Let us talk about Navigation Lights and Anchor Lights

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Woodsong

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Bayliner 4550 Pilothouse
Okie Dokie. *Long story short- I have to replace my masthead running light and anchor light. *My trawler is 36'. *Per USCG regs as I read them, *that allows me two different light configuration options for nav lights: A) Have a white light at the transom and a forward facing white light on the mast. B) No transom light and a 360 masthead light. *All that plus obviously red/green nav lights but I am just talking masthead/transom lights. *My boat is equipped with a transom light and used to have a forward facing masthead light plus all around 360 anchor light. *Both mast lights are gone and I like to have working running lights. *In an effort to reduce the wiring I have to do, I am planning on just eliminating the white forward facing running light and just mount the all around 360 white anchor light on the top of my mast. *This, as I read it and understand the nav light rules, meets the requirement of the USCG nav lights for my boat at 36 feet since I can utilize option A or B noted above. *It will reduce my wiring and one less light to maintain if I go to the all around masthead light for both nav and anchor. *Question is, should I eliminate the transom light at the same time or just leave it? *Reality is that my dinghy on the weaver snap davits blocks the transom light completely so if I stuck with the transom light/forward facing mast light, I'd also have to move the transom light to be above the dinghy.


What say ye?


P.S. you know, I never had to ponder this stuff when I owned my newer boats. *This old boat is not only fun, a classic, pretty lines (at least to me!), and economical, she is making me a more knowledgable boater in every regard. Win-win!
 
Disconnect the 135-degree white light at the stern if installing a 360-degree white light on the mast.* You shouldn't be showing two white lights to the rear.
 
markpierce wrote:

Disconnect the 135-degree white light at the stern if installing a 360-degree white light on the mast.* You shouldn't be showing two white lights to the rear.
I concur. I have the same configuration, with only the all around at the masthead and my r/g. Checked it out long ago as to legality. And as Mark says, completely remove the 135.

*
 
Wen replacing lights, have you considered*switching to LED fixtures?

One of the touted benefits of solid state LED lamps is that you no longer have to fight bad connections between the light fixture and the lamp. As the modern LED fixtures are one integrated piece of electronics you are supposed to hook up the connection cables to the supply*and the fixture is supposed to glow for 50.000 hours or something.
 
Hiya,
** I heard something about some navigation LED's not being USCG approved.* Could be wrong but check before you change.
 
I have seen nav lights that instead of being green are are bright blue because people put super bright/cold LED lamps into a nav*light that was designed for*the old type of lamps. *The yellowish light from the old lamp and the green hue of the glass were matched to emit the correct colour. The extreme white of the LED matched with the dark green glass changed the light to blue.

Modern nav lights that are built for LEDs have the correct colored glass and the LEDs are an inegrated part of the nav light.

Hella*Marine has LED fixture that is USCG approved.
 
Most of the LED's are several hundred dollars per light whereas I can get a masthead light for $20. Given all the other money I spending on other parts of the boat, I am going to pass on the LEDs for now- i have to save SOME projects for a few years down the road! ;)

Thanks all.
 
You can just replace the bulb with an LED one and not have to rewire. Check

http://www.Marinebeam.com


We replaced our anchor light since that is a bigger draw when we are on the hook. we havent replaced the nav lights since the engines are running so power is not* concer there.
 
Woodsong wrote:

Most of the LED's are several hundred dollars per light whereas I can get a masthead light*for $20. Given all the other money I spending on other parts of the boat, I am going to pass on the LEDs for now- i have to save SOME projects for a few years down the road! ;)


Tony, there may be no need to change the fixture to convert to LED.* There are 2 mile visibility bulbs available for retrofitting for $50 or less.* As to colors of green and red lights,*never use any white LED behind a colored lense.* If is is a green lense, use green.* If it is a red lense use red.

I*have converted all my lighting on Moonstruck to LED.* Mostly because we like to anchor, and I like not having to worry about someone leaving a light on.

Send me a pm, if you want more info.*
 
As an inspector for the CCGA, I frequently find stern lights obscured by the Weaver, or Sea-Wise mounted dinghy. Often the only solution is to go with an all-round white at the masthead

(on boats under 12m) the applicable Colreg: (i) A power-driven vessel of less than 12 metres in length may in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule exhibit an all-round white light and sidelights;

Your length is well under 12m (39.36ft)

One consideration you do need to pay attention to is the visibility of the light.* Anchor lights are frequently low wattage, in order to save on power, while navigation lights have minimum visibility requirements that may not be achieved by the anchor light.* In your boat size, you must have a visibility of 2 miles (not difficult to achieve).* Your side lights must have* a visibility of one mile.* This range of visibility is often governed by the height off the water rather than wattage, except where the dimness of the anchor light becomes a factor.

One other solution, (the one used on my boat) is to move your stern-facing white to the back edge of the flybridge deck and leave the forward-facing white up the mast, at the spreaders, where a proper nav-light fitting can be used.* If you are re-running your wiring in any event, it is no more trouble to chase two wires than one, or as is likely, 6 wires than 5, as you will be rewiring the floods that will light up your deck and at least one radio antenna, or a weather station.*

Once you get well into planning this you might find a new mast in your future.
Aluminum pipe(cheap) works well for this application.
 
Thanks for the info. Our mast is here to stay I think....white paint was stripped off and she has been brought back to her teak glory! I think I am going to just run with the all around masthead light as it complies with the rules and is safe and I will make sure it meets the 2 NM rule. *Most likely this light:http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|17|295769|320397|320408&id=827318&cartId=2097040


-- Edited by Woodsong on Friday 3rd of December 2010 10:00:33 AM
 

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That marinebeam site looks interesting- they have an LED replacement bulb for the Aquaseal light I posted above for about $30:
http://store.marinebeam.com/aqsise25fe.html

Moonstruck- where did you get your LED's at? For $30 I will definitely be willing to change the masthead light to LED to reduce draw on house battery while anchored out which we also typically do a lot of.
 
Woodsong wrote:

That marinebeam site looks interesting- they have an LED replacement bulb for the Aquaseal light I posted above for about $30:
http://store.marinebeam.com/aqsise25fe.html

Moonstruck- where did you get your LED's at? For $30 I will definitely be willing to change the masthead light to LED to reduce draw on house battery while anchored out which we also typically do a lot of.
Make sure that your replacement navigation and anchor light is certified for 2 mile visibility.* That was a festoon end bulb on the mainebeam site.* Good price if it is powerful enough.

Be very careful*in selecting*the color of white that you order for other uses.* About 2500-3000 kelvin is in the warm white range.* Above that tends to go to the harsher blues.

Superbrightleds.com, doctorled.com, and ledlights.com all have a variety of replacement lights.* Superbrightleds has been very good to work with.* Prices are reasonable and service is good.* You can talk with a real peson.* Doctorled had the replacement for the power hogging 40 watt Aqua Signal anchor light.* That was a big one.

Cutting your power consumption for lighting by about 90% is a good thing.* It makes for very pleasant evenings at anchor.

*
 
One project that I have on my list is to replace the anchor light bulb with an LED strip and package that inside the existing glass.
LED strips are cheap...about $6 on ebay. I have several I used this summer for "docklights".
 
If you are running wire for new lights topside.
If you use a 12/2 or any wire with a casing be sure to put a drip loop at the top.
*I ran some new work lights and wire tied the wire to the pole. \As it rained the wire casing became a pipe sending water down throughthe wire to the electrical panel. Didn't take long to figure out where it was coming from and a quick little* loop at the top solved the problem.*

SD
 
I replaced all the Nav lights on Volunteer with Led's..... USCG approved?? nope. The key to the color issue is to get the led"s in the same color as the lens they are mounted behind. My Big perko sidelights were brighter and had a great light spread... and should last forever. The anchor light was a touch brighter than the incandescent version. I did notice the need on one of the bridge vhf's to keep the squelch turned up a bit as it did tick the squelch on and off with the lights on... which meant that they were putting out some RF. It made no difference to a receiving station when I spoke on the vhf. It was great to see that .04 amp draw with the anchor light on. I also had replaced most of the interior lights with LED's with great results
HOLLYWOOD
 
Woodsong wrote:

B) No transom light and a 360 masthead light. *All that plus obviously red/green nav lights but I am just talking masthead/transom lights.


What say ye?
This is the configuration we use BUT you also have to disconnect or disable the steaming light (the foward-facing white light on the mast).* I don't have the lighting requirements here at home but I think two vertical white lights on a mast means something that you're probably not.

So all you'll have are the red and green running lights and the all-round masthead light.* No stern iight, no steaming light.

We use this configuration if we run at night (we almost never do because it's a sure way to wrap up your props in crab lines of slam your running gear into a log) because our stern-mounted Livingston dinghy obscures our stern light which is mounted on the cap rail.* So if we run at night we leave the stern light on since all it does is light up the inside of the Livingston, I unplug the steaming light at its connection near the base of the mast, and I turn on the masthead anchor light.

We should rig up a raised mount for the stern light to raise it higher than the dinghy--- I believe stern and steaming lights is a better configuration for visibility than a single all-round white light--- but since we rarely run when the lights are needed fabricating an extension of some sort is right down at the bottom of the to-do list.* If out boat was any longer, of course, we couldn't run with the all-round white light in place of the stern and steaming lights.
 
Marin wrote:
This is the configuration we use BUT you also have to disconnect or disable the steaming light (the foward-facing white light on the mast).* I don't have the lighting requirements here at home but I think two vertical white lights on a mast means something that you're probably not.



Marin, at night*with the dinghy on the back of Moonstruck, the 12 point stern light is obscured.* We have a mast with the Aqua Signal 20 point light stacked directly over the 32 point anchor light.* When the dinghy is carried on the platform, the anchor light is turned on.**looks like one bright light on top.* Nothing is disconnected.* Don't know if this is proper or not, but it seems rasonable.*
 
There is the legal side of lights and depending on your location the reality.

Some cruisers that anchor in or near a fishing port will purchase a half dozen solar yard lights.

With a higher quality battery most of these will make it thru the night.

So when the draggers start out at 3am, at least there is a chance of someone being awake enough to notice you anchored, and not drop the booms till further out of the port.
 
Moonstruck wrote:
Marin, at night*with the dinghy on the back of Moonstruck, the 12 point stern light is obscured.* We have a mast with the Aqua Signal 20 point light stacked directly over the 32 point anchor light.* When the dinghy is carried on the platform, the anchor light is turned on.**looks like one bright light on top.* Nothing is disconnected.* Don't know if this is proper or not, but it seems rasonable.
*
I don't know what the USCG or a court of law would rule, but having two lights turned on that look like one light from a distance does probably not meet the legal definition of having one light on.* If someone were to look at your boat through a pair of binoculars they may see that there are two white lights stacked on top of each other and may make an assumption that they shouldn't be making.* Logic tends to be discounted by the law.

Of course the reality is that your lighting practice would only be called into question if you were involved in an incident or accident in which the lighting displayed by your boat could have been a factor.

On our boat the steaming light sits on it's own little platform about 2/3 of the way up the mast, so if we left it on along with the anchor light, there would be no mistaking that we had two vertical white lights on the mast.* In the photo our steamng light is at the bottom of the photo.



*


-- Edited by Marin on Sunday 5th of December 2010 12:19:14 PM
 

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This is the mast and light configuration on Moonstruck.* It would take a very discerning eye to pick up 2 separage lights at any distance.* Marin could be quite right, but it looks like one light to me.* The 20 point 3 mi. light is directly above the 32 point 2 mi. anchor light.





-- Edited by Moonstruck on Monday 6th of December 2010 09:53:23 AM
 

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Woodsong wrote:

Most of the LED's are several hundred dollars per light whereas I can get a masthead light for $20. Given all the other money I spending on other parts of the boat, I am going to pass on the LEDs for now- i have to save SOME projects for a few years down the road! ;)

Thanks all.
You don't have to spend several hundred dollars for an LED all around light.*

One very good reason for using LEDs in an anchor light is the greatly reduced current consumption.* Since your engine will not be running and producing current the efficiency of the LEDs is good to have.* Figure about one tenth the power consumption.


-- Edited by rwidman on Monday 6th of December 2010 02:57:25 PM
 
The PO of my boat replaced a fixture that had a forward facing steaming light and an additional rear facing bulb to convert it to an "anchor light".* It sits just above the windscreen for the flybridge.* OK, fine.

The first time I operated the boat at night, I realized that this light seriously obstructed my vision to the point where I could not safely operate the boat.* So - empty inverted coffee mug to the rescue.

I really need to do something about this before taking any more trips where I might have to operate in the dark.* I'll probably go back to the original configuration but with LEDs.
 
The two lights, stacked, indicate to a distant other boat that you are over 50m (164ft) long. Being vertically aligned, this behemoth is coming right at them, and being bright (because you are fairly close to them) they have little time to get out of your way. They will eventually figure you out, but by then may need a change of pants.
 
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that "Coast Guard Approved" is not mandatory, just that the navigation lights meet the performance specifications. After all, once you change a burnt out bulb in a standard fixture with one not branded by the fixture manufacturer, it's no longer "Coast Guard Approved" anyway.
 
Moonstruck wrote:The 20 point 3 mi. light is directly above the 32 point 2 mi. anchor light.
Ooh, man that is salty sailor talk for sure*...
 
koliver wrote:

The two lights, stacked, indicate to a distant other boat that you are over 50m (164ft) long. Being vertically aligned, this behemoth is coming right at them, and being bright (because you are fairly close to them) they have little time to get out of your way. They will eventually figure you out, but by then may need a change of pants.
So that is why other boats have been moving over to give me the right of way!* I thought they were just being courteous.
smile.gif
* Two mast head lights are optional on a boat less than 50 meters, but technically one should be behind the other.* I know----- tehnicalities are what bite you in the butt.

*
 
RickB wrote:
Ooh, man that is salty sailor talk for sure*...
Yep, I'm thinking of getting some bigger air horns just to complete the ruse.
smile.gif


*
 
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