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Old 07-20-2018, 06:44 AM   #1
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Side Nav Lights

On to my next anal subject. Replacing my side of cabin name boards that hold my nav lights and noticed something. My old Perko lights are in a 90 degree casing. They are supposed to be seen from dead ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft beam. OK, how does that work? The PO of my boat had the name boards set up so they angled a bit towards the stern. Meaning the spacer at the forward end of the board was thicker than the one towards the stern. But....if that is done doesn't it mean that there would be a blank space in-between the lights from dead ahead? How do set up 90 degree lights so they are seen appropriately? I do notice that the lens is not 90 degrees but is curved a bit at each end where it falls into the casing. Does that take care of the issue? Just set them up for and aft with the center line of the boat and the lens does the work?
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:25 AM   #2
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Usually the filament of the buld is forward just enough of the 90 degree housing to give tou the 22.5 degrees abaft the beam.

As far as aligning with the centerline with ehr boat, generally they should be, usung spacers to do so.

The name boards are a secondary function and only really a recreational thing to be included with "light screens" for the nav lights to ensure proper sectors.
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:35 AM   #3
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Have a close look at the bulb placement.
The casing may look like it cut off at 90 degrees, but usually the bulb is mounted forward of the edge of the casing, so it will provide light at the required angle aft when mounted flat.
To be sure, walk around the boat at the dock with a protractor at night.

Mine are slightly out of alignment which I need to correct. There is a slight overlap from ahead due to being mounted on the curved bow rail. It requires a spacer as your old boat had. It's on my project list.
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:17 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. Looking at them with all that in mind I can see how they can cover the area but only if placed correctly. Also see that it might take a little trial and error on the spacers and adjustment in how far outboard the light sits on the name board base. I have a "back board" that blocks the light from the rear. Have to make sure the lens is far enough out so that it shines around that back board.


Thanks for the comments and help.
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:58 AM   #5
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Sidelights alone should cover the required arc, with the required intensity within the arc and the required cutoff within (I think) 1-3 deg. arc at each end, so yours are more for aesthetics than function, as long as the lights are USCG approved sidelights. You can mount them a little further forward of the aft return, as it's not actually required to screen the light from 22.5 deg. abaft the beam. But like you, I'd probably measure off 22.5 deg abaft the beam, and see if the center of the vertical filament bulb is just visible (with a protractor) where the screen cuts it off, just to make sure, and move the light forward if it cuts it off prematurely.


72 COLREGS, Annex I

5. Screens for sidelights
The sidelights of vessels of 20 meters or more in length shall be fitted with
inboard screens painted matt black, and meeting the requirements of
Section 9 of this Annex. On vessels of less than 20 meters in length the
sidelights, if necessary to meet the requirements of Section 9 of this Annex,
shall be fitted with inboard matt black screens. With a combined lantern,
using a single vertical filament and a very narrow division between the green
and red sections, external screens need not be fitted.
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:25 AM   #6
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It is annoying that the colored lenses on the brighter nav lights stick out just enough, it is possible to see them from behind the boat.

Till I put screens on all our assistance tow boats, you could be behind them a couple hundred yards and still see the colored lenses.....much like the intensity of some cheapo side lights on small vessels.

Must have driven a lot of boats crazy for many years running around bends on the IICW and seeing nav lights that you think should be coming at you, but then realizing they are on the wrong sides.

Wonder how many other boats do the same thing.
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Old 07-20-2018, 04:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
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It is annoying that the colored lenses on the brighter nav lights stick out just enough, it is possible to see them from behind the boat.

Till I put screens on all our assistance tow boats, you could be behind them a couple hundred yards and still see the colored lenses.....much like the intensity of some cheapo side lights on small vessels.

Must have driven a lot of boats crazy for many years running around bends on the IICW and seeing nav lights that you think should be coming at you, but then realizing they are on the wrong sides.

Wonder how many other boats do the same thing.
You would be lucky if one in twenty even noticed. Thats probably high.
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:15 PM   #8
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You would be lucky if one in twenty even noticed. Thats probably high.
Rare on a summer night that 1 in 20 are showing correct lights anyhow...
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:21 PM   #9
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We were patrolling for the fireworks this year, about 60% of the boats that were out were improperly lit. Some didn’t even have a light aboard...
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:15 AM   #10
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Thanks to all. Another boat item that I never gave much thought to in the past. Can't say that I ever changed or messed with any in all my years. Looking at these (Perko) nav lights I do see the bulb placement and I see that despite the 90 degree casing the lens is a little proud of the casing which allows light to angle back. I do have returns behind them but can adjust them outward with spacers as needed. Going to install on the centerline, take some measurements/angles and go from there.
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:21 PM   #11
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Boat structure is rarely done with a square or straight edge. I imagine your flybridge tapers inward a bit going forward so the forward block would be larger to hold the light fixture perpendicular to the vessel centerline.
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:47 PM   #12
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This whole thing was due to my changing of the name of the boat which was on the old name boards, same nav lights. I reused the old spacers on the new boards. I assumed they were at least close to accurate. You are right, the rear spacers are thinner than the ones forward.
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Old 07-26-2018, 07:23 PM   #13
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If you are showing a white running light without red or green sidelights showing, I'm to presume you are heading away from me. If only your white masthead light is showing, I'd be disappointed if headed straight for me. (Memo to self: check radar to observe changing distances.)
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Old 07-26-2018, 07:26 PM   #14
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This whole thing was due to my changing of the name of the boat which was on the old name boards, same nav lights. I reused the old spacers on the new boards. I assumed they were at least close to accurate. You are right, the rear spacers are thinner than the ones forward.
I'm (sort of) trusting that both green and red sidelight are visible from the forward position.
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Old 07-27-2018, 06:39 AM   #15
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This thread might be incentive for a cruiser anchored out on a fine night to take a 360 in the dink and observe your boats lights.

Are they correct , or sending false information to other vessels?

Our only "non standard" light is a far larger anchor light.

With LED it is easy to get to 5 miles viz , even tho the requirements are much lower.

Having perhaps the brightest light in the harbor makes rowing back from an evening ashore a snap.
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Old 07-27-2018, 07:10 AM   #16
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I'm (sort of) trusting that both green and red sidelight are visible from the forward position.
Yes but from how far out? That's going to be the first check I do after re-install. Luckily I have open water in front of my slip and dock stern in. At some point the cabin has to block them from head on but I think it is a fairly close distance. Coming from a sailing background on boats larger and smaller that all had combo lights on the bow, never thought I would have to give this much attention to them.
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Old 07-27-2018, 07:16 AM   #17
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This thread might be incentive for a cruiser anchored out on a fine night to take a 360 in the dink and observe your boats lights.

Are they correct , or sending false information to other vessels?

Our only "non standard" light is a far larger anchor light.

With LED it is easy to get to 5 miles viz , even tho the requirements are much lower.

Having perhaps the brightest light in the harbor makes rowing back from an evening ashore a snap.

Yep, plan on having the wife on board with some shims as well so we can get it done in one shot. Also need to make sure that the base of the light is angled down just a touch for water run off. Light isn't resting on the board, it is held above it 1/2" or so by the attachment bracket behind but still need some angle for run off.
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Old 07-27-2018, 08:22 AM   #18
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Yes but from how far out?
From the COLREGS, Annex I (technical details):

"In the forward direction, sidelights as fitted on the vessel shall show the minimum required intensities. The intensities shall decrease to reach practical cut-off between 1 degree and 3 degrees outside the prescribed sectors."

With a 12 ft separation, at 1 deg. cutoff, the minimum distance from the lights is about 344 ft to the point where they're both still visible. At 3 deg. cutoff, the minimum distance where they're both still visible (on the centerline, of course) is about 115 ft. Either side of that theoretical point and you lose one of them, but further away the sector where you can still see both grows.
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Old 07-30-2018, 03:59 PM   #19
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If you look very closely at the photo of my boat, you will see one of those useless "combined" sidelight fixtures on the top side of my anchor pulpit. Checking it out by walking around in the backyard after I got it home into the lift, I found that both colors were quite visible at over thirty degrees off the center-line. Many are like that. When I elected to place a wireless-controlled Marinco spotlight at that location, the old light fixture was trashed in favor of separate LED side lights stuck on the sides of the anchor pulpit.

I had that Perko junk mentioned by the OP on my GB42 and replaced them with LED units there too. Just make sure the name boards are parallel to the keel and mount the LEDs such that the beam clears whatever wood is aft of it, or cut the wood down to size.

Theoretically, your close up "blind spot" directly ahead will only be the approximately 9-10 foot width of the deck-house structure, but in practice less.

Once while conducting a vessel safety inspection on a boat with the combined light on the underside of the pulpit, I found the lens installed upside down giving green light to port and red to stbd!
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:13 AM   #20
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If you look at the history of the COLREGS you will see previous regulations stated that the sidelights needed to cover only 90° from dead ahead. When they updated the regulations they changed that to the current angle of 112° from dead ahead, or 22.5 degrees abaft of the beam. This is why the older lights are only angled at 90°.
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