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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #11  
Old 01-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Because the standards by which nav lights are built is not published in the COLREG's it is in the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations). You, as a used boat owner, are NOT required to have "certified" nav lights or install them UNLESS you are a boat builder. If you buy a new boat in the US it WILL have certified nav lights of the builder broke federal regulations.

If you are a builder you must use USCG/ABYC A-16 nav lights properly installed and placed for proper visibility. All USCG certified or ABYC A-16 lights will meet the minimum standards as set forth by the CFR. This is what labs like IMANNA use when testing nav lights to USCG/CFR nav light standards..
Ah, thanks for that MaineSail.
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Old 01-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HVVega View Post
...Next time in a dark anchorage look at the other boats mast head lights and you will see what he's talking about right away. Meggi once mistook one for Venus and was waiting for it to get a bit higher so she could practice with the sextant.
While I have no doubt that Meggi once mistoook an LED anchor light for Venus, realize that you were both anchored, and therefore not likely to collide with the other vessel.

Bubblehead has it right, in that if another vessel confuses your LED steaming light with a star, they are within the 135° arc, while overtaking you.

Quote:
Rule 13;
(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules of Part B, Sections I and II any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.

(b) A vessel shall be deemed to be overtaking when coming up with another vessel from a direction more than 22.5 degrees abaft her beam, that is, in such a position with reference to the vessel she is overtaking, that at night she would be able to see only the sternlight of that vessel but neither of her sidelights.
Unless they are approaching you from directly (±5°) behind, the LED stern light should appear to move much more rapidly than a star. Regardless, the LED stern light should appear BELOW the horizon, and well below the plane of visible stars.

This does, however, provide a good argument for investing in an AIS class B transponder....
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Old 01-25-2011
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I'd point out that anyone stupid enough to mistake an LED sternlight, which is usually near deck level, for a star, that nothing you do will make you safe from them.

There's a bit more slack regarding steaming lights, since they're mounted higher up, but the big STICK should give them a clue that it ain't a star.

The masttop anchor lights are probably the most likely to be confused for a star accidentally, and the bluer coloration of many of the LED anchor lights, even the USCG approved ones, does tend to make one mis-estimate their distance.
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Old 01-25-2011
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LED Colors

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
…Further, the only time an anchor light or a steaming light should "look like a star" to a helmsman, is during a zero bearing rate (head-on) collision situation, where the light presents the illusion of not moving. In any other crossing scenario, the light will be moving across the helmsman's field of view rapidly enough to differentiate it from a star.

Look, this argument is as old as the hills. People have complained for years about how anchor and steaming lights look like streetlights and automobile lights when compared against the shoreline. There's always going to be an excuse as to why a skipper didn't see someone or suffered a collision.
LED comes in a variety of colors: yellow, incandescent white, pale white, cool white, super lime yellow that are white or off white.
LED Color Chart
An off white LED would be better if it can help differentiate from the background white colors because the zero bearing (head-on) situations at night are really dangerous. The running light will not move against the background and the mind will be looking for something that is moving. I would think anything that would differentiate a running light from the background with a bit of color shift from the normal LED white used on running lights would help.
Unfortunately a rotating beacon or strobe not would be a good idea as it is against Rule 36, Signals to Attract Attention states: 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 say 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 light shall be avoided. The prohibition of strobes does not apply to Inland Rule. For inland rules a white flashing light from 50 to 70 times per minute is a distress signal.
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Old 01-25-2011
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COLREGS Annex I (9)(b)(i):

All-round lights shall be so located as not to be obscured by masts, topmasts or structures within angular sectors of more than 6 degrees, except anchor lights prescribed in Rule 30, which need not be placed at an impracticable height above the hull.


In other words, hanging an LED lantern as an anchor light well above the deck (e.g., halfway up the forestay) is kosher.
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Old 01-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post

In other words, hanging an LED lantern as an anchor light well above the deck (e.g., halfway up the forestay) is kosher.
And it beats having to climb the mast to change the anchor light.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
There's a bit more slack regarding steaming lights, since they're mounted higher up, but the big STICK should give them a clue that it ain't a star.
It is likely that at night another vessel may not be able to see the mast, but they sure as hell should be able to see the running lights.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
And it beats having to climb the mast to change the anchor light.
Not only that, but it makes the anchor light much more likely to be seen at close range. A little light perched 40, 60, 80' up, on the top of a mast, is often easy to miss from other boats moving around in an anchorage (e.g., other boats looking for a place to anchor, and tenders). Additionally, a lantern will often light up the deck a bit, making the boat even more visible at very close range (as well as making it unnecessary to carry a flashlight when moving around on deck in the middle of a moonless night).
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So when is it appropriate to energize the spreader lights??
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I would the spreader lights to anchor at night. That is about it. Even then I would be reluctant to do so.

They are so bright that using them while sailing or when getting ready to sail would affect night vision. It takes about 20 minutes to get your accustomed to the dark.

You should not use lights that could be confused for navigation lights.
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