SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
first sailed january 2008
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been doing a lot of dinghy riding as of late and I think it's time to make some upgrades. In a sense, and for lack of a better term, I want to "pimp" my dinghy. It is a 9'6" RIB. I would like to do two projects.

1: led running lights

2: blue underwater LED like I see some power boats have at the dock.

The first will probably be detachable, but I don't want the ones on the poles that suction cup on. Depending on the system they may not have to be protected, the only reason they would, would be if the way they were mounted would damage the, when I pull the dinghy and flip it on deck.

The underwater lights can be permanently attached. I'm wondering if to install those if you have to drill a hole through the fiberglass, if so how big, and will it affect the structural integrity of the bottom. I'm also wondering where to mount, since there is not much on the transom that is underwater. I guess my dinghy doesn't have much for draft. Another possibility would be to mount on the bottom, then they would be pointed down. I'm not sure of this would be better or worse. I've never seen underwater lights on a dinghy and I really,haven't seem that many on big boats. The ones I have seen have all been at the bottom of the stern, facing straight back. We are also talking full on bright blue lights, not little accent LED, but the kind that illuminate the water like spotlights. Anyone know of any models and brands I should look for?

What kong of battery would be best? I think since it's only for LED light it could be very small. What is the smallest battery they make? AGM, gel or lead acid? Or are there any lithium or lighter batteries?
 

·
Regular Member
Joined
·
68 Posts
First off: both of these are bad ideas. That said, I may do the same thing.

As I was typing my answer saying that you should just carry a white headlamp on board and that meets the running light rules for dinghy's, I researched it and found out I'm wrong. Seems that unless you are rowing the boat, you need actual running lights. So, now I'm more interested because I an in the wrong as well. I'll probably get something like this Here. I'll put it on a small L bracket hanging off the transom of my RIB. Stow the light pole under the seat or some such.

Of all the upgrades you could go with on a dink, why under water lights? Just for Fun? Here is one that could work if you had access to the sealed chamber between the floor and the hull. Just route the wire up through a small hole (sealed with 4200 after) and run to your battery.

My mooring neighbor had a cute little rig with a battery in a battery box and a small solar collector attached on the outside of the box lid, the whole thing was wired to a bilge pump on a float switch attached to the side of the box. Dinghy was left on a mooring for weeks on end and when they returned, it was dry-ish even after some good soaking rains.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
1: led running lights
We have a bracket on the inside of the transom that screws down on a pole to which the all around white light is attached. The pole comes with some of the light kits you can buy. However, they are rarely tall enough to keep the white light from night blinding you, if you look back. A taller pole would be better.

We also have a little dome that has been glued down to the top of the bow of our dinghy that has a female thread to screw in the side by side running lights.

2: blue underwater LED like I see some power boats have at the dock.
This idea made me vomit in my mouth. Thanks for that.

If not for the most obvious reason, then consider how you're never going to run a dinghy like this onto a beach.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,979 Posts
I'll only comment on the battery side of the question - get a simple, small lawnmower 12 volt battery, you can recharge it easy. Do put it in a box though, and fasten the box down securely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,939 Posts
Blue underwater lights? Uh-oh! This is how it starts! First you grow envious of the 200hp tenders they drag around. Then if you spend too much time hanging around with them you start to think having your boat lit up like a Christmas tree is cool. Before you know it there is a big fat Bayliner in your slip!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,641 Posts
Blue lights are reserved for military and police use, even if the USCG is kind enough to generally ignore underwater lighting.

There are a number of companies selling battery powered LED nav lights for dinks, using AA or D cells right in the holder, easy enough to replace or recharge and no external wiring needed. Just remember, if it is detachable...someone may take it home while your dink is tied up.
 

·
Large Member
Joined
·
299 Posts
As I was typing my answer saying that you should just carry a white headlamp on board and that meets the running light rules for dinghy's, I researched it and found out I'm wrong. Seems that unless you are rowing the boat, you need actual running lights.
I thought this was all that was needed as well? Are rules different by state?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,641 Posts
Rules do differ by state, and when you are in "navigable waters" (meaning, connected to the seas) you've got to meet federal requirements as well as state.

States usually regulate according to length, and whether the vessel has "mechanical propulsion" meaning a motor, as opposed to oars, paddles, or sails.
 

·
first sailed january 2008
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sorry, shouldn't of tried to hijack.

I'm thinking of doing the underwater lights as well, think they would work on an inflatable bottom dingy?
I think I have seen some that you don't have to drill holes and mount but attach otherwise. There isn't much info I could find on underwater dinghy lights, but in google images there was a link to what looked like non permanently mounted lights. I didn't look too far into it because I'm researching a more permanent and brighter mount, but I'm sure it could be done. Don't quote me but I think they sell these lines of led lights and some are good underwater.

The running lights I would like aren't the detachable ones on the pole, but pretty much regular sailboat led running lights like the aqua signals.

I was looking at the rear waterline of my dinghy and there may be room to mount one of the circular lights there.

Out pf curiosity, why would this idea make someone puke in there mouth? I've seen lots of sailboats with dinghies in Washington and canada that are much larger and complex than mine, with chart plotters and real seats and everything. Why would lights bother anyone? I could see if I wanted to blare rap music around the anchorage, but pretty lights?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
....Out pf curiosity, why would this idea make someone puke in there mouth?.....
It was tongue in cheek and strictly referencing underwater lights. Underwater blue lights are known to be a classic stinkpotter "look at me" trait and we all know they rarely leave the dock.

Most sailors I know are more interested in an upgrade that is more practical or allows for longer, faster or more comfortable cruising.

To each their own, but to me (and to many I believe) they just look like they are for seeking attention. I'm not saying that's your intent, but that's the way they will appear.
 

·
Regular Member
Joined
·
68 Posts
I thought this was all that was needed as well? Are rules different by state?
Here is where I saw that one.
Basic Boating Safety Course - Navigation Lights on Your Boat

At first I tricked myself to think that while in my 11' Achilles, I qualify for the "boats under 23' and speeds less than 7kts" but the in international waters only. got me again.

So, it sounds to me that if you have a motor on a dingy of any size and you operate at night and are not in international waters, though shall light up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
I sat at the outside bar at the Oar (Block Island) a couple of weeks back, which overlooks the dinghy dock. It's entertaining in all sorts of way. In part, as the eastern side of the dock drops to 6" depth at low tide, but is several feet deep just a few hours earlier.

We did play a game on dinghy lights and counted all those coming and going. Over an hour, there were dozens and dozens of arrivals and departure, I no longer recall the total count. Well over 50. I do recall there were only 2 that actually had running lights and only a handful more that had solely the white light. A handful on top of that fooled us, as they had a flashlight, not an actual mounted white light.

There is a coast guard station in the harbor. If there is a more crowded, more inebriated crowd of boaters than Block in August, I've never seen it. This is clearly not a very enforced issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,111 Posts
I sat at the outside bar at the Oar (Block Island) a couple of weeks back, which overlooks the dinghy dock. It's entertaining in all sorts of way. In part, as the eastern side of the dock drops to 6" depth at low tide, but is several feet deep just a few hours earlier.

We did play a game on dinghy lights and counted all those coming and going. Over an hour, there were dozens and dozens of arrivals and departure, I no longer recall the total count. Well over 50. I do recall there were only 2 that actually had running lights and only a handful more that had solely the white light. A handful on top of that fooled us, as they had a flashlight, not an actual mounted white light.

There is a coast guard station in the harbor. If there is a more crowded, more inebriated crowd of boaters than Block in August, I've never seen it. This is clearly not a very enforced issue.
That would seem to depend upon where you are, to some extent...

In Key West, for example, you will be virtually guaranteed a hefty fine from the Monroe County Sheriff if you attempt to come or go to or from the anchorage without proper nav lights on your dinghy... Seems it's like shooting fish in a barrel for those guys, they'll just sit out there in their $150K center consoles waiting to cite anyone for the most minor of infractions... :)

Agree with you on the whole underwater lights on a tender thing... Certainly not the sort of thing one generally associates with any of the $500/month crowd...

:))
 

·
first sailed january 2008
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Why do I keep being lumped in with the $500 a month crowd? Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Here are the running lights I think would work.
Aqua Signal Series 33 LED Navigation Lights

Now how to mount them. The weird thing is they mount horizontally. The flat part on the bottom faces inwards. What do you think about Velcro? I'm just brain storming here, but Velcro glued to the from sides of my dinghy. Then I could take them on and off. To connect the wires, what kind of a crimped system can be clipped on and off. I mean I'll crimp the wires to a connector, and the type of connector I use can easily be detached? How about nylon disconnects?

Still waiting for some links for recommended underwater led lights. I'm leaning towards the small AGM batteries, like the 17ah one. It's heavy for being so small. Then I have already a 7 watt rollable solar panel I can bungee to the tubes. For the minimal drain dinghy lights will use that should be enough.

All of it can be taken apart pretty quickly if I need to bring the dinghy on deck, assuming I mount the blue lights on the transom. It should be just disconnect and roll the solar, disconnect and unvelcro the running lights(unless we come up with a better method than Velcro. And lift the battery aboard. When you break it down it doesn't sound too bad.

I hear you about power boaters that never leave the dock, but I leave the dock, I always leave the dock. I don't know what got into me, but I think going to California the would be really fun. Zipping around Newport Beach, or coming in from a late evening surf session. It's going to start becoming dark earlier.

I wonder if they enforce dinghy running lights in southern cal. I'll bet some places they do. I actually just want them to look cool, but it would be a good side benefit to not get a ticket.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top