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Old 03-18-2015, 04:23 PM   #1
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COLREGS light intensity

In reviewing my spring safety list, I looked at the regs, particularly Rule 22 regarding the light intensity rule. In that the bulbs on my new to me boat were in place at purchase, and still functioning, I wonder about their intensity compliance. The type, color and location are correct for boat size. Do bulbs ever state USCG compliance like some fixtures ? So, at boarding has anyone ever in countered this level of scrutiny, or just a mundane rule that is not enforced on the water ?
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:25 PM   #2
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I'd be more worried about the at court scrutiny after there is an incident
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:31 PM   #3
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Probably a boarding team would do nothing more than see if they work and look bright enough.

However if they stopped you because the lights seemed very dim...they may be more inclined to experiment a bit if they could, but even that is pretty hard to do most of the time. So all they might do is give a warning stating you lights seem dim.

The fixture itself should have a rating for the bulk in terms of watts...that should be good enough unless the lens is getting very opaque.
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Old 03-18-2015, 06:35 PM   #4
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I replaced the incandescent anchor light on my boat with an LED bulb. The manufacturer claims the bulb meets USCG requirements.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:27 AM   #5
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. "The manufacturer claims the bulb meets USCG requirements."

Not sure but I think he has to DEMONSTRATE it in each and light , as a lamp mfg would have to do.

The filament or hot spot location is critical to each lamp style.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:57 AM   #6
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I'd be more worried about the at court scrutiny after there is an incident
Yep! In the US anyway.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:14 AM   #7
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Not from a legal standpoint, but as a practical one: The most prevalent issue with running lights isn't the bulb it's the condition of the lamp housing, and corrosion and dirt, salt, and sun damaged lens that lessens the lights intensity.

It is true that the CG approval of lights depends upon the bulbs having the correct filament position and intensity to meet the requirements, the cleanliness of the lens itself is the biggest detriment to good vis.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:01 AM   #8
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. "The manufacturer claims the bulb meets USCG requirements."

Not sure but I think he has to DEMONSTRATE it in each and light , as a lamp mfg would have to do.
This is correct. Certification is issued to a light fixture, not a bulb. There is no such thing as a USCG certified bulb.

If you read the Dr LED press release carefully, what they say is that an independent lab tested their bulb in an AquaSignal series 60 fixture and found that it met the USCG requirements. But that doesn't mean the AquaSignal Series 60 is now certified with a Dr LED bulb, or that anything new has been certified, let along anything with a Dr LED bulb. The only way to get a certified LED nav light is to buy a whole LED fixture.

All that said, I expect much of this is splitting hairs over a regulation. But there are real considerations using replacement LED bulbs in fixtures designed for incandescent. Incandescent bulbs emit a wide spectrum of light, where LEDs emit a much narrower spectrum. When you shine that narrower spectrum of light through the colored glass of a nav light, the results are probably not predictable nor measurable by you and me. Dr LED has addressed this by testing just such a combination with the Series 60 AquaSignal fixtures listed in the press release, and shown that it meets the USCG requirements. But that's different from an issued certification for a light fixture, and it says nothing about how that bulb will perform in any other fixture.

As always, we each get to decide exactly how much we care about such details.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:20 AM   #9
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Certification is only pertinent to boat manufactures.

Lights can be home made as long as they meet the COLREGs.

Some of the fishing vessels I have noticed on this trip just use colored 110 light bulbs and light screens to meet the angle requirements.

Many other commercial vessels I have been on have all sorts of fixtures with appropriate light screens.

We can use whatever we want in those fixtures once on the boat...but are responsible to ensure they meet the COLREGs
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:27 AM   #10
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This is correct. Certification is issued to a light fixture, not a bulb. There is no such thing as a USCG certified bulb.
Not quite accurate. The fixture must have a bulb which conforms to the design specs to make the fixture operate properly. The filament type, height, and intensity must be of a specific type design to meet the manufacturers requirements. Often cheaper bulbs can be found that fit the socket. But they don't last, or have different filament types.

There are a rash of 'perko' knock offs from China with a 'wound' filament that totally don't meet the specs for a vertical filament as prescribed in the regs. But the prongs are specifically made for the perko fittings.

I can't find any of the left over bad bulbs we had previous to switching to LED lights. But here's a couple examples of differences in quality of bulbs that are distinctly dimmer than the one on the top ( a real Perko bulb) You can actually see the filaments wiggle and in a lazy s pattern inside the bulb. The curved filaments are NOT distortions or photoshopped. These were the first three bulbs I took out of the box of old light bulbs in the locker.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:57 AM   #11
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Well heck...the Hella oversized , "USCG certified" light fixtures on our assistance towboats didn't meet the certification in our minds. Over a quarter mile behind the boats you could clearly see the red and green lenses and it looked like a boat coming at you with nav lights on the wrong sides.

We made light screens to comply with the COLREGs.

Heck after enormous prompting, the USCG finally put out a statement that even manufacturer installed lights that were certified didn't comply because they were installed incorrectly.

Bottom line...operator is responsible...no matter what fixture or bulb.
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