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Jonathan316 07-04-2004 07:27 AM

When use mast strobe light?
Realized that I do not understand the proper use of a strobe as part of a masthead light. I thought the strobe was an ''emergency only'' device, used much like flares only to indicate distress.

But now I''ve seen two references to single-handers leaving the strobe on at night to supplement their radar deflectors as warning or "see me" devices for passing ships.

So what is the proper use and intention of a masthead stobe light?


GordMay 07-04-2004 07:55 AM

When use mast strobe light?
There is NO legal and proper use and intention for a masthead stobe light, unless your mast is tall enough to present a hazard to aircraft :).

geohan 07-04-2004 09:11 AM

When use mast strobe light?
Isn''t the exception that one may use a strobe or any other means to attract attention in an emergency?

Jonathan316 07-04-2004 10:44 AM

When use mast strobe light?
Not a challenge Gordon, but how come folks like Aqua Signal offer it as a standard option/upgrade for their series 40 tri-color nav lights? They even charge an extra like $150 for it added to their generic tri-color/anchor light setup.

GordMay 07-05-2004 12:49 AM

When use mast strobe light?
Manufacturers sell Strobe Lights because we will buy them. They are expensive because they cost a lot to make.

We buy them because we think (rightfully) that we may want the brightest, most obvious signal possible, in extreme situations - rules be dammed.

See the COLREGS (Rules 20, 21, & 36)

- Rule 36
Signals to Attract Attention

If necessary to attract the attention of another vessel, any vessel may make light or sound signals that cannot be mistaken for any signal authorized elsewhere in these Rules, or may direct the beam of her searchlight in the direction of the danger, in such a way as not to embarrass any vessel. Any light to attract the attention of another vessel shall be such that it cannot be mistaken for any aid to navigation. For the purpose of this Rule the use of high intensity intermittent or revolving lights, such as strobe lights, shall be avoided.


Sasha_V 07-05-2004 01:31 AM

When use mast strobe light?
Honestly. If I was going to cary a strobe for this kind of emergency signalling, I would carry a completely seperate unit, with independent battery power, that could be hoisted up the mast at will. That way, if I need it because my other powersources have died and I do not have other lights, or my masthead light has been blown off the mast (has been known to happen) or any number of other nasty things have come to pass....well, the strobe can still function, for what that''s worth.

We have a $40 unit that I have attached two hose clamps and rings to. It takes less then 30 seconds to activate and hoist up the mast on its stick in the practice run we have done.
It makes much more sense to me then paying an extra $150 in order to put more weight permanently at the top of your mast, with all the potential for blown bulbs and fried wires that this implies)


GordMay 07-05-2004 02:14 AM

When use mast strobe light?
ASHA said (about portable strobes):"... It takes less then 30 seconds to activate and hoist up the mast on its stick in the practice run we have done..."

That would be 30 sec. after you locate it, and get it & yourself to the halyard. Not a bad "back-up" - but I prefer an instantaneous "See-Me" light.


GordMay 07-05-2004 02:16 AM

When use mast strobe light?
Sorry Sasha, I can''t get this site to accept my updates & edit.

Sasha_V 07-05-2004 02:44 AM

When use mast strobe light?
I guess I have less boat to lose stuff in. I can always find it the strobe (The peronal strobes and the emergency strobe are all in clamps near the companionway). For the instant "oh dear" emergency wheer you want to be seen...there is a lot to be said for the white "see me" flares in the locker next to the helm. Way brighter then a strobe and covered by the col regs with no ambiguity. If I could afford white parachute flares for the emergency kit (in addition to the reds) I probably would have two of those as well.


GordMay 07-05-2004 03:16 AM

When use mast strobe light?
Not to put too fine a point on it - but flares are unambiguously DISTRESS signals (not "hey there, watch out"). You could definately get into trouble misusing flares as a "see me" signal.

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