out and Kim's dad is still deceased..
Lovely legal system we have, get drunk, blast across lake at high rate of speed, at night, and run over a boat that was perfectly leagal and no one aboard was drunk and get what essentially amounts to a slap on the wrist... If it was proven the light could not be seen, was too dim etc. the guy would have likely done no jail time at all...
BTW I am sitting on the hook now with about 30 +/- other boats, not in a designated anchorage, and I count just 6 anchor lights including ours.. Four are crazy bright and very visible and the other two appear to be solar garden lights which really skew depth perception..
I would MUCH rather the other 24+/- boats here had aftermarket LED's as any light is better than none at all...