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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Why a flashing light at the top of the mast?
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Thread: Why a flashing light at the top of the mast? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-30-2008 05:06 PM
Pamlicotraveler We have a strobe and consider it an emergency light, but I would use it in heavy fog.

I used it once to guide someone to our anchorage after dark one time....oh, wait a minute - that wasn't me. That was someone I know
07-30-2008 04:07 PM
speciald I used mine once while leaving Newport at 3AM in near zero visibility. I was shepherding a number of boats that didn't have radar and trying to keep them close but not too close to me. I lighted the strobe so that perhaps they would see me before they hit me. May have been illegal but who else could have seen it and reported me?
07-30-2008 03:57 PM
SteveInMD I could very well have it backwards. I installed the version without the strobe option.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
Steve,

I'm not an expert on this question, but take a look at Rule 36 and Rule 37. They seem to suggest that exactly the opposite is the case, i.e. the strobe is only permitted as an emergency signal on Inland Waters of the US:

Light Signals - Stobes
07-30-2008 02:03 PM
SEMIJim
Quote:
Originally Posted by capttb View Post
Just to add to the confusion some kayak fisherman in our area have taken to displaying red or green flashing strobes at night. First time I saw one outside the harbor I thought it prudent to hail him & make sure it WASN'T a distress signal.
Having once worked in emergency services in a volunteer capacity (on land), I take an exceedingly dim view of the misuse of flashing lights. I would be registering strenuous complaints with the local marine authorities about that.

Jim
07-30-2008 01:17 PM
capttb Just to add to the confusion some kayak fisherman in our area have taken to displaying red or green flashing strobes at night. First time I saw one outside the harbor I thought it prudent to hail him & make sure it WASN'T a distress signal.
07-30-2008 12:32 PM
Cruisingdad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
The strobe light is under the Inland Rules for distress. There are many devices for distress signaling. They can be use singlely or combined with other distress signals. What ever it takes to get the word out that you are in trouble big time.
You will note that the firefly lights on your life jackets are also strobes, thus this should have indicated what that strobe at the top of the mast is used for. Distress Not Disco dancing
I have noticed that those firefly strobes are easier to see then a steady light from that 1 cell incandenscent life jacket light. Do a couple of MOB drills at night and note the difference. And you will understand why you have that tiny light on your life jacket.
Agreed, Boasun. We hook those on to everyone - especially the kids if out at night. Ours are the water activated. I consider them invalueable. If purchase a masthead light, I too would certainly buy the strobe. Whatever it takes.

- CD
07-30-2008 12:28 PM
Boasun
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveInMD View Post
The rule on strobes is different for US vs international waters. I think an strobe is okay for international distress.
The strobe light is under the Inland Rules for distress. There are many devices for distress signaling. They can be use singlely or combined with other distress signals. What ever it takes to get the word out that you are in trouble big time.
You will note that the firefly lights on your life jackets are also strobes, thus this should have indicated what that strobe at the top of the mast is used for. Distress Not Disco dancing
I have noticed that those firefly strobes are easier to see then a steady light from that 1 cell incandenscent life jacket light. Do a couple of MOB drills at night and note the difference. And you will understand why you have that tiny light on your life jacket.
07-30-2008 12:22 PM
JohnRPollard
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveInMD View Post
The rule on strobes is different for US vs international waters. I think an strobe is okay for international distress.
Steve,

I'm not an expert on this question, but take a look at Rule 36 and Rule 37. They seem to suggest that exactly the opposite is the case, i.e. the strobe is only permitted as an emergency signal on Inland Waters of the US:

Light Signals - Stobes
07-30-2008 12:17 PM
Cruisingdad
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
As I recall, technically there is no time when it is legal for a sailing vessel to use the flashing strobe.

However, some folks like to have the strobe as a signal of last resort -- to make a larger vessel or SAR resources aware of their location when all else fails.
Yeppo.

- CD
07-30-2008 11:01 AM
SteveInMD The rule on strobes is different for US vs international waters. I think an strobe is okay for international distress.
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