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post #21 of 140 Old 12-03-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
I was looking at the same lights, for the same reasons that you state...
Have you decided yet? The kit I linked is around $125 at Amazon with free shipping, $122 at Hodges Marine, not sure about shipping there.

I might just get the bow lights and do something else for white light, but the individual components are pricey, and almost cheaper to just buy the kit.

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Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
There are 2 several issues here. What matters most is safety... being seen and avoid collisions. Only a cop with an authority issue will cite someone with visible but non conforming lights. Perhaps they will tell you to get s legal one. Most do not know colregs. Do what is safest...at your own peril.
A white light alone is visible, but clearly non-conforming. If law enforcement considers this good enough, I'm fine with it. But I want practical advice on this first from the many here with more nighttime dinghy experience.

Does anyone have any examples of being cited or questioned for having a motored dinghy without the red/green bow lights?

With regard to the white light, I have a second interest in having one: When my dinghy is up in the davits, it blocks the stern light on my boat. So I am interested in the Navisafe white light (or similar) to be temporarily mounted on my davits or bimini frame on the (rather rare) occasions when I am out in the mother ship after sunset. Both the Navisafe white light and the red/green/white tricolor lights operate in several modes, including as a stern light with 135 degree sector.

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post #22 of 140 Old 12-03-2017
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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Just for clarification, my dinghy has a motor, I operate in US inland waters (inside the line of demarcation), and I want to be fully compliant because I did not feel at all safe last year on the one occasion that I was unexpectedly out after dark (returning in Annapolis harbor after dark because restaurant service was very slow).

My comments below refer to the lastest USCG COLREGS handbook (https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/navR...B_20151231.pdf)

To be fully compliant inside the line of demarcation (inland), a motorized dinghy must have red/green bow lights and all-around raised stern light. (This is the minimum "paragraph d" standard - you could also choose to meet the more stringent "paragraph a" requirements of a traditional motorized vessel. See the handbook p.43 (printed)/p. 52(pdf):



There is an exception allowing only an all-around white light if red/green is not "practicable", but it ONLY APPLIES TO INTERNATIONAL WATERS. This exception does not appear in the inland section of the COLREGS, and the accompanying picture explicitly says "International only" (see second attached pic below). This is in the handbook p.42 (printed)/p.52(pdf):



I like the idea of wearing the all-around light on a hat, or on a strap attached to my head. While not explicitly compliant, it accomplishes the visibility requirement better than attaching to the boat, and avoids night vision problems for the wearer (but not for other passengers). There are GoPro headmounts that might also work. However, this white light must be supplemented with red/green bow lights in US Inland waters.
In addition on page 112 (printed) for USA inland...
"(d) The masthead light, or the all-round light described in Rule 23(d)(
83.23(d) of this chapter), of a power-driven vessel of less than 12 meters in
length shall be carried at least one meter higher than the sidelights"

I know of one case where a dinghy in Florida was cited for failure to carry the all round white light 1 meter or more above the sidelights. Don't bet on FWC officers not knowing the law. It is easy for them to measure 39-3/8".
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post #23 of 140 Old 12-03-2017
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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Have you decided yet? The kit I linked is around $125 at Amazon with free shipping, $122 at Hodges Marine, not sure about shipping there.

I might just get the bow lights and do something else for white light, but the individual components are pricey, and almost cheaper to just buy the kit.


A white light alone is visible, but clearly non-conforming. If law enforcement considers this good enough, I'm fine with it. But I want practical advice on this first from the many here with more nighttime dinghy experience.
Realize that my lights like @chef2sail 's failed about two years ago. When it worked I liked using the all-around-white light as a flashlight. When the POS failed I was so frustrated (and disgusted) that I decided not to decide.


In most of the places that I go with the dink (Newport, Cuttyhunk, Edgartown, Hadley, Westport, and a couple others) I don't go out after dark. If I do go out after dark, I take care to see that the LEO's are unaware of my presence on the water, and I use one of these;


$23 at Wallyworld, submersible, and floats with the beam up!

During the last two years I have looked, but remembering that I got burned by the Aqua Signal lamps, I have held off. I'm waiting for you to spend the $130, and report back.


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post #24 of 140 Old 12-03-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
...If I do go out after dark, I take care to see that the LEO's are unaware of my presence on the water, and I use one of these;


$23 at Wallyworld, submersible, and floats with the beam up!..
I also have one of those, and if Minnewaska ever travels to the Chesapeake, I plan to point it straight at him!

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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

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Originally Posted by wsmurdoch View Post
...I know of one case where a dinghy in Florida was cited for failure to carry the all round white light 1 meter or more above the sidelights. Don't bet on FWC officers not knowing the law. It is easy for them to measure 39-3/8".
I guess they can't get you for that one if you just carry a white light and omit the red/green ones. Just sayin'.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

I use the dink often in the evening... and in crowded Northport or Newport where we are anchored or moored about 3/4 of a mile out and have to transverse the mooring field and a busy channel. Northport is pretty dark less traffic. Newport is light polluted with LOTS of traffic... dinks, tour boats, launches...yachts. I use an all around white on the OB. Newport has active harbor master patrolling... and very helpful BTW... Northport cops are done when the sun is down... I have no problems in either location... seeing or with the law... My OB mounted light is portable and is on the dink only at night... I take it with me... don't leave it there for someone needing a handy nav light. In dark empty harbors... not a problem either. KISS

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

WE always carry flashlights, but have migrated to the suction-cup based LED lights shown at https://www.defender.com/product3.js...2556&id=186155 for the bow light and the white, stern light version that stick to the top of the OB. Never had them detach.

We previously had a demountable bow light that had a base glued to the inflatable, but the glue failed after a few years.
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post #28 of 140 Old 12-03-2017
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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

First world problem, and first world policing. Nowhere else will you find anyone concerned about this. Navigation lights on a dingy are dangerous because they ruin the operator's vision. The primary responsibility of a dinghy operator is to avoid all other traffic regardless of Colregs or other navigation rules. Dinghies are not a valid ship operating under navigation rules, and are the burdened vessel at all times - this is my opinion. Easiest way to avoid things is to find a good light reflection on the water and follow it - if there is no break in the reflection, there is no obstruction in the path. Anchor lights and shore lights are perfect for this.

Really, outside of Montauk Harbor, the Chesapeake, and parts of Florida (on the East Coast US), this is mostly a non-issue. Outside of the US it is totally a curiosity and an amusement.

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Last edited by colemj; 12-03-2017 at 09:06 PM.
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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
...The primary responsibility of a dinghy operator is to avoid all other traffic regardless of Colregs or other navigation rules. Dinghies are not a valid ship operating under navigation rules, and are the burdened vessel at all times - this is my opinion...
So tell me the appropriate COLREGS to follow when two unlighted dinghies encounter each other blindly because both are preserving their night vision by having no lights.

Rules of the road are always easy when one vessel is clearly burdened over the other. The reason COLREGS exist is to resolve the gray areas where two vessels are evenly burdened. Lights out is an accident waiting to happen.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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Re: Nav Lights for Inflatable Dinghy

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
I also have one of those, and if Minnewaska ever travels to the Chesapeake, I plan to point it straight at him!
Which would be a violation of Rule 36, Signals to Attract Attention, Inland. I guess everyone chooses which they will follow.


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