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OK, sorry. I meant tricolor mounted on the top of the mast. It is an under sail only light.

When motoring, it is the deck mounted nav lights and the white light halfway up the mast, which you are referring to as the masthead light, while I always think of it the steaming light (on our boat, I have the deck mounted nav lights and the masthead light on the same circuit labeled "steaming lights").

The tricolor is not used for motoring, although I am often guilty of forgetting to turn it off when turning on the steaming lights as I drop sails just outside an anchorage to enter at night.

This bit of understandable forgetfulness at a period of much activity transitioning between sail and power, resulting in a boat coming into an anchorage with both its tricolor and deck mounted nav lights on, is why I ignore complaints about it from others already at anchor.

Mark
Commonly seen.... and the terminology is confusing... a sailing boat has a *steaming* light for motoring... but it's technical word is masthead. And on motor boats it IS at the head of their mast! My panel uses the word MASTHEAD.. and the NAVIGATION switch turns on bow and stern lights... separate switch for ANCHOR and TRICOLOR lights.
 

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A masthead light is the STEAMING LIGHT.... ON a sailboat it is not at the top of the mast... above halfway to 2/3 up from the deck. The lights at the TOP of the mast would be an anchor light or a tricolor. If you are motoring the masthead light is to be lit.

What is the rule for for port and starboard lights for motoring? Can you use the tri color and the masthead?
On our boat the we have masthead tri color for sailing, a 360 mast head white light and red and green 2/3 the way up the mast while under power. the 360 white mast head light is also the anchor light. 3 switches are marked for the purpose and automatically turns on the correct lights
 

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On our boat the we have masthead tri color for sailing, a 360 mast head white light and red and green 2/3 the way up the mast while under power. the 360 white mast head light is also the anchor light. 3 switches are marked for the purpose and automatically turns on the correct lights
not clear...

a masthead light is not 360... but 120

an anchor light is 360

what are the 3 switches? what do they say and what lights does each one light and what boat do you have?
 

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not sure where you get 120 degrees? we have the ged and green running lights mounted on the mast and are used while under power with the white light on the top of my mast which is 360 degrees or you could say it is 225 degrees forward white light ( steaming portion ) and 135 degrees to the rear ( stern light ) it just happens to be mounted in the same case. When used as a tricolor it is 112.5 degree of red on the port side and 112.5 degree of green on the starboard side and 135 degrees of white too the stern. the LEDs change color. this is used when under sail. when used as an anchor light it is 360 degrees of white light mounted on the top of the mast.
https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/DCO Documents/5p/CG-5PC/INV/Alerts/1015.pdf
 

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Correct the masthead light is not seen from aft... I don't know the precise arc of visibility... 240 or something..
 

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i guess the stern light would not be called part of the masthead light even though mine is mounted on the masthead. the terms are confusing because the USCG calls it the mast head light because it is mounted on a mast and it faces ahead like a head light so it is a mast head light not masthead light
 

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i guess the stern light would not be called part of the masthead light even though mine is mounted on the masthead. the terms are confusing because the USCG calls it the mast head light because it is mounted on a mast and it faces ahead like a head light so it is a mast head light not masthead light
Cant see how these lights can work legally, when you are operating under power a 'stern' light located at the top of the mast does not meet any stretch of the definition of a stern light. Also a risky arrangement.

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A white seen from aft at the top of a mast reads as an anchor light
 

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Cant see how these lights can work legally, when you are operating under power a 'stern' light located at the top of the mast does not meet any stretch of the definition of a stern light. Also a risky arrangement.

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how is it any different then a big power boat under 12 meters with a all round white light on the top of it's 30 foot high mast and red and green 20 feet above the water. the same as the power boat in the picture on the lower right in post #29
power boats under 12 meters are required to have the all round white light
 

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I see dozens of vessels a week down here that I would bet the farm on, that don't have AIS. From the 40 odd foot longliners who are almost all improperly lit to the 70-90 foot ex-shrimpers carrying cargo between the islands and even larger cargo vessels that are certainly not IMO compliant, expecting them to have a modern bit of gear like AIS is foolhardy, IMO..............

How quickly we forget incidents like the Costa Concordia and believe that just because it's a big fancy, expensive vessel, it is manned by halfway intelligent human beings?
I understand and agree. However, I'm not sure what point is being made. Will these vessels be any more apt at identifying a tri-color vs deck nav lights on the recreational vessel that began this thread?

All I'm saying is a law to require AIS. for all boats operating at night, is a better law than requiring proper deck lighting. I can't account for the fact that there will always be those that don't follow the law.
 

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how is it any different then a big power boat under 12 meters with a all round white light on the top of it's 30 foot high mast and red and green 20 feet above the water. the same as the power boat in the picture on the lower right in post #29
power boats under 12 meters are required to have the all round white light
I think the COLREGS rule writers just would not consider the likelihood someone would want to put a stern light 60 or 70 feet above the stern. Hey, I mean who would think of such a choice...they cant forbid every bad idea. The context for such a choice is to consider that as best I know every sailboat builder locates the 'masthead' light somewhere around the middle of the mast, not at the top.

A regulatory agent may not, or may as I can't say either way, choose to call a stern light located at the top of a sailboat illegal, but I would expect any jury would...

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The lights on our boat is the way it came from Beneteau and the same as all the other small beneteau models for many years. it is done on the under 12 meter models and does meet the colregs. i think it is a clever way to light a small boat and is far easier to see when at sea. this system is starting to be the norm for other manufactures as well. so much so that several light manufactures are making the mast mounted bi color lights which gets the lights up off the deck to be seen over the waves. there are several big power boats in the harbor that have their stern lights mounted higher then my 40' mast
 

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About 10 years ago, we were sailing overnight from Key West to Naples. At about 3:00 AM, southwest of Cape Romano, I saw a single light ahead. It started out red then appeared to turn yellow. This got my attention because of what a yellow light could signify (pop quiz: What does a yellow light indicate?). I kept looking at it but my sleep-deprived mind couldn't figure out what it was. A single yellow light, no other lights. We had just sailed by this location a couple of weeks earlier, so I knew that there wasn't a private buoy at this location. I woke up my wife to come on deck. Eventually we realized it was a tri-color light of a boat that was wallowing in the swell. We would alternately see the red and white as the boat rolled, making the light appear yellow. We arrived in Naples early the following day. Another boat pulled up to the city dock several hours after us and we overheard them talking about how uncomfortable their night at anchor had been. Rather than sailing overnight or heaving-to, they had anchored offshore in the shallow waters and left their tricolor light on rather than turning on their anchor light. This experience has made me very skeptical of tricolor lights. I agree with Capta.
 

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The lights on our boat is the way it came from Beneteau and the same as all the other small beneteau models for many years .... i think it is a clever way to light a small boat and is far easier to see when at sea.

Can you explain? I'm afraid that i dont have a beneteau, or even a boat from this century:) i'm just curious about what this light configuration is.
 

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The lights on our boat is the way it came from Beneteau and the same as all the other small beneteau models for many years. it is done on the under 12 meter models and does meet the colregs. i think it is a clever way to light a small boat and is far easier to see when at sea. this system is starting to be the norm for other manufactures as well. so much so that several light manufactures are making the mast mounted bi color lights which gets the lights up off the deck to be seen over the waves. there are several big power boats in the harbor that have their stern lights mounted higher then my 40' mast
Sounds like a cost accountant figured out how to save a few bucks by eliminating a circuit...

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first one is when under sail


second one is under power
I don’t think the motoring sailboat shown in your pic is compliant with COLREGs. I’d never seen this picture before, but it appears to have been taken from a website for Virginia inland lakes, which are not subject to USCG jurisdiction. Moral of the story: Just because there’s a picture on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s correct.

That said, I was forced to motor in that very configuration a few years ago when my steaming light burnt out. I put duct tape over my stern light and illuminated my anchor light during my 30 minute motor into the marina.

 

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Here ia a bit of information from Marinebeam about as they say, odd but cleaver Nav light system that is installed by Beneteau on their less then 12 meter sailboats. They also say the system meets the col regs with the all round white light on top of the mast. They have decided to make the lights for the system with the improvement of adding a deck light to the red/ green mast mounted running light.
https://store.marinebeam.com/blog/beneteaus-odd-choice-for-navigation-lights/
 
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