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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 07-26-2014
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Re: Electrical Upgrades

Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
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...
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-Maine Sail / CS-36T

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 07-26-2014 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 07-27-2014
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Re: Electrical Upgrades

I hear you, Maine. Our judicial system is far from perfect, even if it is better than many others. USSC Justice Learned Hand said many years ago something to the effect that if the courts do not give a man reasonable ways to gain justice, they should not be surprised if he finds other ways to get it.

How a country can be so blasť about alcohol and so uptight about pot, just goes to prove how well Prohibition tied organized crime into politics and big business.
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Old 07-27-2014
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Re: Electrical Upgrades

Drunk speed boat hits 5 in sailboat in Seattle, Kills a girl. Doubt if lights would have helped.but courts will decide cupability Good thing he wasn't smoking dope.

Last edited by Capt Len; 07-28-2014 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 08-02-2014
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Re: Electrical Upgrades

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program still in progress...

Continuing this series, this week's post on my blog is about Complete rewiring using ABYC E-11 as guidelines.

This included a new panel, MRBF fuse, ground bus bar, and a neat accessory panel near the companionway.

In the post, I also discuss where to run the new wiring aft as well as forward and traversing the hull.

If you have an older boat, you might want to take a close look at your wiring. It might look like this:

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