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Old 12-08-2012, 07:13 AM   #81
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If your are in heavy fog and have a gaggle of spreader lights, floodlights, spotlights and every other photon producing machine sold at West Marine the only thing you will see is the bubble of fog around you. Whether the "other guy" sees your light bubble or not is debatable but one thing is for sure, you have just blinded yourself just as much as driving in fog at night with the high beams on.

I'm with Marin on the running lights issue, turn them on if it makes you feel good but since those tiny things are all but invisible except on a clear night against a dark background to someone who is looking for them you may as well just keep a voodoo doll hanging from the whistle cord for all the good they really do.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:16 AM   #82
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If your are in heavy fog and have a gaggle of spreader lights, floodlights, spotlights and every other photon producing machine sold at West Marine the only thing you will see is the bubble of fog around you. Whether the "other guy" sees your light bubble or not is debatable but one thing is for sure, you have just blinded yourself just as much as driving in fog at night with the high beams on.

I'm with Marin on the running lights issue, turn them on if it makes you feel good but since those tiny things are all but invisible except on a clear night against a dark background to someone who is looking for them you may as well just keep a voodoo doll hanging from the whistle cord for all the good they really do.
I agree with most of that...but where they really shine brightly is in maritime court if anything goes wrong out there....
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:22 AM   #83
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where they really shine brightly is in maritime court if anything goes wrong out there....
Which is why most commercial vessels leave them on continuously while underway, day and night, clear or not.

The only time they are turned off is at a dock where leaving them on might create confusion.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:36 AM   #84
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There's some really interesting debate here. For me, it boils down to,
  1. What's required by the COLREGS
  2. Seamanship
  3. What's demanded by you boat's insurance company
In the UK, some insurance companies are now saying that cover will be limited if non-IMO complaint horns are not fitted and being used correctly. I haven't (yet) heard of the implications of not using lights.

The court investigating the Condor incident I published above, is looking at the fact that the Condor's horns were not being used correctly at the time of the accident. This is separate from the fact it was doing 38kts in almost zero vis.

An interesting mix of drivers are coming into play.

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Old 12-08-2012, 09:47 AM   #85
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You want to turn on your lights when nobody can see them that's fine with me. I prefer to save them for when they can be seen, particularly since I don't fancy dropping the mast just to change the bulbs that burned out because we had our lights on for no reason whatsoever.
You "save your lights for when they can be seen"? How do you know if they can be seen? What if burning the lights would have prevented a collision but you were saving them?

Replace them with LEDs which consume 1/10 the power and last for 20,000 hours or more. Then turn them on whenever there's a chance they will hep someone to see your boat and avoid hitting it.

Notice that many motorists run with their headlights on during the daytime so they can be more easily seen. I have been on some stretches of road where it is a legal requirement to drive with the headlights on, even in broad daylight for the same reason.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:50 AM   #86
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............In the UK, some insurance companies are now saying that cover will be limited if non-IMO complaint horns are not fitted and being used correctly. I haven't (yet) heard of the implications of not using lights..............
Oddly, as often as I see statements similar to this regarding insurance coverage, my policy has nothing like that in it. Just exclusions for racing, criminal activity (on my part), etc.

I guess I'm just lucky.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:55 AM   #87
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Oddly, as often as I see statements similar to this regarding insurance coverage, my policy has nothing like that in it. Just exclusions for racing, criminal activity (on my part), etc.

I guess I'm just lucky.
I think you are. Some are adding that sea-cocks must have be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

I've heard (but not yet tested) that some are looking to excluse boats which do not have IMO approved nav lights fitted.

In other words, anything that might show the master wasn't looking after the boat as he should. Weasel ways not having to pay out...?
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:56 PM   #88
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Well, there's fog and there's fog. When it's foggy we boat in the fog regardless of how dense it is. Up here it tends to be very dense. We've encountered boats in this fog (knew where they were by radar) and some of them have had their nav lights on. Even when we could sort of see the vague presence of the approaching boat we could not see their lights until they were just a few boat lengths away. At night the lights would show up a lot sooner but they'd be on anyway. But in the fog we typically have here, in daylight we begin to see the boat itself long before we see any nav lights if they're on.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:11 PM   #89
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Heaven forbid, you're cruising at safe fwd speed with radar operating, fog horn sounding and nav lights off and are overrun by a large tanker in the fog. You sue (and get sued) and finally get your day in court. The first question asked of you is were you operating in compliance with the appropriate COLREGS. "No, your honor, I was not because I figured it wasn't necessary." Plaintiff found at fault, Plaintiff to pay all damages, CASE DISMISSED.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:46 PM   #90
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A couple of times I`ve been caught off the coast in sea fog which occasionally occurs in warm, not cold conditions, over here. I`d use lights, more in hope than expectation they`d help. When you use fog lights on your car, you aim them low so they shine up under the fog (well that`s what we did in car rally competition).
If using the horn, as I think we should, at what intervals should it be used? Does anyone have an automatic facility for this so you don`t watch a clock or timer?
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:02 PM   #91
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...... If using the horn, as I think we should, at what intervals should it be used? Does anyone have an automatic facility for this so you don`t watch a clock or timer?
Many of the higher end VHF radios have a "loud hailer" feature and an automatic horn feature for these situations.

I believe it's every two minutes but I'm not positive. If someone else doen't post it, I will look it up.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:04 PM   #92
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......Plaintiff found at fault, Plaintiff to pay all damages, CASE DISMISSED.
Not to be picky, but if there is a judgement, the case is not dismised.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:10 PM   #93
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Not to be picky, but if there is a judgement, the case is not dismised.
COURT IS ADJOURNED
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:19 PM   #94
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Not to be picky, but if there is a judgement, the case is not dismised.
Being picky, the plaintiff would only be liable for a damages award if the defendant had cross claimed, but should usually be awarded costs which normally "follow the event"(decision) anyway.
I think the moral is, have your lights on in fog,even if you doubt they will be seen. They might be seen,fog has heavy and light patches, and it may help in Court to show you took reasonably available actions, like flicking a switch to "on". It can`t hurt,and it might help.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:32 PM   #95
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Ron is correct, the horn interval for fog is two minutes. We have a Standard Horizon intercom/ loud hailer that will do all sorts of pre-programmed horn sounds and yelps through the main hailer horn. Now the hailer horn is nowhere near as loud as our big dual-tone air horns, but when we're in fog we turn on the hailer's two minute fog cycle and every time it goes off the person at the helm hits the air horn button.

There are programmable control units that can be wired into a boat's horn circuitry. What we do is the poor man's, or in my case the cheap, lazy man's version.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:33 PM   #96
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If using the horn, as I think we should, at what intervals should it be used? Does anyone have an automatic facility for this so you don`t watch a clock or timer?
My Coot has one located between the searchlight control and the autopilot:




http://www.kahlenberg.com/documents/...erBrochure.pdf

There are both simpler/cheaper devices to operate the horn automatically.

One to two-minute intervals.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:50 PM   #97
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I installed a Fogmate horn controller to sound my horn at the appropriate interval, which I believe is 2 minutes. It can be tailored to vessel type per COLREGS. Cost about $100, is easy to install and keeps the radio free for radioing.


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Old 12-08-2012, 09:10 PM   #98
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We have had to run on instruments in extremely "can't see past the pulpit" heavy fog quite a few times. I am not worried about getting the horn timing exactly right. We've got both a radio/hailer and a pure hailer on board each with their own speakers and auto fog horn capability and I far prefer using the big air horns. Run slow and have a crew member (in our case THE crew member) at the bow looking and most importantly listening. Watch the radar closely and in narrow channels pretty much ignore the chart plotter. Use your VHF to announce your position and course especially if in a marked channel with turns like the ICW but even in the open ocean. When in doubt STOP THE BOAT until doubt has been removed. Sure I turn my running lights on. What can it hurt?

I really don't care about what might happen in court. I don't want to hit anything in the first place.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:00 PM   #99
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One prolonged, every 2 minutes or less for underway power vessels.

Just in from a 3.25 hour tow in the NJICW....50 foot visibility...

Striper fisherman out there at night, no radar...lost as all get out...making things worse was not only no lights on the marks but also all the buoys are out for the season. To make it really exciting, in many places the channel has shoaled so it's less than 50 feet wide.
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:27 PM   #100
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This afternoon made a 2.5-hour run to exercise the engine. Besides one slow tug+barge, there was little traffic. A couple of anchored, open-top, outboard boats had fishermen aboard. They did not show up on radar. (Very calm waters today, but a strong ebb tide. Made good 4 knots in one direction, and over 10 in the opposite. Estimate the tug+barge were netting 2.5 knots over ground.)



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