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Old 10-09-2018, 11:43 AM   #1
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Rig for red lights at night is bad now.

https://www.passagemaker.com/technic...ntific-blunder
Was a proven scientific blunder begun in WWII, like an old wives tale today.
I never fell for it, never had any red lights on the boat.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:20 PM   #2
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Not a blunder at all, scientific fact. The complaint in the article isn't with the science of rods and cones and red light, it's just complaining that color coded charts aren't readily readable in incident red light as the reds tend to disappear - which is true. This in no way diminishes the fact that red light preserves night vision better than white light, even at low levels. There are many papers studying this, all with the same conclusion. If you are primarily staring at printed charts at night rather than out at the water in front of you then OK. Just don't expect to be able to see that log as well as someone using red light.

But who uses printed charts anymore? A chart displayed on a chart plotter does not depend on incident light, they are backlit and emissive, not reflective. You will see all the colors, with red incident light, white incident light, or no light whatsoever. That makes the premise of the article out of date.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:32 PM   #3
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“Recreational and commercial mariners should consider the advantages of using low-level white light on the bridge at night…When charts and displays need to be viewed, low-level white lighting greatly surpasses red lighting in supporting good color discrimination and, therefore, accurate reading of charts and displays.”
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
https://www.passagemaker.com/technic...ntific-blunder
Was a proven scientific blunder begun in WWII, like an old wives tale today.
I never fell for it, never had any red lights on the boat.

It wasn't necessarily a blunder, but I think more of an issue with changing environments and priorities. Dim red light will protect night vision more than dim white. The issue is what are the advantages and disadvantages of each. If you are operating with black and white paper charts and steering via compass heading rather than backlit colored displays, have a young crew and are operating in an environment where quickly recovering night vision is critical, then dim red would be a reasonable choice. OTOH, if you are operating in an environment where everyone is using colored backlit displays, older crew etc... then dim red has disadvantages that outweigh the small improvement in night vision recovery. So again, maybe not so much a blunder or wives tale, but a change in the operating environments.


What is silly, is the use of bright red lights on the bridge. It provides no real benefit and all of the disadvantages. My boat has a red LED in the PH. Not helpful at all. Being an LED it is really bright and wipes out the night vision. Add to that the difficulties in color perception. I also spend most of the time steering by true heading as given on the MFD. So my night vision recovery is determined by the brightness of the display. When I operate at night, all lights are turned off in the PH and my displays are turned down as much as they can be.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:00 PM   #5
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Too bright city lights blind you from seeing marker lights. That is modern lighting tragedy, the big change. Boating and flying as well as driving. Color of cockpit lighting won't help anymore. Many people have a form of insanity when it comes to bright lights.

My personal theory is that it is the same "self-destruct gene" responsible for addiction, fear of success, emotional arguments, more is better mentality, emotional decision making, hormonal driving, etc.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:05 PM   #6
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Too bright city lights blind you from seeing marker lights. That is modern lighting tragedy, the big change. Boating and flying as well as driving. Color of cockpit lighting won't help anymore. Many people have a form of insanity when it comes to bright lights.

So true. City lights are an issue of course, but what bothers me when operating at night are the very bright lights on other boats. Unnecessary and you would think that other boaters would be aware of it. It would be the same as if pilots flew around with landing lights on all the time.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:57 PM   #7
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I have LEDs in the Salon, where my lower helm is. They are dual (White or Red). The white mode uses 7 LED's. The red mode uses 1 LED. They are perfect for our needs. No, I cannot read txt or a chart, but I can see objects on water while I'm operating. I can dim my display way down, though I have to remind myself to increase brightness when I shutdown, or else I won't be able to see the display during daylight.

The real mistake was the choice to use red lights on buoys for navigation. The green can be seen much farther than the red IMHO.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:22 PM   #8
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When I as still flying in the USCG,vthey were toying with blue and green night lighting, but I retired before any became official.

Also one of the reasons flight suits and to thermal
wet gear became blue versus orange for reflected light in the cockpit.

Wonder where that study went?
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:41 PM   #9
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Of COURSE white light has better discrimination. It contains many wavelengths of light. If you illuminate with only red light, you will only see red. Blues, green, etc will disappear. Paper will only reflect what hits it, unless it has florescent properties, and a NOAA chart does not.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:46 PM   #10
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The real mistake was the choice to use red lights on buoys for navigation. The green can be seen much farther than the red IMHO.
True with your eye, but using Gen III NVG, then the reverse is true.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:48 PM   #11
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Actually, the red made the magenta color disappear the most which was pretty critical on the older air nav charts.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:51 PM   #12
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I have red lights in the pilot house for running at night. When switching to LED emitters, I purposely chose very low light level ones. While I might be better with them turned off, I have stumbled more than once when moving around the boat in the dark. While you might think the MFDs put out more than enough light, little of it illuminates the dark floor.

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Old 10-09-2018, 07:55 PM   #13
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When outfitting a $2 billion destroyer, the cost of reprinting some charts without red ink is pretty minor.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:01 PM   #14
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Vague memory of a toy or an experiment with different color glasses that made different colors disappear. Maybe you saw different pictures or messages depending on which color glasses. Would work the same with different color lights.

Mix all of the colors of light and you get white light. Mix all of the colors of paint, you get a toxic mess and a hazardous waste citation.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:02 PM   #15
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When I as still flying in the USCG,vthey were toying with blue and green night lighting, but I retired before any became official.

Also one of the reasons flight suits and to thermal
wet gear became blue versus orange for reflected light in the cockpit.

Wonder where that study went?
I worked with a different DoD agency on lighting. And, they were not generally airborne, so they had a different perspective. The USCG and the USAF, when wearing NVG, I suppose would have to "look under" the NVG to read the instruments, correct??; in order to avoid having to refocus from INF. So, the cockpit lighting issue is what color to pick to avoid a lot of NVG gain, while allowing rapid and accurate analysis of the instruments. I'm thinking that would be a drive for green, or even blue backlit instruments, so as not to bloom the NVG, while allowing them bright enough to be seen with the naked eye. Gen III has about no gain with blue, and very little with green.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:16 PM   #16
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Last I heard IIRC, they were focusing one lens for the instruments and one for outside...no looking under them
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:27 PM   #17
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Last I heard IIRC, they were focusing one lens for the instruments and one for outside...no looking under them
That could well be. I think that is called "monovision" where one eye is set up for distance and the other for close.
Reminds me of an incident I had years ago. Flying solo into PBI and I lost a contact mid flight from the Bahamas. I have like 20:200 uncorrected. So, I had to land with basically one eye. Didn't really favor that set up.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:01 PM   #18
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So true. City lights are an issue of course, but what bothers me when operating at night are the very bright lights on other boats.
This is a huge problem in our area now. The recreational fishermen see the big, steel commercial boats go around lit up like a baseball stadium, so they've all gone out and bought massive LED banks. They run around at night with these things blasting. They live in their little bubble of light, can see nothing outside the bubble, and blind every other boat they get near.

Maybe they're compensating for something?

Sort of like the guys who run around all winter with their yellow flashing light bars on their pickups, even when they're not plowing snow.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:10 PM   #19
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But who uses printed charts anymore?
I do. "No mariner shall rely on one single source of navigation". Plenty of stories here of chart plotters getting people into trouble.

A little LOW LEVEL white light is ok. You recover quickly. In fact, I find all those plotters and other screens a lot more interfering with my situational awareness at night than when we didn't have ANY of that. I've been known to put towels over them except for the occasional peek.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:33 PM   #20
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I do. "No mariner shall rely on one single source of navigation". Plenty of stories here of chart plotters getting people into trouble.

A little LOW LEVEL white light is ok. You recover quickly. In fact, I find all those plotters and other screens a lot more interfering with my situational awareness at night than when we didn't have ANY of that. I've been known to put towels over them except for the occasional peek.
My chart plotter is OpenCPN and it adjusts for 3 levels of brightness, it does get set to a pretty low level of light at night on the monitor.

I am switching to dimmable LED for the overhead cabin lights and ordered a PWM controller to allow me to dim them and I can turn them all on and off together from it's remote. Plan is to dim them all 10 of them together.
I am keeping the fixtures, just replacing with G4 bulbs.
If you need a bright light, various interior spaces have AC lights. I can see how a depth plotter could be too bright, and mine is not automatic for dimming, has to be manually set, but the color screen is real small, like 3 by 5 inches.
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