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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Tri-color Steaming masthead light as only nav light?
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Thread: Tri-color Steaming masthead light as only nav light? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-18-2011 01:53 PM
SlowButSteady
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
According to the data on the USCG website, when a sailboat is under power, an all round white light is only legal in international waters.
Dang. I was about to say that.

Inland rules differ from the COLREGS in only a very few ways, but this happens to be one of them. You might also not that a small white light is much harder to see against a background of shore lights than are red and green nav lights (which are plenty hard enough to pick out, at times).
09-18-2011 01:45 PM
MarkSF
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
Clever. The only problem I see is that you would be displaying motor boat lights when you are strictly sailing if you have to run your engine to charge the batteries. So you'd lose your sailboat right-of way during charging. Also, in a race, your competitors might take this to mean you are using auxiliary propulsion and therefore abandoning/disqualified. Aside from this, I can see some advantages.
According to the data on the USCG website, when a sailboat is under power, an all round white light is only legal in international waters.
09-18-2011 10:41 AM
celenoglu The rules are clear enough for location of lights and their visibility angles. And the rules state that they shouldbe visible from some distance which varies with boat length.

The problem with leds is that they do not emit lights withthe same spectrum of normal bulbs. Although the illumination measured with a meter is equal or mre than a filament bulb they are not visible to the human eye. If youreally want to be seen make sure your leds are accepted by your authorities. all leds are not the same and I can not spot some of the leds in sea although they are very close.
09-18-2011 10:15 AM
junkrig Part of this confusion is strictly semantic.
  • A masthead steaming light in sailing terms does not indicate a light at the top of the mast, although that is permissible;
  • a masthead light (for steaming) can be on any stick at least a meter above the side lights.
  • Deck level lights can be mounted on the deck, or
  • Deck level lights can be mounted on the cabin sides at any height, as long as they are 1 meter below "masthead" steaming light.
  • Although red-and-green nav lights are often mounted on the bow in a combined fixture, this is only "permitted", not required, and is not even permitted on larger vessels.
  • The fixture at the top of the mast is known as the "tricolor" light, not the "masthead" light. See previous definition of "masthead" light.
  • Aside from the tricolor, the red and green lights are always known as side lights, whether mounted at the bow, on the side decks, or on the cabin sides.
  • The anchor light can be at the top of the mast, without regard to the proximity to the tricolor light, because the tricolor light will be off while at anchor.
09-17-2011 08:43 PM
mitiempo I would install the red/green lower, on the bow rail if you have one ideally so as to be high enough to be seen easily and never be obscured by a sail. A stern is required as well when under sail. Under power an all round white light can take the place of the steaming light and stern light, but not under sail.

While it is true you only need a white light as you are under 7 meters as soon as you start using red/green lights all other lighting rules apply as if you are over 7 meters.
09-17-2011 08:03 PM
Tuna Driver
Needed Lighting

Perithead, like ourselves, needs no lights other than an electric torch or lantern while sailing at night as we are under 7 meters. To power, only an all around white light is required. That said, I'm putting a 360 white mast top light with side lights below. We have ancient cabin side lights that love to grab the jib sheet while racing. I am thinking of putting the 135degree side lights just above or below the spreaders on the mast itself. I've not seen this done, but it seems reasonable for visibility under any conditions. The lights are obscured now by the jib and in any case would cause it to glow the correct color on the leeward side. Any thoughts on this? BTW I did email the USCG about this very thread subject some time ago. Silence.

Tuna Driver
08-20-2009 09:48 PM
seafrontiersman You could also just hoist an all-round light at the masthead using a halyard. I saw this in good old boat and it works for me! Good luck!
07-21-2009 12:34 PM
sailingSammy A tricolor light is not a substitue for a steaming light or an anchor light.
07-21-2009 12:28 PM
JohnRPollard
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miceal1 View Post
Where does one order the tri-color masthead light? There's one in Portland OR at West Marine but its very expensive -- and I don't wish to do business with West (getcha) Marine anyway.

From a guy that is mostly offshore sailing.
SailNet seems to carry it:

Tri-Color Masthead Light

Try calling them directly.

If not SailNet, I expect Defender would carry it.
07-21-2009 11:37 AM
Miceal1 Where does one order the tri-color masthead light? There's one in Portland OR at West Marine but its very expensive -- and I don't wish to do business with West (getcha) Marine anyway.

From a guy that is mostly offshore sailing.
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