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Old 02-12-2009
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Question Identification Lights & Nav Lights on Sailing Vessels

while reviewing the Rules with my students, I started wondering if any one has the optional Identity lights at the top of their masts.
For those who aren't sure of what I'm speaking about, it is the 'All Around Red over Green lights'. Displayed along with your normal navigation lights on deck.
I know when I had asked about the illusive Cone, apex down, that meant that you were under power with your sails up. And not one of you had one on board.
Now are the Red over Green all around lights in use on your sailboat or not??

Note: Can not be used with the combination light at the top of your mast.

So would you use them??

Would you install them??

I would have made it a poll here but my ignorance of starting one is showing.
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Old 02-12-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
...I know when I had asked about the illusive Cone, apex down, that meant that you were under power with your sails up. And not one of you had one on board....
I've got one on board, although it's not required for a boat our size in the waters we normally cruise.

If I were to add additional nav lights beyond the standard deck level lights, I would not add the mast-top tri-color. Instead I would add the "red-over-green-sailing-machine" lights that I could use in combination with the deck-level lights.

I saw a very nice set of "red-over-green" lights on a larger sailboat in Annapolis. They achieved the "all-round" requirement by having a pair of 180 degree lights on each side of the mast. Unfortunately I did not have my camera handy - you don't see them very often.
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Old 02-12-2009
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We have deck level (Actually on the pulpit and stern rail) lights and a masthead tri-color/combination light with anchor and strobe. We run the deck level lights when motoring and the masthead when sailing.

BTW we just converted all to LED

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Old 02-12-2009
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Don't have them but would certainly use them if I did and would consider installing if it could be done without a loose wire making the mast into a windchime.
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Old 02-12-2009
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Idenity lights? Don't have them. Won't get them. No place to put them. Too many amps escaping from the batteries as is.

Cone? Got one. Use, when appropriate.
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Old 02-12-2009
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Red over green - sailing machine.

For those that are concerned about being seen out there I sure would recommend having the combination installed. It is much better to do this than run your anchor and steaming lights along with your deck level bow and stern lights along with your tri-color because "you don't care what the lights mean - you just want to be seen"

Having done a couple of large long distance rallies with over 100 boats I am always amazed at what lights are being shown and when I chat about it with other sailors the most common response is the one I stated. "I just want to be seen"

Your lights should tell the story of who you are and what you are doing - ie sail or power, aground, underway, fishing etc. etc. Generating confusion with an unclear light configuration does not improve safety.

I do have a cone on board and have used it many a mile going north off the coast - engine engaged and main up and sheeted in as a "vertical dacron stabilizer" My fellow mariners then know that I am to be treated as a power driven vessel underway and not a sailing vessel.

This is a bit of a rant but it seems to me that running wrong light combinations reflects poorly on all of us and makes us look stupid to the professionals from whom we would seemingly like some respect.
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Old 02-12-2009
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Can the red over green be seen further away than the masthead tri-color? What's the benefit?
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Old 02-13-2009
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I agree with Billy R
When I'm sailing - tricolour
When I'm motoring - deck level and steaming light.
I don't motor sail much but if I do, same as above.
I'm stingy with my amps and extra lights are not for my boat.
The above setup has worked for me for over 30 years.
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Old 02-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soulesailor View Post
Can the red over green be seen further away than the masthead tri-color? What's the benefit?
Depending on how high you mount them, they could be seen virtually as far as the tri-color.

The benefit is that you can use the red-over-green configuration simultaneous with the deck lights (the Nav Regs do not permit use of the mast-top tri-color at the same time as the deck lights.) By using them simultaneously, you benefit from greater over-all visibility.
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Old 02-13-2009
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I tried to find a commercially made red over green unit to replace the tri-color/anchor light but couldn't find anything. I thought about making something but it ended up at the lower end of the priority list (which grew exponentially) during the refit last year. If there was a factory red over green with an anchor light available (LED) I would definitely install it. The ability to run the deck lights and the red/green at the mast head would add visibility and additional identification (at least to the small number of boaters that know what it means). It drives me nuts when I see a sailboat with both deck and tri-color on, but I can understand the desire to be seen, the red over green would solve the problem.
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