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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Haven't gone out at night all year, but I was running a little late yesterday. At 7 pm I decided to put on running lights. I needed to motor into the old C&D canal, but my steaming light was dead. I thought of a few temporary options, but my anchor light is the only one that I know is rated for 2 nm. So I turned it on.

Before you guys jump all over me for having two rear facing lights, note that I taped over my stern light with duct tape. So the only question is whether a single 360 white light is illegal at 34' high.

I suspect that this will be red meat for you guys. ;) :laugher
 

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I believe that arrangement is legal if you are motoring in inland waters in a vessel under 12meters in length. If you were sailing it would have been illegal.

The COLREGs have a provision for an all-around white light on power-driven vessels under 12m inland and under 7m in international waters. It also states that side lights may be used in conjunction if practicable. There is no mention of minimum or maximum vertical separation of the lights.

I have a cheap angled flashlight that I taped to the front of the mast, facing forward, when I found myself in a similar situation a few years ago.
 

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"—INLAND—
Lights and Shapes
RULE 23—CONTINUED
(c) A power-driven vessel of less than 12 meters in length may, in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit an all-round white light and sidelights."

Rashly assuming you are
Inland
Under 12 meters
Motoring (which makes you a power vessel)

You'd seem to be in compliance. What, no copy of COLREGS onboard?
 

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Though it may be legal, and better than no steaming light, I would be extremely concerned about another vessel actually seeing and understanding that that tiny disembodied white light way up there in the sky, is your stern light. I think I would be more likely to leave the stern light burning, if there is any traffic or lights about. I'm much less concerned about the "legality" of my lights, than the practicality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
"-INLAND-
Lights and Shapes
RULE 23-CONTINUED
(c) A power-driven vessel of less than 12 meters in length may, in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit an all-round white light and sidelights."

Rashly assuming you are
Inland
Under 12 meters
Motoring (which makes you a power vessel)

You'd seem to be in compliance. What, no copy of COLREGS onboard?
No rash assumptions needed. All of those facts were clearly stated in my OP and signature.

And your assumption about COLREGS was wrong - I have them, read them, and by my interpretation what I did was compliant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Though it may be legal, and better than no steaming light, I would be extremely concerned about another vessel actually seeing and understanding that that tiny disemboweled white light way up there in the sky, is your stern light. I think I would be more likely to leave the stern light burning, if there is any traffic or lights about. I'm much less concerned about the "legality" of my lights, than the practicality.
Good point. I was concerned about that too, which is why I put it up for debate.

In this case it was still twilight, so someone would have to try hard to not see me. Technically before sundown, but clouds were reducing the light prematurely. And I was ~10 minute from the marina.
 

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Stuck one of these in a fishing rod holder as an emergency stern light one time I suppose pointing forward stuck in the top of the sail cover would work as well Westinghouse 2-Piece Deluxe Solar Spot Light Set - Walmart.com and this time of year on close out last year got em for 5 bucks
I used to use similar lights to shine on my anchor chain forward and the mizzen boom aft, at anchor in crowded busy anchorages, until they died. Great lights for lighting up a boat at night.
 
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islander bahama 24
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I would be extremely concerned about another vessel actually seeing and understanding that that tiny disemboweled white light way up there in the sky, is your stern light.
Ouch. "Disembodied"?

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."

― Mark Twain
 

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Ouch. "Disembodied"?

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."

― Mark Twain
Ouch. That's embarrassing.
 

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The great lakes feighters have an all around light for a mast head light/stern light. And that light is higher then your sail boat's.
 

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I have McGyvered a steaming light on the small sailing skiffs with small outboards I occasionally get caught out after dark on. Usually a dive flashlight with a "dome" of wax paper or similar taped on the lens, then stuck inside the spinny halyard tail against the side of the mast, looking forward.

Not nearly bright enough for the rules, but I guess better than nada.
 

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I've been teaching sailing on a couple of newer (2005-2013) Hunters. While having the students go through my check list, one of the items is "Steaming Light."

On the Hunter, there are two seemingly identical white lights at the top of the mast. The only difference is that the lower one has a block over the aft 135º, and is activated by the steaming light switch. The upper one is an all around white light, and activated by the anchor light switch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've been teaching sailing on a couple of newer (2005-2013) Hunters. While having the students go through my check list, one of the items is "Steaming Light."

On the Hunter, there are two seemingly identical white lights at the top of the mast. The only difference is that the lower one has a block over the aft 135º, and is activated by the steaming light switch. The upper one is an all around white light, and activated by the anchor light switch.
So those boats have the steaming light at the masthead. Sounds like my anchor light, with the stern light blocked off, would present the same light profile as that one.
 

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Haven't gone out at night all year, but I was running a little late yesterday. At 7 pm I decided to put on running lights. I needed to motor into the old C&D canal, but my steaming light was dead. I thought of a few temporary options, but my anchor light is the only one that I know is rated for 2 nm. So I turned it on.

Before you guys jump all over me for having two rear facing lights, note that I taped over my stern light with duct tape. So the only question is whether a single 360 white light is illegal at 34' high.
This is essentially how our boat is set up--all-around/anchor light over the tri-color at the top of the mast, and a bi-color on the mast where most boats would have a steaming light. Under sail, we use the tri-color, and under power the bi-color and all-around/anchor light is on.

I've read through the Coast Guard regs a hundred times, but I can't find anything that specifies a minimum or maximum height of the nav lights above the deck, or that specifies any "longitudinal" minimum distance between the red/green and masthead lights. (I do believe there is a minimum distance between the red/green sidelights and masthead lights). Strictly speaking, it's a legal set-up, but if I had my druthers I'd convert it to the traditional arrangement of side lights on the bow, steaming light halfway up the mast and stern light on the stern rail.
 
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