Tri-color Steaming masthead light as only nav light? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-04-2008
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Tri-color Steaming masthead light as only nav light?

I want to replace my6 navigation lights with some LED nav lights. I have read where people have bought a tri-color steaming light(I think thats right) and it mounts at the top of the mast.

Since it has both red and green lights and a white bulb, I was curious if it is legal to only have that one light for all of your nightime needs underway/at anchor.

I think this would be the best way to go LED if you can use that one light for everything. So can I?
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Old 02-04-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perithead View Post
I want to replace my6 navigation lights with some LED nav lights. I have read where people have bought a tri-color steaming light(I think thats right) and it mounts at the top of the mast.

Since it has both red and green lights and a white bulb, I was curious if it is legal to only have that one light for all of your nightime needs underway/at anchor.

I think this would be the best way to go LED if you can use that one light for everything. So can I?

Perithead, If you were only going to sail at night, it would be legal to only have the tri-color light. But the tri-color will not satisfy your anchor-light requirements, nor will it satisfy the requirements for operating under power at night.

So the answer to your question "I was curious if it is legal to only have that one light for all of your nightime needs underway/at anchor?", as SailingDog emphatically indicates later in this thread, is "NO."

Also, even if you were only going to sail at night, most folks who install a mast-head tri-color retain their deck level running lights for coastal and near shore sailing, because the tri-color light at the top of your mast is difficult to see at close range and when competing with other lights such as background shore-clutter.

Also, you MAY NOT legally use both the masthead tri-color and the deck level lights simultaneously. You must choose one or the other based on the sailing conditions or circumstances.

However, another option is to install an all-round "red-over-green" mast head light in lieu of the tri-color. This light can be used simultaneously with the deck level lights, but not while steaming.

Last edited by JohnRPollard; 02-04-2008 at 07:13 PM. Reason: Clarification, thanks to subsequent respondants
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Old 02-04-2008
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Thanks John for the quick reply.

Well the bowrail lights were stolen off of my boat and I am thinking that if I buy LED bow lights then they would be at a greater risk of being stolen due to their high price. So if I think I will go for just the mast-head tri-color light for that reason.

Since this light does have three different colors will I need to switch the red and green lights off when I am at anchor? If so then would that mean that the light isnt wired up the same way as a normal light? Becuase I would think I would have to have some specail way to switch them off. Or, can I just leave the red and green on when I am at anchor?

Thanks again.
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Old 02-04-2008
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John has answered your question, I will tell you that I have come up on a vessel in a congested water way and never saw him (untill I saw the shadow of his hull) because he was displaying the tri-colored mast head lights. When in shore, most of us are looking at deck level. you don't look up thirty, forty, fifty feet in the air when looking for traffic in harbors or near shore.
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Rule 25 of the International Regulations for the Prvention of Collisions at Sea covers this question. Here is a link:
http://www.sailtrain.co.uk/Irpcs/rule25.htm

Gaz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perithead View Post
Since this light does have three different colors will I need to switch the red and green lights off when I am at anchor? If so then would that mean that the light isnt wired up the same way as a normal light? Becuase I would think I would have to have some specail way to switch them off. Or, can I just leave the red and green on when I am at anchor?

Thanks again.
Perithead,

If you get a tri-color light, you should get the version which also incorporates an anchor light above the tricolor running light. If you only get the tri-color running light arrangement, you will turn all three lights (red-port, green-starboard, white-stern) on and off with one switch.
You cannot legally re-wire it to have it double as an anchor light, since the stern white light cannot be seen from 360 degrees.
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So, if I had them all wired to one switch then would I still be legal at anchor?
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Old 02-04-2008
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You can get a tri-color with anchor light in one assembly. They are two, stacked units in one. There are two-wire versions (they reverse polarity to select the anchor light or the tri-color) and three-wire versions (which usually use two separate switchs).

Note that the tri-color is only legal when you are under sail. When powering, you must use deck-level lights and your steaming light (part-way up the mast).
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Old 02-04-2008
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Was going to mention what Auspicious did, while noting LED deck level nav lights aren't really necessary since you'll be under power when using them anyway.
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I don't see anywhere in the Collision Regulations that stipulates that the lights have to be at deck level when under power. Rule 23 refers:
http://www.sailtrain.co.uk/Irpcs/rule23.htm
There may be local rules or inland rules, but the International ColRegs normally trump everything but Inland rules, or every vessel would have to have different light setup for different countries.

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