Night vision

The friendliest place on the web for anyone who enjoys boating.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

markpierce

Master and Commander
Joined
Sep 25, 2010
Messages
12,557
Location
USA
Vessel Name
Carquinez Coot
Vessel Make
penultimate Seahorse Marine Coot hull #6
Seems to be a good idea to use a headlamp with a red bulb to preserve one's night vision, and keep the* pilothouse lights off.* Like this:

http://www.rei.com/product/791312

Or do you have special night lighting installed?* Or see no need?
 
While red has traditionally been the color of choice for preserving night vision I have read in several places that actually it's not. A sort of greenish glow is apparently better.

In any event we don't make a practice of running at night in our waters because it's a sure way to get a crab pot line around your running gear or slam into a deadhead which can tear up your shafts, rudders, and props if it doesn't simply hole your boat and sink it. To say nothing of the huge eelgrass mats that can get into a raw water system and block it (ask Carey about that one....) Commercial fishermen run at night on a regular basis but they turn on their bright forward lights and they have hulls that can withstand a fair amount of beating. And most of them are single-engine so their running gear is pretty protected.

We do have a flashlight with a red gel in it in the event we get caught out after dark which has happened a couple of times. Our nav systems, radio, and radar have "night light" features so they are not a source of excessive light.
 
There was a study done some years ago in the USA with pilot boats and the colour to preserve night vision
It was found that white light was the best colour
Surprise surprise!!!
It was of interest as I worked for the Govt agency responsible for all shipping on the Queensland coast at the time and we ran a lot of pilot boats. Now a lot of them are helicoptors taking the pilots out.

Allan
 
Here's a good article that debunks the red light myth, and comes to the conclusion that dim white is best for a lot of uses, but others are best under certain conditions. Very interesting:
http://stlplaces.com/night_vision_red_myth/

-- Edited by Keith on Tuesday 21st of December 2010 07:46:54 AM
 
markpierce wrote:

Seems to be a good idea to use a headlamp with a red bulb to preserve one's night vision, and keep the* pilothouse lights off... Or see no need?

We have found that with the radar, depth finder, VHF, auto pilot, computer/chart ploter, instrument gauges, etc. all give enough light that you don't have turn on any*pilothouse lights (even when significantly dimmed).* Even if you do turn on light, so what, a minute or so later you're fine.* If you are running in conditions that night vision is so crital you won't be using any lights, red or white.

Larry/Lena
Hobo KK42
Zihuatanejo, MX
 
Keith wrote:

Here's a good article that debunks the red light myth, and comes to the conclusion that dim white is best for a lot of uses, but others are best under certain conditions. Very interesting:
http://stlplaces.com/night_vision_red_myth/

-- Edited by Keith on Tuesday 21st of December 2010 07:46:54 AM
Interesting article. On my chart boat I mounted several red LED lights so that you* wouldn't see the LED but the light would reflect off a surface to cast a red glow though the cabin. Part of the lense can also be covered with electrical tape to reduce the light level. Works very well for customers walking around while motoring at night. Kind of like walkway lights* in the movie theater. Use one in the all white head. The head is bright with a red glow to take care of business and dosen't blind me when someone opens* the head door in the wheelhouse. Mine are truck trailer lights sealed and designed for wet salt environment and actually very inexpensive.

http://www.truck-lite.com/webapp/wc...10001&storeId=10001&productId=32115&langId=-1

Mounting bracket:
http://www.truck-lite.com/webapp/wc...10001&storeId=10001&productId=23966&langId=-1

Ted
 
The miliatary did a study of night vision and the greenish light was the best. All the flashlights red filters were replaced with the green.
 
About 15 years ago we replace all the DC over head lights to lights with white and red bulbs through out the boat for night vision as we use to follow the Christmas ship around and due special cruises. All the white light bulbs are 40 and 60 watts so very dim.* *My wife made a quilt that we hang over the stair way from the salon to the pilot house to keep the pilot house dark.***We also found the quilt held the heat down in the salon, so we have it up 24/7 during the winter which has saved hundreds of dollars for heat.**

***
 
Keith wrote:

Here's a good article that debunks the red light myth, and comes to the conclusion that dim white is best for a lot of uses, ...
**
eyepopping.gif
* Guess I've watched too many WWII submarine movies.

*
 
markpierce wrote:

*
Keith wrote:

Here's a good article that debunks the red light myth, and comes to the conclusion that dim white is best for a lot of uses, ...
eyepopping.gif
Guess I've watched too many WWII submarine movies.
No, you haven't.* In WWII red light was considered the best way to protect night vision and it was the standard night lighting on ships, subs, planes, etc, as you've seen in the movies.* For example the PT boat crews painted the inside of the vertical companionway from the helm down to the inside of the boat red.* That way if someone came up on deck or went down below, when they opened the door to the companionway the reflected light coming up from below would be red.

I believe the "discovery" that greenish or white-green light is better for night work is relatively recent.

*
 
We have two red lights in the pilothouse, on a separate circuit from the main overhead lights, but never use them. Pioneer was a fishing vessel and these lights were required for survey.

The lights from the instruments are more than enough. In fact I turn the engine panel lights off when running at night, and have a small torch to check the gauges occasionally.

In our experience, it's more important to ensure your plotter, sounder etc. can be dimmed enough. Our PC-based GPS plotter program (Fugawi) has dusk and night settings which are ideal. The previous program didn't and we had to rely on dimming the monitor, which wasn't satisfactory. The radar and sounder are both Furuno and can be dimmed to the right level for night running.
 
Another trick is to get a commercial paper towel (the brown rough ones at gas station pumps) and
cut a circle the size of a flashlight lense. Install under the plastic lens. Presto! a night vision flashlight. Obviously it needs to be a dedicated light.
Aqua signal use to make a nifty round mounted light with a couple of mounts. You could move it within the confines of the attached pig tail. It had a reostat white to blueish light that was very useful. I haven't seen them for several years.
 
Marin wrote:

...* In any event we don't make a practice of running at night in our waters because it's a sure way to get a crab pot line around your running gear or slam into a deadhead which can tear up your shafts, rudders, and props if it doesn't simply hole your boat and sink it. To say nothing of the huge eelgrass mats that can get into a raw water system and block it (ask Carey about that one....)
I'm curious as to how frequently you need to maneuver to avoid crab pots lines, deadheads, and such.* I've asked my builder to place extra steel on the bow because my Dad's first voyage ended by ramming the dock, and a cruise ship I was on ran into*a barge in Montevideo.* (The Coot's propeller is already protected by a full-length keel.)* Are most NW US boaters as cautious as you to avoid night cruising?

*
 
Most East coast cruisers will only run at night or in limited viz with good spur cutters, as lobster pots are frequently strung IN the channel across from red to green , so the lobster guy can find them.

Of course it helps the local boat yards too.
 
Between Point Roberts marina and Drayton harbour (Blaine) there were crap pots every 100 yards, in every direction the one time I ran it.
Deadheads used to be much more of a problem when all the loggin was dragged down the coast in flat booms. Now it is usually on a barge, so the loggers get paid for the wood, instead of seeing it up on the beaches. You still need to keep a watch for them, but there are frequently Gulf crossings where none needs to be avoided. In years of high snowpacks, the Fraser river brings down a lot of debris that floats around during June and July, but it is usually gone by August. Then the big storms in the winter will pull some of the flotsam off the beaches for another tour around before it gets blown up onto a different beach.
You are more likely to need to manouver to avoid other boats, as we all track exactly the same courses with our GPS, going both ways.
 
FF wrote:Most East coast cruisers will only run at night or in limited viz with good spur cutters ...
Spurs? Don't need no stinkin' spurs!*
biggrin.gif




*
 

Attachments

  • spurs.jpg
    spurs.jpg
    116 KB · Views: 56
Depends on the time or year!* Now there are not very many pots out, but the rivers do carry a lot of stuff down and dump it in the Sounds.* Like whole trees/logs.* If you cruise the deep water 150+ ft of the sound there is not much to worry about as most of the traffic*cruise closer to shore.* I like just out side of the shipping lanes, no pots, very few boaters.* So it depends on the time of the year.*


*
Everett Ship Yards that pulls 100 ft boats was out*your marina gate, so I would poke around.* Most of the boats from Alaska had dents and deep gouges in the bow.* Also many had bulbous bows to protect but also*to help the bow to raised out of the water quicker, especially if the bow was not flared. Many also had keels toward the stern to protect the prop but that was more so their nets did not get tangled.* I been looking at bulbous bows to protect the bow.* So if you are going way north and going to run at night might be a good idea.*
 
markpierce wrote:1. I'm curious as to how frequently you need to maneuver to avoid crab pots lines, deadheads, and such.

2. Are most NW US boaters as cautious as you to avoid night cruising?

*

*
1.* Pretty much constantly.* Not so much for true deadheads which are not as*numerous in our area as they are further north.* But there*are enough logs, big branches,*lengths of lumber, etc.*to make steering a constant vigil.* A lot of this stuff is carried down from the*mountains by the rivers that empty into the sound and*BC waters--- Skagit, Stillaguamish, Nooksak, and of course the Thompson/Fraser.

The crab pots are somewhat seasonal but the native tribes can fish year round, so there are always some floats scattered around and they are often set*in the most common routes we follow through the islands.* There are also large eelgrass and kelp mats everywhere*which, while not hull-battering and running-gear destroying like the wood, can nevertheless cause problems.* Particularly the eelgrass which can snake up into*a raw water system even with an external strainer over the intake. The fast -running tidal currents (the tide range in this area can be as great as*12 feet or more and it gets greater the farther north you go) tend to concentrate all this floating stuff in long lines that move rapidly through and around the islands.* So we are always encountering* these debris lines and having to*figure out the best paths through them*

All this stuff is very low in the water, and depending on the wave and light conditions can be extremely difficult to see.* If the water is very calm the crab pot floats show up on radar since most of them incorporate one or two large fender washers.* But you have to be constantly manipulating the radar controls to see them as well as the other stuff you want to see on the radar.

2.* I know of very few recreational power boaters who deliberately go out at night here outside of things like Christmas boat parades and such.* We are up at our 2,000 boat marina almost every weekend and our slip has a good view of Bellingham Bay.* There are almost never any boats on the bay at night.* A number of boats might come in right after sunset, particularly in the summer,*but other than the occasional commercial fishboat,*the*big tugs based in Bellingham,*and the USCG boats, there are never any nav lights out there that we have noticed.* None of the power boaters we know personally run at night.

We have been caught out at night a couple of times but it was always as we were finishing a run home and so were crossing the bay toward Bellingham.* With all the lights ahead of us it was pretty easy to pick a big reflection and track down it, which helped in making any debris in the water more visible.* But still we were both at the helm paying very close attention to the water in front of us.

Boating at night is a fairly popular pasttime*on lakes Washington, Union, and Sammamish, but these lakes are ringed with lights and of course they do not have the huge amount of debris in the water that there is in the Sound and on up the Passage*into Alaska.

*


-- Edited by Marin on Wednesday 22nd of December 2010 03:35:06 PM
 
Gee, it sounds like a speedboat (going fast,*seated low)*would have a short lifespan in those waters.
 
markpierce wrote:

Gee, it sounds like a speedboat (going fast,*seated low)*would have a short lifespan in those waters.
Some of them do, even on the lakes.

*
 
The hazards of deadheads in our waters, Georgia Strait, Howe Sound, and westwards through Malaspina is lower than in years past. However, it is still real.

Logging is down and there are fewer flat log tows, but they are still present. Even though the barges reduce the litter dribbled over miles from flat tows, when the barges dump there is a huge amount of litter that escapes. I get to watch these things in Howe Sound. That stuff could spoil your day and a few weeks more if you don't see the it. The trash ranges from small twigs and bark bits or blocks of wood, to logs that, although not of interest to the mills, are big enough to be a serious hazard.

As Koliver pointed out the rubbish is more cyclical now than in years past, depending on rainfall, tides, and storms but not to be ignored.

We used to run at night for the last half hour to hour to get to our weekend haunt, in the fall or we would need to delay 'till the next day. But it was always done with some trepidation and some finger crossing. Luckily we never damaged the boat, at least not this one.
 
Designer George Buehler said about the Coot "Her heavy steel hull can take mishaps with rocks or deadheads with ease which makes cruising at night or fog far less stressful than with a glass boat."

I'm not so sure the stress would be minimal.
 
markpierce wrote:
I'm not so sure the stress would be minimal.

The hull could be made of cast steel but the running gear is still at risk.

Back in the olden days when I worked on tugs running up the inside from Seattle to Southeast Alaska we ran nonstop, never slowed down at night but always sat near the throttles for that moment when you heard and felt the CLUNK on the bow.

Rolling over a horizontal log wasn't so bad but skimming a deadhead so that it surfaced again under the prop was a real heart stopper ... talk about waiting for the other shoe to drop.

That was when log spills were much more common and deadheads were a part of normal life. All the fuel stops handed out little flags on stiff wire and asked people to mark deadheads so they were more visible in daylight.
 
RickB wrote:

*
*All the fuel stops handed out little flags on stiff wire and asked people to mark deadheads so they were more visible in daylight.
We used to hear this on the VHF in the later '80 when we were fishing with our 17' Arima.* We'd often pick up Canadian boaters talking about having flagged a deadhead at such-and-such a location.* Haven't heard this sort of call in years now, so I assume the practice has ended.

We see plenty of deadheads when we're out in the Strait of Georgia and in some areas of Desolation Sound, and we see a lot of them up the north end of Vancouver Island when we're halibut fishing in Blackfish Sound, Knight Inlet, etc.* They still tow long*log*booms out of*Beaver Cove and down Johnstone Strait, and*"escaped"*logs are not uncomon in those waters.*But we've never seen any that were flagged so I assume they don't do it any more up north, either.

-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 23rd of December 2010 04:44:55 PM
 
I still have some flags. I will use them too, should the opportunity arise. Yes, I have seen flags in use in recent years, but the frequency af encounters with deadheads has dropped dramatically, along with the frequency of seeing flat booms, the kind without Davis rafts in them.
 
RickB wrote:
All the fuel stops handed out little flags on stiff wire and asked people to mark deadheads so they were more visible in daylight.
What an awesome idea, too bad it fell by the wayside.* We just spent a few days camped on the beach at Neah Bay Washington, and the number of huge logs, full trees, and wood in general was phenomenal.* I guess it keeps guys like Ron at Kruger propeller repair in new Mercedes Benz'es though.* ............Arctic Traveller
 
I haven't seen those flags in years. CKWX I think, a local radio station, used to hand them out and make them available to many of the local marinas and fuel stops. Yes it's too bad.
I've tried making a few but it hasn't worked out, yet.

I would still mark them if the flags were around. One had to be careful though as some of those treacherous rotters would bob and swing and as you approached close enough to set the flag, they would take aim at your boat and try bob up under the boat. The last few I set were from the dingbat.

By the look of my marina there are lots of potential deadheads. Even if I wanted to take the boat out today I wooood not. Many not too small logs filling the fairways along with lots of other stuff. I doubt I could push them aside as they are long and numerous enough to bridge the fairway.
 
Back
Top Bottom