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Old 10-04-2019, 06:18 PM   #61
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There might be floating trees in the PNW, but you know how many unlit tin boat fishermen, kayakers, and swimmers are in the ICW at night?

Not sure which is worse....with a spotlight on, they are more apt to see me coming and take action rather than just my nav lights blending into background lights.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:59 PM   #62
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I did turn on my spot light to identify a vague shape I spotted as I was heading through Liberty Bay. I flipped on the light to discover a boat anchored in Liberty Bay right in the normal path of boats heading for the Port of Poulsbo Marina without an anchor light.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:31 AM   #63
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Super powerful bright lights are used frequently by commercial fishing guys, whether fishing or just moving around. A non commercial friend in AK has a kazillion CP LED set of spots he frequently uses, especially in debris strewn water, anchorages and skinny water areas.



My night running in offshore races found many competitors turned their lights out or even reversed them! So many odd things occur when competing for a gold plated trophy.

Iíve noticed that outside of North America, boats and ships use all sorts of lighting at night. The South China Sea looks like youíre in the middle of a city in certain areas at night.

When I raced at NY Maritime at night we used to wrap a half-ply of toilet paper around our stern light every 10 minutes or so to give the impression that we were pulling away from the competition. We often were though...
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:41 AM   #64
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..Many of us have gone through the cataract phase, and now with lens replacements, have overcome that deficiency. It is important to note that the other effects of aging eyes are not eliminated by the simple expedient of cataract removal, even though the immediately improved vision, including improvements in night vision, can be quite dramatic.
Keith,I can second that. My thoughts post cataract removal/lens replacement were "Is this what others were seeing, wow!" Cataract degradation is so gradual it goes unnoticed until a real issue. Interestingly there is also color restoration,which seems to fit with other comments above.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:01 AM   #65
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how far apart are these markers that you need to see them a mile away? any channel I have entered has the first marker lite, then the following markers are within sight of each other on fog free day or night.
You're not entering a channel, you're trying to stay in it - there's no part of the river in most places that doesn't require you staying in the channel. There are huge flood plains where you can see for miles (in day) and you can see many markers at the same time as they wind their serpentine path through the shallows. Without light and scanning the entire area it's very easy to mistake which marker is the NEXT marker and cut a corner.

All commercial vessels use massive spotlights on the Upper Mississippi and would quickly be grounded without them. I follow their lead.

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Old 10-05-2019, 08:22 AM   #66
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I have sailed zig zag at night up a channel (called canoe pass) using the depth sounder without a light just to see if I could do it (rising tide for 'in case'). But I digress, I asked how far apart are they as any marked channel I have entered and then stayed in has a visible marker from one to the next.
I really don't care if one uses or does not use a light to see them. My query since the light was able to see a marker a mile away, are they a mile apart?
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:00 PM   #67
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Ah I see. No they're not a mile apart. But just as you don't choose dock lines or engines to work at their limits, I suppose the same holds true for their spotlights. Just because it can project a mile, doesn't mean that it's effective at a mile.
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:17 PM   #68
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It doesn't matter if they are a mile apart or 200 yards...if ambient light is low, vis is reduced by haze, the marker is turned or missing (note no reflective tape)....the best way to be certain you are in the channel is a quick reference to the mark visually and back to your plotter...neither I would trust alone...and radar sweeps are just a distraction in tight quarters except to know about where the next one is.


Considering how many boats I have ungrounded at night in tight channels...especially by those who brag about their experience, longevity running the area and being fine mariners...maybe they should have taken a hint from the pro who ply their waters.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:14 PM   #69
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Just out of curiousity, where do you get one of these? Sounds like a useful tool.

I carry a portable plug-in megawatt xenon whizbang spotlight. I may have used it 3-4 times in a decade - in tight marsh channels at night. Generally not worth the sacrifice of night vision. However, when you need it - it's a good thing to have.
A friend of mine who is a tech expert with California DOT (CalTrans) solar/signage installations built it for me. Parts alone were over $100. It's a 2-D-cell Maglight that has been modified with new convex glass lens, super high output LED, refined reflector, new switch and a rechargeable battery pack. He cautioned me when he delivered it to me as being 'dangerously bright' so I use it with great care and caution.

Incidentally, it won me a bottle of wine one night at anchorage in a spontaneous flashlight competition. A few more bottles and it will have paid for itself!
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Old 10-05-2019, 04:15 PM   #70
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I have no problem putting my spotlight in someones eyes....probably saved more than one boaters life by trying to split my tug and tow....I usually light up my tow first and if they keep coming (frequent) I light their ass up. they usually stop and realize.
I had a 50' boat slam into stern of our tow about 20 years ago in Penobscot bay,Maine. Operator got the boat to Owls head,aground before she sunk
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Old 10-05-2019, 04:30 PM   #71
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There might be floating trees in the PNW, but you know how many unlit tin boat fishermen, kayakers, and swimmers are in the ICW at night?

Not sure which is worse....with a spotlight on, they are more apt to see me coming and take action rather than just my nav lights blending into background lights.
As I said, I've run both. By comparison there is very little in the water in the ICW. The other area that I would not run at night is Maine. There are places there where on a moonless night you would get only a few feet before you fouled a lobster trap.
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:23 PM   #72
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I have no problem putting my spotlight in someones eyes....probably saved more than one boaters life by trying to split my tug and tow....I usually light up my tow first and if they keep coming (frequent) I light their ass up. they usually stop and realize.
I had a 50' boat slam into stern of our tow about 20 years ago in Penobscot bay,Maine. Operator got the boat to Owls head,aground before she sunk
Well, that statement certainly goes well with your new avatar, Jack! That's one scary sailorboy!
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:36 PM   #73
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As I said, I've run both. By comparison there is very little in the water in the ICW. The other area that I would not run at night is Maine. There are places there where on a moonless night you would get only a few feet before you fouled a lobster trap.

Guess bouncing down the side of a log is a bigger deal than chewing up a swimmer or kayaker.


Even if a 20:1 ratio......
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:30 PM   #74
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Considering how many boats I have ungrounded at night in tight channels...especially by those who brag about their experience, longevity running the area and being fine mariners...maybe they should have taken a hint from the pro who ply their waters.
I would not have expected the tow services to respond in the middle of the night, was it case dependant? Did you respond due to their position being a hazard to navigation or was it common practice to run whenever called? I understand the CG responding due to threat to life but fortunately most mid Atlantic groundings in protected waters are just an inconvenience (unless high speed, but that probably be emergency response and the vessel sold be left till later).

I'm assuming your speaking from the towing assist perspective and not CG.
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Old 10-06-2019, 01:48 AM   #75
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I would not have expected the tow services to respond in the middle of the night, was it case dependant? Did you respond due to their position being a hazard to navigation or was it common practice to run whenever called? I understand the CG responding due to threat to life but fortunately most mid Atlantic groundings in protected waters are just an inconvenience (unless high speed, but that probably be emergency response and the vessel sold be left till later).

I'm assuming your speaking from the towing assist perspective and not CG.
We responded to get people off from being grounded regularly. Just as a convenience to get them going on their way again. Not for any specific reason such as danger to navigation or medical emergency or any other reason, just because they were aground.
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:20 AM   #76
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The only time I found a handheld spotlight helpful was running in freakin' monster seas and needing to see them coming up behind me at night.

I was steering by compass course and the seas were sorta regular in direction, but we came close to rolling a few times and I found having one of my crew spotting from behind was a big assist.
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Old 10-06-2019, 08:38 AM   #77
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A friend of mine who is a tech expert with California DOT (CalTrans) solar/signage installations built it for me. Parts alone were over $100. It's a 2-D-cell Maglight that has been modified with new convex glass lens, super high output LED, refined reflector, new switch and a rechargeable battery pack. He cautioned me when he delivered it to me as being 'dangerously bright' so I use it with great care and caution.

Incidentally, it won me a bottle of wine one night at anchorage in a spontaneous flashlight competition. A few more bottles and it will have paid for itself!
When I was in college, a friend of mine worked at an airport, and made himself a spotlight from an airplane landing light. It was pretty bright.
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Old 10-06-2019, 09:02 AM   #78
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Had to rescue the operator and tow a dead PWC back to the rental marina on a very dark night. Had to use the spotlight to illuminate the tow line and it was a rough and choppy night.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:29 AM   #79
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I don't have access now, but we had lots of night vision gear where I used to work, and I would check it out whenever I knew I would be boating at night. Turns night boating into day boating.

The only problem is, the good stuff, is so darned expensive, and the really good stuff, isn't even for sale to civilians.

One day, maybe.
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:44 PM   #80
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Search lights

Interesting comments.... I DO use mine when I'm coming into an unmarked (on the chart) inlet from the ocean, with small, frequently moved, navigation buoys (like St. Augustine). While they are lit...I like to EYEBALL them. Yes, of course it screws up one's night vision a bit but it beats grounding in an inlet or bouncing off a jetty...Ö.or, here's another one...Hell's Mile (I think that is how it is referenced) coming into Ft. Meyers from the intracoastal....I'd say use it when you need it.
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