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Old 12-20-2010, 09:40 PM   #1
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Night vision

Seems to be a good idea to use a headlamp with a red bulb to preserve one's night vision, and keep the* pilothouse lights off.* Like this:

http://www.rei.com/product/791312

Or do you have special night lighting installed?* Or see no need?
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:40 PM   #2
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RE: Night vision

While red has traditionally been the color of choice for preserving night vision I have read in several places that actually it's not. A sort of greenish glow is apparently better.

In any event we don't make a practice of running at night in our waters because it's a sure way to get a crab pot line around your running gear or slam into a deadhead which can tear up your shafts, rudders, and props if it doesn't simply hole your boat and sink it. To say nothing of the huge eelgrass mats that can get into a raw water system and block it (ask Carey about that one....) Commercial fishermen run at night on a regular basis but they turn on their bright forward lights and they have hulls that can withstand a fair amount of beating. And most of them are single-engine so their running gear is pretty protected.

We do have a flashlight with a red gel in it in the event we get caught out after dark which has happened a couple of times. Our nav systems, radio, and radar have "night light" features so they are not a source of excessive light.
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:32 AM   #3
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RE: Night vision

There was a study done some years ago in the USA with pilot boats and the colour to preserve night vision
It was found that white light was the best colour
Surprise surprise!!!
It was of interest as I worked for the Govt agency responsible for all shipping on the Queensland coast at the time and we ran a lot of pilot boats. Now a lot of them are helicoptors taking the pilots out.

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Old 12-21-2010, 06:06 AM   #4
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Night vision

Here's a good article that debunks the red light myth, and comes to the conclusion that dim white is best for a lot of uses, but others are best under certain conditions. Very interesting:
http://stlplaces.com/night_vision_red_myth/

-- Edited by Keith on Tuesday 21st of December 2010 07:46:54 AM
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:25 AM   #5
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RE: Night vision

Quote:
markpierce wrote:

Seems to be a good idea to use a headlamp with a red bulb to preserve one's night vision, and keep the* pilothouse lights off... Or see no need?
We have found that with the radar, depth finder, VHF, auto pilot, computer/chart ploter, instrument gauges, etc. all give enough light that you don't have turn on any*pilothouse lights (even when significantly dimmed).* Even if you do turn on light, so what, a minute or so later you're fine.* If you are running in conditions that night vision is so crital you won't be using any lights, red or white.

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Old 12-21-2010, 08:59 AM   #6
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RE: Night vision

Quote:
Keith wrote:

Here's a good article that debunks the red light myth, and comes to the conclusion that dim white is best for a lot of uses, but others are best under certain conditions. Very interesting:
http://stlplaces.com/night_vision_red_myth/

-- Edited by Keith on Tuesday 21st of December 2010 07:46:54 AM
Interesting article. On my chart boat I mounted several red LED lights so that you* wouldn't see the LED but the light would reflect off a surface to cast a red glow though the cabin. Part of the lense can also be covered with electrical tape to reduce the light level. Works very well for customers walking around while motoring at night. Kind of like walkway lights* in the movie theater. Use one in the all white head. The head is bright with a red glow to take care of business and dosen't blind me when someone opens* the head door in the wheelhouse. Mine are truck trailer lights sealed and designed for wet salt environment and actually very inexpensive.

http://www.truck-lite.com/webapp/wcs...2115&langId=-1

Mounting bracket:
http://www.truck-lite.com/webapp/wcs...3966&langId=-1

Ted
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:03 AM   #7
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RE: Night vision

The miliatary did a study of night vision and the greenish light was the best. All the flashlights red filters were replaced with the green.
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:21 AM   #8
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RE: Night vision

About 15 years ago we replace all the DC over head lights to lights with white and red bulbs through out the boat for night vision as we use to follow the Christmas ship around and due special cruises. All the white light bulbs are 40 and 60 watts so very dim.* *My wife made a quilt that we hang over the stair way from the salon to the pilot house to keep the pilot house dark.***We also found the quilt held the heat down in the salon, so we have it up 24/7 during the winter which has saved hundreds of dollars for heat.**

***
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:06 PM   #9
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RE: Night vision

Quote:
Keith wrote:

Here's a good article that debunks the red light myth, and comes to the conclusion that dim white is best for a lot of uses, ...
*** Guess I've watched too many WWII submarine movies.

*
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:13 PM   #10
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RE: Night vision

Quote:
markpierce wrote:

*
Keith wrote:

Here's a good article that debunks the red light myth, and comes to the conclusion that dim white is best for a lot of uses, ...
Guess I've watched too many WWII submarine movies.
No, you haven't.* In WWII red light was considered the best way to protect night vision and it was the standard night lighting on ships, subs, planes, etc, as you've seen in the movies.* For example the PT boat crews painted the inside of the vertical companionway from the helm down to the inside of the boat red.* That way if someone came up on deck or went down below, when they opened the door to the companionway the reflected light coming up from below would be red.

I believe the "discovery" that greenish or white-green light is better for night work is relatively recent.

*
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:51 PM   #11
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RE: Night vision

We have two red lights in the pilothouse, on a separate circuit from the main overhead lights, but never use them. Pioneer was a fishing vessel and these lights were required for survey.

The lights from the instruments are more than enough. In fact I turn the engine panel lights off when running at night, and have a small torch to check the gauges occasionally.

In our experience, it's more important to ensure your plotter, sounder etc. can be dimmed enough. Our PC-based GPS plotter program (Fugawi) has dusk and night settings which are ideal. The previous program didn't and we had to rely on dimming the monitor, which wasn't satisfactory. The radar and sounder are both Furuno and can be dimmed to the right level for night running.
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:38 PM   #12
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RE: Night vision

Another trick is to get a commercial paper towel (the brown rough ones at gas station pumps) and
cut a circle the size of a flashlight lense. Install under the plastic lens. Presto! a night vision flashlight. Obviously it needs to be a dedicated light.
Aqua signal use to make a nifty round mounted light with a couple of mounts. You could move it within the confines of the attached pig tail. It had a reostat white to blueish light that was very useful. I haven't seen them for several years.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:33 AM   #13
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RE: Night vision

Quote:
Marin wrote:

...* In any event we don't make a practice of running at night in our waters because it's a sure way to get a crab pot line around your running gear or slam into a deadhead which can tear up your shafts, rudders, and props if it doesn't simply hole your boat and sink it. To say nothing of the huge eelgrass mats that can get into a raw water system and block it (ask Carey about that one....)
I'm curious as to how frequently you need to maneuver to avoid crab pots lines, deadheads, and such.* I've asked my builder to place extra steel on the bow because my Dad's first voyage ended by ramming the dock, and a cruise ship I was on ran into*a barge in Montevideo.* (The Coot's propeller is already protected by a full-length keel.)* Are most NW US boaters as cautious as you to avoid night cruising?

*
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:21 AM   #14
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RE: Night vision

Most East coast cruisers will only run at night or in limited viz with good spur cutters, as lobster pots are frequently strung IN the channel across from red to green , so the lobster guy can find them.

Of course it helps the local boat yards too.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:43 AM   #15
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RE: Night vision

Between Point Roberts marina and Drayton harbour (Blaine) there were crap pots every 100 yards, in every direction the one time I ran it.
Deadheads used to be much more of a problem when all the loggin was dragged down the coast in flat booms. Now it is usually on a barge, so the loggers get paid for the wood, instead of seeing it up on the beaches. You still need to keep a watch for them, but there are frequently Gulf crossings where none needs to be avoided. In years of high snowpacks, the Fraser river brings down a lot of debris that floats around during June and July, but it is usually gone by August. Then the big storms in the winter will pull some of the flotsam off the beaches for another tour around before it gets blown up onto a different beach.
You are more likely to need to manouver to avoid other boats, as we all track exactly the same courses with our GPS, going both ways.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:12 AM   #16
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RE: Night vision

Quote:
FF wrote:Most East coast cruisers will only run at night or in limited viz with good spur cutters ...
Spurs? Don't need no stinkin' spurs!*



*
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:39 AM   #17
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RE: Night vision

Depends on the time or year!* Now there are not very many pots out, but the rivers do carry a lot of stuff down and dump it in the Sounds.* Like whole trees/logs.* If you cruise the deep water 150+ ft of the sound there is not much to worry about as most of the traffic*cruise closer to shore.* I like just out side of the shipping lanes, no pots, very few boaters.* So it depends on the time of the year.*


*
Everett Ship Yards that pulls 100 ft boats was out*your marina gate, so I would poke around.* Most of the boats from Alaska had dents and deep gouges in the bow.* Also many had bulbous bows to protect but also*to help the bow to raised out of the water quicker, especially if the bow was not flared. Many also had keels toward the stern to protect the prop but that was more so their nets did not get tangled.* I been looking at bulbous bows to protect the bow.* So if you are going way north and going to run at night might be a good idea.*
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:17 PM   #18
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Night vision

Quote:
markpierce wrote:1. I'm curious as to how frequently you need to maneuver to avoid crab pots lines, deadheads, and such.

2. Are most NW US boaters as cautious as you to avoid night cruising?

*

*
1.* Pretty much constantly.* Not so much for true deadheads which are not as*numerous in our area as they are further north.* But there*are enough logs, big branches,*lengths of lumber, etc.*to make steering a constant vigil.* A lot of this stuff is carried down from the*mountains by the rivers that empty into the sound and*BC waters--- Skagit, Stillaguamish, Nooksak, and of course the Thompson/Fraser.

The crab pots are somewhat seasonal but the native tribes can fish year round, so there are always some floats scattered around and they are often set*in the most common routes we follow through the islands.* There are also large eelgrass and kelp mats everywhere*which, while not hull-battering and running-gear destroying like the wood, can nevertheless cause problems.* Particularly the eelgrass which can snake up into*a raw water system even with an external strainer over the intake. The fast -running tidal currents (the tide range in this area can be as great as*12 feet or more and it gets greater the farther north you go) tend to concentrate all this floating stuff in long lines that move rapidly through and around the islands.* So we are always encountering* these debris lines and having to*figure out the best paths through them*

All this stuff is very low in the water, and depending on the wave and light conditions can be extremely difficult to see.* If the water is very calm the crab pot floats show up on radar since most of them incorporate one or two large fender washers.* But you have to be constantly manipulating the radar controls to see them as well as the other stuff you want to see on the radar.

2.* I know of very few recreational power boaters who deliberately go out at night here outside of things like Christmas boat parades and such.* We are up at our 2,000 boat marina almost every weekend and our slip has a good view of Bellingham Bay.* There are almost never any boats on the bay at night.* A number of boats might come in right after sunset, particularly in the summer,*but other than the occasional commercial fishboat,*the*big tugs based in Bellingham,*and the USCG boats, there are never any nav lights out there that we have noticed.* None of the power boaters we know personally run at night.

We have been caught out at night a couple of times but it was always as we were finishing a run home and so were crossing the bay toward Bellingham.* With all the lights ahead of us it was pretty easy to pick a big reflection and track down it, which helped in making any debris in the water more visible.* But still we were both at the helm paying very close attention to the water in front of us.

Boating at night is a fairly popular pasttime*on lakes Washington, Union, and Sammamish, but these lakes are ringed with lights and of course they do not have the huge amount of debris in the water that there is in the Sound and on up the Passage*into Alaska.

*


-- Edited by Marin on Wednesday 22nd of December 2010 03:35:06 PM
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:05 PM   #19
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RE: Night vision

Gee, it sounds like a speedboat (going fast,*seated low)*would have a short lifespan in those waters.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:08 PM   #20
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RE: Night vision

Quote:
markpierce wrote:

Gee, it sounds like a speedboat (going fast,*seated low)*would have a short lifespan in those waters.
Some of them do, even on the lakes.

*
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