Given the Texas heat the last few weeks, we've done more and more evening sailing; usually getting back to dock well after dark. I'm developing a new pet peeve about the larger power boats with car-like headlights, that keep them on all the time. I am routinely dazzled by these, with requisite loss of night vision.
But worse is, I can't imagine they have much chance of seeing my running lights with the backscatter from their big flame throwers--or have any night vision to speak of themselves.
Are there any regulations on the use of spotlights or headlights underway, outside of the normal navigation light rules?
I have had the experience at night more than once of a power driven vessel coming at me with their spotlight on and other times with their so-called docking lights on; just as bad. I lost my night vision being dazzled by the oncoming boat which was "up on plane" as they are wont to say. It has never occurred to these fellows to maybe slow down if they aren't sure where they're going. To answer the question,however, it is not legal to use the searchlight or those new "docking lights" as headlights while underway in the normal course of navigating your vessel. Boats don't have headlights. I did have the distinct pleasure of observing one of these unknowing, unschooled moto-boto tyros "pulled over" by the marine police for navigating at night this way. Once, I was present when a new run-about owner told the salesman that they couldn't see while out the previous evening. The red and green "headlight" just wasn't bright enough. YES, this is a pet peeve. Anyway,......
I seems that very people, both power and sail, know (or show) the proper lights at night. As written above, I see power boats with giant white lights shining all over, sailboats with anchor lights on while sailing, sailboats motoring without steaming lights, motorboats anchored and fishing with NO lights, etc.
I like to sail at night and fortunately my area is not crowded at night. I keep a real careful lookout and nothing surprises me.
unfortunately, stupidity is pretty rampant.
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