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Old 01-23-2017, 12:48 PM   #1
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Bugs and anchor lights

I can appreciate that more light is better than less when anchoring in traffic prone areas, but does that not inundate the boat with bugs and make it uninhabitable without screens?
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Old 01-23-2017, 01:15 PM   #2
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Are you talking about being above deck, outside as the problem? Or inside and no screens?


If outside, can you place the light very hig and away from where you are sitting and turn off all other lights? If awake and above decks with a bright flashlight...just keep a good watch.
If you have screens, then you can turn everything back on.


All other lighting other than the anchor light can be different colors such as bug resistant yellow like on tug boat main decks.
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Old 01-23-2017, 01:19 PM   #3
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Yes, bugs are attracted to a boat's anchor light. You have to have the anchor light so now you have to figure out how to deal with it. Screens, insect repellent, whatever works for you.


We normally operate the boat from the flybridge and many mornings I have to wipe away the dead bugs before starting out for the day.
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Old 01-23-2017, 01:32 PM   #4
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Our anchor light is on top of the mast. Bugs normally stay up there. FL in the winter is not a problem. Fall and spring can be if you leave the doors open with cabin lights on.
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Old 01-23-2017, 01:34 PM   #5
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Putting the anchor light much higher seems to make a big difference.

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Old 01-23-2017, 01:50 PM   #6
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As a pre-owner, I do a lot more reading than I do experiencing. Among the reads has been some concern that one light up high on a mast isn't enough to deter crab fishermen hustling through the night or fellow pleasure boaters arriving late or departing early. Any concerns over that required lone anchor light providing enough defensive visibility?

I suppose that's what created the question. Spending time at the old lake cabin with a porch light on drew some bugs, but sitting in the dark ten yards away at the shore kept them at bay. Different story if people had headlights on or a lantern. Back to boating, if you have a lot of light to be abundantly visible, screens must be the only defense against swarming bugs?
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:05 PM   #7
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I assume this is more of an issue on inland rivers and lakes than in bays, coves and harbors on the ocean?? The only time we've had an issue with bugs is if we're anchored too close to shore.
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:08 PM   #8
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How close is too close?
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:11 PM   #9
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I assume this is more of an issue on inland rivers and lakes than in bays, coves and harbors on the ocean?? The only time we've had an issue with bugs is if we're anchored too close to shore.
What do you consider "too close" to shore?

I've been in the middle of some pretty large sounds (not anchored, but underway) and had plenty of bugs. Green flies are the worst. They bite and the bites itch for a week or more.
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:36 PM   #10
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On top of a 50 ft sailboat mast is high up. 20 ft on a trawler mast is still easily visible close up.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:11 PM   #11
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My LED anchor light is very bright. You can easily see the boat underneath it as part of the light casts down on the boat.

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Old 01-23-2017, 07:04 PM   #12
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My anchor light is at least 20 feet above the boat so that's not a problem, but bugs here are well attracted (in the California Delta) to the unlighted boat. Lesson: leave no unscreened opening when insects are about.
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:24 PM   #13
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Any concerns over that required lone anchor light providing enough defensive visibility?
The anchor light is the approved way to communicate to vessels underway that you are anchored. The underway vessels have likely already come to this conclusion, as you should be located in a suitable area for anchoring, are not making way, your heading is constant, etc. Your anchor light tells them that you are anchored.

If you are concerned about defensive visibility, and with no intent of offense, you are probably not exercising the best judgement in your selected anchoring location. You don't want to worry about large commercial vessels, passenger ferries, or drunken high-speed Joe-boater while you are sound asleep below with no navigational watch.

If you must supplement your anchor light with additional lights, you should attempt to do so with light that will not obscure your anchor light OR any other navigation lights (sidelights, stern light) so that the observing vessel has no question about your anchored status. For example, let's say you must anchor near a busy commercial lane due to an engine casualty. Appropriate supplemental illumination could be spreader lights on the mast, lighting your cabin top to present a larger visible target.

Best Wishes

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Old 01-23-2017, 09:31 PM   #14
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Besides the anchor light, it will help if you have subdued lighting in the saloon to make one more visible.
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:47 PM   #15
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Yes Irene, but don't show running lights (here testing lights in the berth).

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Old 01-24-2017, 12:22 PM   #16
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Makes complete sense. Again, having never anchored out overnight, I am contemplating only the thoughts of others. Perhaps my question should be is it practical to always anchor well out of traffic's way?
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:42 PM   #17
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Not all the time...plus if it's a big anchorage, you have boats arriving after dark, you have dinghies zipping about, you have locals cutting through and you might have people repositioning for some reason. No, avoiding traffic is not always achievable in the slightest.


Supplementing light is a good idea...if your anchor light is at the highest point...no one will confuse it...besides, who would purposely run into a boat all lit up? Remember, not ascertaining ones nav lights is no excuse for colliding. Plus you shouldn't have nav lights on if anchored or if your anchor light is on.


Remember the anchor light is the minimum light required, not the maximum...your lighting just cant confuse anyone.


If you think the USCG will fault you for a couple extra lights nowhere near the anchor light...look at a cruise ship underway and most you will be hard pressed to find the nav lights quickly...

I bought these to help out for at least till after the drunks have gone in all likelihood. Put them on the 4 corners of the cabin top shining on rails and other structures. $20 for four and they stay put in pretty good seas without mounting on anything, so easily moved. They last till after midnight and later if fully charged...and when these batteries go, better ones should last all night.
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Old 01-24-2017, 01:28 PM   #18
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Underwater lighting, deck lighting a few interior lights, whatever it takes to insure you're visible. Here is Rule 30

Rule 30

(a)� A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen:
in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball; at or near the stern and at a lower level than the light prescribed in subparagraph (i), an all-round white light.

(b)���� A vessel of less than 50 meters in length may exhibit an all-round white light where it can best be seen instead of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule.

(c)���� A vessel at anchor may, and a vessel of 100 meters and more in length shall, also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks.

(d)���� A vessel aground shall exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule and in addition, if practicable, where they can best be seen; two all-round red lights in a vertical line;three balls in a vertical line.

(e)���� A vessel of less than 7 meters in length, when at anchor not in or near a narrow channel, fairway or where other vessels normally navigate, shall not be required to exhibit the shape prescribed in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule.

(f)����� A vessel of less than 12 meters in length, when aground, shall not be required to exhibit the lights or shapes prescribed in subparagraphs (d)(i) and (ii) of this Rule.

(g)���� A vessel of less than 20 meters in length, when at anchor in a special anchorage area designated by the Secretary, shall not be required to exhibit the anchor lights and shapes required by this Rule.


I read all the exceptions for a vessel 7 meters or less, 12 meters or less, 20 meters or less. To me some make sense and some don't. (e) not requiring boats under 7 meters not to have lights on makes no sense at all to me. Seems they would be the ones more difficult to see and at greater risk being run into.

I also notice (c) and it's always made sense to me to have deck lights on. Underwater even better, but something to give an idea of the shape and size of the boat and to make it clear this is a boat.
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Old 01-24-2017, 01:57 PM   #19
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I bought these to help out for at least till after the drunks have gone in all likelihood. Put them on the 4 corners of the cabin top shining on rails and other structures. $20 for four and they stay put in pretty good seas without mounting on anything, so easily moved. They last till after midnight and later if fully charged...and when these batteries go, better ones should last all night.
I have been looking around for a while for some AFFORDABLE solar lights that could be placed on the boat to provide some illumination from dusk to the wee hours. I like the idea of more light when at anchor here in the PNW.

I almost collided with a boat that was anchored off a marina in Poulsbo at night that had no anchor light or other visible lights turned on. I fortunately noticed other lights being occluded by a dark shape in time. I have always been cognizant of the fact that sailboat anchor lights are way up off the water and at night it is difficult to get a sense of distance on a very dark night. In our sailboat we used to hang a kerosene lantern from a halyard low enough that it would illuminate the the top of the deck. It helped provide some better visibility for other boats.
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:07 PM   #20
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This year I switched over to an LED anchor light like Ted mentioned above....it is so bright that it casts shadows all around and I am sure the glare off shiny objects is pretty good at a distance too.

But what the heck...when at home dock I use the HD lights to illuminate side decks mostly...and at anchor they do the same but are pointed outward.

Inexpensive, solar, and can be moved around to satisfy the moment without worry they will slip and slide all over if on non-skid.

You can even pick them up and use them lie little flashlights in a quick need situation.
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