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Master Mariner
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There are a number of boats in Tyrrel Bay that have their running lights (some masthead tricolors, some on the pulpit and stern) on at night, every night.
I assume this is on purpose because they have no functioning anchor light. It's not like they've forgotten about these lights after arriving after dark as these boats have been here weeks or more.
If your anchor light was not functioning and you had no little solar or other alternative dim light, would you MacGiver up a 12 volt white light and hang it over the cockpit or somewhere else sensible or would you use your running lights?
 

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Both🤗
 

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We use one of these to light up the cockpit at night. Rechargeable using a usb and available at Walmart for under $20. On the medium, setting it will last over 10 hours and take two hours to recharge. My anchor light is presently burned out with no way for me to replace it on my own, so I use the LED 35w deck light as a substitute.

Speader lights are also a good alternative, much better than navigation lights which convey the wrong message.
 

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Sometimes I use the deck lights as well as an anchor light. Depends on how busy the water way is and where we drop anchor. On a river with evil barges I use both. Back in a cove just an anchor light. But when we anchor the running lights are off.
 

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Old soul
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If that were the best, worst option, I'd use the running lights. But it's not hard to "MacGiver" something that at least makes the boat visible, while not communicating confusing navigational messages.
 

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Additional information.... Tyrrel Bay is in Cariacou an island part of but north of Grenada. I don't think theres any form of marine shop there?

Certainly not a Walmart! Even the Supermarket is more Market and less Super.

I gerry rigged a coke bottle led to hang in the cockpit when my anchor like died. But if I didnt have that and nothing else usable on board (!!) then some light is better then none.

Anything is better than nothing. :)
 

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Keeping running lights on is a no no if you’re not moving or intending to move shortly. Confuses the crap out of anyone trying to navigate near you. They’ll keep checking on you and wondering wtf.

Putting your spreaders lights on instead is a better option or a light in the cockpit as already suggested. Would also avoid putting on your boarding light if you can. With no moonlight could be mistaken for a stern light.

However in this particular situation it don’t matter a 1/2 bucket of warm spit. Nobody’s moving. No collision avoidance required.
 

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Funny, My observation is that, in some anchorages 25% to 33% of the boats have NOTHING. As I lay here in Dominica there is a very nice ketch just behind me, he is the boat furthest out in the anchorage. Black hull. He has been dark ever since he arrive about 2 weeks ago. In the lagoon at St Marrten seemed the worst.

Last year we came into Montserrat in the mid-afternoon. I anchored in front of another boat, good clearance. Early evening, full dark, I hear his anchor chain so I stick my head out and this guy is close, I mean like 15 feet. The bowman yells “You see that boat?” Helm yells “I do now.”

I have on BOTH my mast top anchor light AND a 2 mile rated anchor light hung up in the cockpit. I could have beaned the bowman with the cockpit light without unplugging it. Apparently they were asleep during the day when I anchored and awoke after dark and didn’t look for any other boats.

But the the previous night, same light set up, I had a catamaran hit us. “The wind, she take me.” was shouted back as I stuck my head up. French sailor, Dehaies. For those who have been there that says it all.

Last year in Dehaies some locals were insisting on sailing into their mooring in near gale conditions. They T-boned our friends dingy. Not one word of explanation or apology. The list goes on, and on, and on for a Dehaies.
 

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In the OP question, the assumption is the anchor light is inoperative. If I had something to cobble together, I'd do it and either haul it up a halyard or place in the cockpit. Ironically, I don't think I do. I have a variety of flashlights and a lantern I don't think would be bright enough. I'd be more likely to shine those in the cockpit to illuminate under the bimini. If I did not have something I thought would be adequately visible, I'd default to deck, then nav lights.
 

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And my point was that far too many people just don’t give a hoot. Maybe the light is broke, or maybe it’s their noggin.

St Marrten lagoon has access to two large chandleries. I bought a 12vdc cigarette lighter 2 mile all around light JUST IN CASE my mast head croaked.

Last year I came into St Pierre at 1am. I anchored North of the normal anchorage. No one ever anchors there. But I was having engine problems and didn’t want to try to pick out a spot in the normal field in the middle of the night. I left on the anchor light, tri color, and deck lights. Better to be confused, at least they will looking to figure it out.
 

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Barquito
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I just stay up all night, standing at the tip of the bow sprit. With my flair gun in hand(manufactured in 1978), I take aim at any dark moving object. Hey, I get 25 points for every boat I hit. And 30 points for any BeneHunterLina. :)
 

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And my point was that far too many people just don’t give a hoot. Maybe the light is broke, or maybe it’s their noggin.

St Marrten lagoon has access to two large chandleries. I bought a 12vdc cigarette lighter 2 mile all around light JUST IN CASE my mast head croaked.

Last year I came into St Pierre at 1am. I anchored North of the normal anchorage. No one ever anchors there. But I was having engine problems and didn’t want to try to pick out a spot in the normal field in the middle of the night. I left on the anchor light, tri color, and deck lights. Better to be confused, at least they will looking to figure it out.
If they can see your tricolor then they can see your anchor light too. By having your tricolor on you are claiming the right of way associated with being under sail, which you are not. Also, some other sailboat might approach you from your forward of your starboard beam thinking they are the stand on vessel, expecting you to give way, until it’s too late. So, while anchored, the confusion caused by having running lights or tricolor lights on can definitely be dangerous to you and to others. Not a good idea.
 

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bell ringer
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“Confusing” lights on an anchored boat that people see are much better than no lights in my option. Also saying someone at anchor having their running lights on is confusing to other anchored boat around them just seems silly and petty.
 

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“Confusing” lights on an anchored boat that people see are much better than no lights in my option. Also saying someone at anchor having their running lights on is confusing to other anchored boat around them just seems silly and petty.
Really not trying to be petty.

If it's night time, chances are they might not see the hull of your boat so they are depending on you to display the proper lights so they can tell what's going on so they can formulate their best plan for entering or transiting the harbor. I didn't say it was confusing to other anchored boats around them, and you're right it probably wouldn't greatly concern them if they even noticed. But, for another vessel underway, especially another sailing vessel that's underway, seeing, on a dark night, either running lights or a tricolor informs him as to whether he is the stand on or give way vessel and he's going to be looking to see that. As I pointed out in my previous post, another sailing vessel approaching you from your starboard bow might reasonably think they are the stand on vessel as they approach you, expecting you to give way to them, which of course you have no ability to do since you are anchored. But that same sailboat sailing through your anchorage, if he sees just your anchor light will know that you are anchored so he obviously has to give way to you. In the daytime, I think it's less important to display proper shapes because in this case, even if your tricolor is on, anyone can clearly see that your sails aren't up and they can see you aren't moving and might even be able to make our your anchor chain, so there is less chance for confusion than at night time.

I'm not saying that I've never forgotten to turn off my anchor light or running lights when I meant to, but I do recognize that it's not a good idea because in certain situations it can cause confusion as to who the stand on or give way vessel is, or even lead to a collision.
 

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bell ringer
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If you get confused on who the stand on or give way boat is in an anchorage, well you are confused i guess.

If I moving in an anchorage i understand I am the give way boat. If for sone rare reason there is another boat moving around I can livewith still giving way.
 

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I once heard over the VHF radio one evening the captain of an oil tanker that had just finished berthing in Gore Cove say to his engineer whose name was Dave, "O.K. Dave, light up the ship!" And when he did you could have played a game at the SCG with the amount of light that ship put out. I sometimes wonder if some of Sydneys yachtys aren't trying to emulate that captain.
So for those of you who are lets go through this again. We've just finished our club race for the day or maybee lazily ghosting back to the mooring after a long lunch and the sun is about to dip below the horizon. So down below we go to the switch panel. Thats that black or grey thing with switches on it and labels that tell you what they're for. You select Nav lights or Running as they are sometimes named but just to sure you are seen to be navigating may as well switch on the Mast Head Nav lights as well. And because we'll be motoring onto the mooring best have the Steaming light on now. Oh and in case someone is on my mooring and I need to anchor we'll have that as well. It'll probably be dark when we arrive so lets get the Spreader lights on and we'll warm up the Spotlight just in case we can't see the mooring.
And as you look across with pity at the other poor bugger sailing into the bay who only has his port, starboard and stern lights on you reflect on how fortunate you are to have been blessed with so many amps.
Meanwhile you wonder why the 4 tugs surrounding you are are trying to attach lines to your ship. Sorry I mean yacht.

Come on it's not that hard. But if it is maybee this will help

The ones at the sides are for the ride
The one at the back shows up your track
The one at the front show you're on grunt
And the one at the top shows you've come to a stop
 

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If you get confused on who the stand on or give way boat is in an anchorage, well you are confused i guess.

If I moving in an anchorage i understand I am the give way boat. If for sone rare reason there is another boat moving around I can livewith still giving way.
Except you can’t give way because your anchor won’t let you. I don’t think any of us have a problem with giving way in order to avoid a collision, whether in an anchorage or on the open sea, but it’s important to know what is expected of you by other vessels in every crossing situation and we depend on certain lights to inform us and help us make appropriate decisions.

On a dark night the only way another boat can make sense of what you’re up to is to interpret what the lights you have illuminated tell him. If another boater sees green he’s going to interpret that as you are underway, he is the stand on vessel, and you will turn to give way to him. But since you are anchored you can’t give way. Hopefully the other boater figures that out before he collides with you but why send mixed signals and take that risk when the all white light located inches from your tricolor will make you just as visible to anyone looking high, and your deck or spreader lights will make you visible to anyone looking around at eye level?

I think you’re wise to not depend on just one anchor light way up at the top of your mast, so leaving on deck lights or a cockpit light is a great idea to help others see you more easily while anchored, and with the advent of efficient led’s it’s become much more practical to do. But while you’re anchored it’s a really bad idea to have running or tricolor or strobe lights on, because they each have a specific purpose and other boaters seeing them will interpret them being on as something other than what you are intending.
 

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bell ringer
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In an anchorage? Come on now be real.

Crossing back over from the Bahamas last week there wete lots of anchored, stopped, and underway cruise ships, yachts, freighters all lit up like a Christmas tree. Could not even find their running lights among all of the lghts sometimes. I never got confused as to how to avoid them and make use they could avoid me.

I have other things to rant and worry about than if someone let their runnng lights on at anchor.
 
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