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Good advise thus far. Some additional thoughts.

I have not sailed at night in the San Juan's other than a trip from Sucia to Sidney. But I have a lot experience in the Gulf Islands, Georgia Strait, Juan de Fuca and the West coast of Vancouver Island.

1) Before you go, make a list of the lights en route and their characteristics.
2) Crew in pdf's, harnesses and tethered. Everyone should be wearing a strobe light. Night MOBs are not easy.
3) Check with Seattle traffic (5A) for any commercial traffic. This will also let then know you are out there. Monitor Seattle traffic on the VHF. I use a dual scan mode.
4) You can get fog. Do you have radar?

Jack
 

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Dylan,

As Artbyjody mentioned lights at night can be really confusing. Navigational lights blink, except for range lights, lights on shore are steady, as are lights on ships.

Dabnis
Danis

A couple of corrections:

1) Lighted aids to navigation have distinct characteristics. They do not blink.
Fixed (F) - always on
Flash (Fl)- once every 4 seconds
Quick flash (Q) - once per second
Very quick flash (VQ) - 120 times per minute

Lightstations have very distinct characteristics as do bifurcation and cardinal buoys.

2) Range lights are not necessarily fixed. The range into Nanaimo Harbour flashes.

3) Ships can also have flashing lights
Submarines
Official government vessels
Hovercraft
WIGs
 

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Jackdale,

So noted, thanks for the corrections, it's been many many years since I took the Power Squadron navigation course. Many more combinations of light configurations than I remember, the more to be confused by?

Dabnis
ColRegs were amended in 2003. Only one new aid to navigation has been added recently - the emergency wreck buoy.
 

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sometimes women blink, sometimes they flash. The difference seems trivial with lights, but not with women.
:thewave: :thewave:
 

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One thing to note about this transit area - it is a COMMERCIAL transit area. If you do not run with active radar, AIS (class A receiver or the newer Class B Transponders), do either have one or the either:
Thanks for prompting me to write an addition to this thought. Rosario Strait is a Traffic Separation zone in which small vessels must not impede large vessels. There are other TSZ's in the area as well: Admiralty Inlet, Haro Strait, Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound. Seattle Traffic get really perturbed as do the ocean going vessels common in the area.

Check Colreg's for details and check the charts to ensure you know where the TSZ's are.

You can miss most of this by leaving Whidbey Island to port, and taking the Possession Sound, Saratoga Pasage, Skagit Bay and LaConner route, but I would not do that at night.

Jack
 
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