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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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  #51  
Old 09-25-2013
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Keep in mind that if a powerboater did ram you at night his lawyer wouldn't be doing their job without investigating your lights. If they were found to not be approved lights at least a portion of the blame would be yours, if not all. And after that your insurance company, and maybe the powerboaters insurance company, wouldn't even have to write a cheque for your damage and injuries.

Trilights are useful well offshore but shouldn't be used in congested waters for the reason you give - people look ahead, not up.
I have considered this, and I assure you that they'll just cook up some other excuse to pin the blame on me, if I'm running 100% USCG approved fixtures.

Before LED's were readily available, I'm certain that many boaters replaced blown incandescent bulbs with improper bulbs- Lower wattage or higher wattage bulbs that just happened to fit the socket, either willfully or accidentally. How many boaters are using red/green fixtures that are 30+ years old, and faded to the point of emitting a poor color, even though the fixture is USCG approved, and using the approved bulb?

I wonder how many of them were hauled into court and lost over it? How many accidents has this caused, really?

Maine Sail's tale of the festoon LED that vibrated itself out of position is valid. All I can tell you, is that I take care to mitigate problems like this. I check color, intensity and arc of visibility, and I regularly check my lights for proper operation. That's more than most recreational boaters do.
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  #52  
Old 09-25-2013
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

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Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
I have considered this, and I assure you that they'll just cook up some other excuse to pin the blame on me, if I'm running 100% USCG approved fixtures.

Before LED's were readily available, I'm certain that many boaters replaced blown incandescent bulbs with improper bulbs- Lower wattage or higher wattage bulbs that just happened to fit the socket, either willfully or accidentally. How many boaters are using red/green fixtures that are 30+ years old, and faded to the point of emitting a poor color, even though the fixture is USCG approved, and using the approved bulb?

I wonder how many of them were hauled into court and lost over it? How many accidents has this caused, really?

Maine Sail's tale of the festoon LED that vibrated itself out of position is valid. All I can tell you, is that I take care to mitigate problems like this. I check color, intensity and arc of visibility, and I regularly check my lights for proper operation. That's more than most recreational boaters do.
I think when using the analysis that others do things that are wrong, so I can too, is not a well thought out position for everyone involved. The nav lights on your boat can affect more than just you and I think people lose sight of this.

People need to fix any and ALL issues with nav lights, need to use proper nav lights that are not faded, need to use the proper bulbs and making the argumant that; he did it so it must be okay is and can be a dangerous approach.

Again ANY nav light is better than none but a lot of this seems like trying to justify drunk driving when a taxi fare is a lot less expensive and safer.

We see unsafe navigation light use EVERY TIME we are on the water. Even when nav lights are required by law people simply choose to ignore this both at anchor and while navigating.. I know I can never fix this behavior but I can certainly try and get the word out.

I don't doubt that your nav lights may be proper but in this day and age, and at the prices certified lights are at, I see no point in making "home baked bread" when you simply don't have to....
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  #53  
Old 09-25-2013
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

I'm sure that Hamilton Marine would much rather a customer buy a $100 fixture instead of a $10 LED array. The fact is the old fixture/new "bulb" combo is only "illegal" IF it doesn't meet the COLREG specifications. Those specs are pretty broad (see my post above), and consequently not too difficult to meet (given a little common sense).
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

Maine,

I'm not saying "If he's screwed up, it's okay for me to be screwed up."

I'm saying that I don't let "Perfect be the enemy of Good Enough".
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

"his lawyer wouldn't be doing their job without investigating your lights. If they were found to not be approved"
I'd hate to live in your state if they can do that. In my state, in most or all of the US, if someone told the court "Your honor, is lights weren't USCG certified" (and note, it is certification not approval that counts) all that would do is raise a presumption that they might be part of the cause. If there was no requirement for a certified light, that presumption could be thrown out as irrelevant.

And in every case, that presumption could be refuted by the simple process of testing the light itself, or another of the same light, and showing the court that the light may have been uncertified, but it met or exceeded the standards for compliance--since compliance, not certification, is what is required of pleasure boaters.

Really guys, if you're scared of lawsuits, just DO NOT own and operate dangerous machinery, like boats. Dump your boats, and cars, now. And make sure the sale contract ends your liability, just in case it sinks or explodes while the next guy owns it.

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Old 10-23-2013
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

I was on watch steaming south through the Anegada Passage one night some years back, wide awake and sober by the way, on a freighter. Bridge height about 60 feet.
From the port bridge wing I saw a red or green light (I don't remember which) ahead and it appeared to be a mile or more away. I walked into the bridge to check the radar and out f the corner of my eye I saw that light pass close to the port bridge wing. I ran out and saw about a 40' sailing boat under full sail sliding aft no more than 10 feet from the ship! I had already completed a circumnavigation under sail and numerous transAts and TransPacs before this, so I was an experienced sailor and would not ignore a sailboat's lights or take them lightly.
Ever since that night I have been passionately against masthead tricolors and consider them to be incredibly dangerous. A single colored or white disembodied light gives absolutely NO depth/distance perception and no light at all shines on the water, boat or sails. Several times in Long Island Sound, I have had other boats' masthead running lights obscured by my bimini and thought the guy was an idiot, sailing unlit!
You all can do as you please, but nothing on earth would ever convince me to sail under one.
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Old 10-23-2013
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

You have a point but on a 40ft boat if you got really bad weather the chances is that the bow lights will stop to work or at least is what happened to me on several sail boats and several occasions, I mean those conditions where the bow (and the lanterns) are frequently washed by waves and subject to violent shocks. The filaments of normal lamps will not stand the punishment and even led lights can go out of position. Last time it happen to me was this summer on a f8 but with a much nastier sea, raised by a storm that had already passed:

The two lights went off and there is no way I could go forward to change the lamps, being the boat movement too violent.

Later, next morning I found out that I had a led on one side, that had just a bad contact (due to the motion) and on the other a lamp that had broken the filament.

I asked to the shipyard where I have the boat to give me a quote for a tricolor on the top of the mast. I agree that it is worst than the lights on the bow and stern but better than no lights at all and those on top of the mast are more resistant to bad weather: I will have the two systems and I will only use the mast tricolor as back up.
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Last edited by PCP; 10-23-2013 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 10-23-2013
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

Has anyone here considered HID lights? I assume some modification but they do tend to be brighter on cars.
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Old 10-24-2013
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

I've been following this post for some time now, and it is quite thought provoking., I am considering on replacing the anchor and steaming lights with LEDs by Marinebeam, which are said to be "USCG certified" on the website. Does anyone have any experience with them? They are about half the price of the similar Aquasignal 43 series, so I am curious. For the record, I was planning on the P & B stainless units and just adding LED bulbs, but based on the information here, I decided against that strategy. I need to buy new lights, it seems silly to buy incandescent units and convert them.
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

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Originally Posted by lillia28 View Post
I've been following this post for some time now, and it is quite thought provoking., I am considering on replacing the anchor and steaming lights with LEDs by Marinebeam, which are said to be "USCG certified" on the website. Does anyone have any experience with them? They are about half the price of the similar Aquasignal 43 series, so I am curious. For the record, I was planning on the P & B stainless units and just adding LED bulbs, but based on the information here, I decided against that strategy. I need to buy new lights, it seems silly to buy incandescent units and convert them.
Thanks
Lou

Jeff is a great guy and stands behind his product. His new line (actually introduced last year) of USCG LED nav lights are well built and you get Jeff who will be there to support it. But no real need for an LED steaming light as the engine is running and you won't need a low power light. That said LED's last longer so they can still be beneficial even for a steaming light.
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