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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 07-15-2008
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nav light question

I am trying to save some electrical breaker space. I bought a small navigation panel with 4 switches to control the nav lights. Now with this new switch I have some questions,

the panel has 4 switches

Running
Mast head
steaming
anchor light


mast head- would be my tricolor sailing light
Anchor-is the anchor light

What is the differance between Running and steaming lights??


What am I missing, or am I thinking to much?

I know you all will set me right. Many thanks Al
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Old 07-15-2008
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Steaming light is used when the engine is in use, no matter if sails are up or not. In combination with the running lights, bow & stern it will provide a 360 white light.

Alone, the running lights wouldn't provide the white light 360 degrees needed while under engine power.
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Last edited by T37Chef; 07-15-2008 at 05:19 PM.
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hope this helps

USCG rule 25 depending on the length of your vessel you can use a tricolor at the top of the mast for running while you are under sail, if you use the engine under sail you must display a steaming light or another name is mast head light. The mast head light is displayed 225degrees in the front of the mast near the midsection of the mast. The anchor light is displayed 360 degrees at the top of the mast for when you are at anchor. For a better picture page 454 in the West Marine catalog will show this.
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I am still confused, Sorry.
So under power I am to display a 360 light?? what about the mast and stern light??

I may be wrong, but from my understanding, the tri color is for sailing. If under engine power I would then use my Bow lights along with my forward mast and stern white light.

Running- would be just bow and stern light???
Mast head- is for sailing (tri color)?
steaming- is for under power, Bow, stern and mast light?
anchor light- is for at anchor

I am trying to get this right. Many thanks Al
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So as I under stand what you are saying. I would wire the switch as follows.

Running--- to the bow, port starbord light

Mast head-----to the mast tricolor light

steaming------to the light displayed 225degrees in the front of the mast near the midsection of the mast and the stern light.

anchor light ----- to the anchor 360 light

Am I getting close yet??? Thanks again Al
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No, the stern white light should be wired with the bow green/red light. The steaming light independent as well as the masthead tri color.
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Thanks T37Chef, That makes more sense. Thanks for the quick answers Al
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Navigation Rules Online
COLREGS online, free, from the USCG.
Rule 25a requires you to have sidelights AND A STERN LIGHT and those three would all be hooked up as "running lights". Whether the side lights and stren light are low down, or combined in a masthead tri, is up to you. But all three lights would be "the running lights".
That might or might not be the "masthead light", remember that panel is an attempt at "one size fits all" and many panels get relabelled.
You might use the anchor and steaming lights as they are labelled, and if you have a fourth lighting switch unused, many of us use it for a downlight (deck light) that is part of a combination steaming light/deck light mounted in one fixture on the front of the mast.
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I will do that, I think I was having trouble with the terminology.
Sailortjk1 no need to remove, I just hadnot responded yet, but your response was helpfull to me, But I was still confused. But thanks for your help. Al
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