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Thread: Navigation Lights

  1. #76
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA

    on the all round steaming cum anchor light

    The Hella lantern has the tri-light in the prescribed separations: green - red - and white stern running light - with a seen from dead ahead separation of the red and green. A slight blank space.

    It also has, SEPARATE from the tri-color combo, an ALL ROUND WHITE, on top of the combo. It is a separate light but in the same lantern. This light would NEVER be turned on while the tri-color was being used. And viceversa.

    Being an all round light, and UNABSTRUCTED by mast or sails,
    I have seen, have downloaded, diagrams like yours above here that show this all round white (USCG Regs) USED AS A STEAMING LIGHT ON A SAILBOAT (but with sails not rigged) when the motor is running.
    Imco it would be 'more' legal' than a half mast steaming light that would have 1/3, at least. of the all round requirement obstructed by the mast it is mounted on.
    And in a twilight ballet of getting the boat into its berth without running into something, no reg could possibly care if the rags are up or furled. Never know, tho.

    Your series of graphics don't show this. And since the tri-color option is relatively new (what, 20 years by now?) the Coast Guard may not have their diagrams up to date. Besides the all round white steaming/anchor light may be stuck in some internal committee and is left in its fuzzy status for decades to come.

    Perhaps by sailor use the added FOURTH light on the masthead of a sailboat will become written into regulation. It seems to be allowed by inference and some 'quasi-official' diagrams.

    The all round white is already wired on some lanterns as a STROBE light. On the highseas, day or night, with an approaching freighter, switching the strobe on to get attention might save your and your boat's butt.
    Regs might someday be rewritten to include emergency scenarios like this as emergencies. Using the strobe to get the attention on the bridge of a cargo freighter. Fat Chance! Radio contact with the freighter would call off any rescue effort or USCG notification that assitence was not needed. If that is the case.

    The all round anchor light from a practical aspect has to be stacked on the masthead above or below the tricolor if we have one. Cruisers forums often mention that they can recognize their boat at night - when away from it - by their all round led.
    This anchor light can also be found with a PV Sunset On/Sunrise Off feature.
    Last edited by ebb; 02-17-2010 at 08:49 AM.

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Asst. Vice Commodore, NorthEast Fleet, Commander Division (Ret.) Brightwaters, N.Y.
    I think the problem with using an anchor light/tricolor combination is that the regulations require at least one meter vertical seperation between the all-around white light above the red/green sidelights.

    You might be able to use the anchor light as a steaming light with red/green deck lights, but only if you block out the stern deck light. Otherwise a boat approaching from behind will see two white lights "white over white"

  3. #78
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA


    C'pete, I finally see what you are getting at.

    Any boat with an all round white light ON and not anchored is a boat under power.
    Any boat under power with an all round white steaming light will not have its STERN light on.
    But any boat will have its port and starboard lights on.
    That means, in effect, that the masthead tri-color cannot be on.... Because the tri lights cannot be turned on and off separately.
    Because when steaming with an all round white light, the white stern light part of the trilight cannot be on at the same time.

    But I can see that in a sailboat not switched correctly that the tri-color and the all round white could be on at the same time. And that would cause confusion for the observer.

    That's why a sailboat our size should have separate port and starboard and stern light at deck level.
    Cruising or offshore I would definitely include the tri-light and the all round white
    anchor light.

    [It's a whole other dual fixture, but I know I've seen an all led steaming light and amp-eating deck light combo that is mounted at spreader height. Personally this is an excellent idea. And if attracting attention at sea these lights are perfect.
    However, for picky regs I don't see how cutting a major portion of the steaming light by mounting it on the front of the mast makes it legal.
    But do see that the mast will create a beneficial shadow for the poor guy in the cockpit.]

    Also, I don't recall seeing a halfmast steaming light shown in any required nav light diagram.
    Conceivably it is less legal than a tri-light with an all round anchor/steaming light.

    Just to make things difficult: I have a diagram here that shows a white MASTHEAD steaming light that has a wedge blacked out on the aft side that corresponds exactly with the stern light wedge shaped light down on the DECK LEVEL. Also the red/green side lights are on.
    Thus, you'd have your three normal deck level lights with a three sided white masthead steaming light.
    This evidently conforms exactly to USCG rules for a sailboat under power.

    BUT, a masthead 360 white light IS also Regulation for steaming under power.....
    Have the diagram to prove it.
    That seems simple enough.
    As a bonus you get an allround anchor light when the side lights are off.

    Last edited by ebb; 02-17-2010 at 01:40 PM.

  4. #79
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Asst. Vice Commodore, NorthEast Fleet, Commander Division (Ret.) Brightwaters, N.Y.
    The power draw of the steaming light is not much of a concern, if your engine has a charger.

    I don't think powerboats are really looking for lights up off the water. I look for masthead lights, and I see them frequently, although the light usually turns out to be a plane, helicopter, star, tower or something

    You can even mistake a traffic light on land for another boat

    By the way, I called Sea Dog about their new LED lights C-147 mentioned above. The guy wasn't familiar with the product but eventually told me they don't make an LED stern light. I haven't been able to find this line of products for sale anywhere yet.

  5. #80
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA

    more on the SeaDog Line

    Thanks for keeping the discussion going.

    Did get on to
    new items
    where we find a selection of stamped 304 LEDs nav lights:

    pair of horizontal mount port and starboard lights (400035)
    a combo horizontal mount bow light (400050-1)

    a rectangular vertical mount transom light (400065-1)
    Here's the STERN LIGHT. But design is different.

    a pair of vertical mount side lights (400080).

    AND they also have a couple of interesting telescoping all round white fixtures
    one is 24"/48". The other 34"/60" (400016-1). (Assume these are small powerboat allround whites - but if it is appropriate for us either one could be mounted in the pushpit line of stanchions, almost out of the way and ready to be extended for steaming.)

    These are all 2nm Colreg and LED.
    BUT, we don't find any data sheets, instructions, nothing, on these fixtures
    So we don't know about any warranty
    or EMI they might be emiting.
    Would be nice to know if you use a handheld VHF.

    They don't have any mast mounted stuff.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________________
    I've read where boats these days get robbed of their pricey LED lights.

    In the McMasterCarr catalog you can find 18-8 tamper-resistant machine screws. 'Pin in head' Torx have a post in the middle so a regular torx driver cannot be inserted. And a spanner head which has two small separated holes that also requires a special bit. Page 3056 for the screws. Page 2821 for the screw drivers and Page 2810/11 for 1/4" hex shank bits for these special screws. The Torx would be my choice.
    And the Torx pin-in-head hollow head bit is not likely to be found in any jerk's Leatherman.
    Last edited by ebb; 02-18-2010 at 10:48 AM.

  6. #81
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Brooksville, FL

    Sea dog stern lights

    CPete and Ebb

    I also called Sea Dog to inquire about the stern light. I'm not sure why but most LED nav light manufacturers seem to be quick to come out with a red/green version but forget completely about the white. Which also seems to be the case here. It may be that white light from LEDs is harder to produce and it may somewhat inhibit the design process.

    At any rate the guy I talked to said he would at least get the ball rolling with his engineering dept. to see if they could come up with a solution.

    Ebb there is a tech services guy named Mark Barnhart that may be able to give you an answer on the EMI emission radius on the units. His e-mail address is


  7. #82
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA

    Practical Sailor led nav light ratings

    continued from post #71
    In that post I conjectured that the P.S. tests were slightly skewerd because they left out a major nav light manufacturer HELLA.
    They left out AQUASIGNAL also!!!

    I was cruising around the net trying for the last time to find somebody else horning in on the lucrative led navlight market. On the whimsical Jametown site they have a video box where we can view an equally uninformative guy at a boat show changing out the old quart sized AguaSignal incandescent masthead fixture for a spiffy led replacement.... He kind of waggles the old one out and shoves the new one into the same old base! Cool! But he doesn't identify the bright new shorty. Naturally we can't find the fixture in the scramble of nav lights in Jamestown's online catalog pages. They don't sell it !
    Anyway, it is the S-32 Tri-Anchor. Shipstore has it for $645,77. But you can shell out $450/460 at pyacht if you have to have one. Hope it comes WITH a base! I'm tired of looking for prices.
    The matching series side lights are in the $80 range.

    OK, don't you think this is strange
    that Practical Sailor also did NOT include this tri-color in its Feb 2010 comparison ratings.
    But they did use "for comparison purposes" the 25w AquaSignal incandescent.....yeah,
    it would be hard to ignore a nav light manufacturer that's been in business since 1868!
    So why in hell is AquaSignal's led tri-color light NOT included?
    Well maybe it's because it has a FOURTH all round white light on it!
    And P.S. wasn't interested in THAT function.
    OR interested in informing their readers (who like me want ALL the information they can get right now!) that that function was even available! BAH, HUMBUG.

    google> agua signal Corporation
    www. aguasignal.info/ecat/htdocs/index.php?id=209
    (I'm going to assume that address won't come up, so try to type into google the title just as I have it. (Home Page - Support - FAQ.)
    It is Q&A page where AquaSignal nureyevs all over itself telling us what and what not to do with their old masthead lanterns, nav lights and bulbs.
    For us poor sods updating AquaSignal incandescent to led.

    Think I'm putting this recent Practical Sailor test into the same category as their infamous marina ooze anchor test of years ago. Their credibility for me is walking the plank.
    We assume that P.S. (our only marine product, no advert, testing source) has our interests foremost. Nav lights are of utmost importance and every aspect of what is in the market should be revealed by P.S. Afterall they are doing the 'scientific' study and collecting the data for us. We assume that P.S. is testing ALL COLREG APPROVED nav lights when we study their test results in the magazine. We aren't served by P.S. ignoring without comment manufacturers with long standing reputations. Or pretending that certain available options/features like the all round aren't of importance or interest.
    Last edited by ebb; 08-12-2014 at 10:53 AM.

  8. #83
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA

    PracticalSailor replies

    Darrell Nicholson, the editor of P.S., called me this morning to scold me for an offensive sentence I have now deleted from a post above. In my defense I said it in jest. Most of the time it's obvious that their testing is without favor to one product. It's a tough sell. Especially single, new on the market non-comparison product reviews.
    On his March 2010 'Rhumb Lines' editorial page he talks about blog posts, "Who's Lurking Behind Those Blog Posts?".
    Last paragraph reads:
    "Thankfully, Practical Sailor is not in the business of selling anything except what you have in your hand: reliable, forthright information based on independent, objective research and testing. We have no other interest than to provide our readers with the best available information on a wide rage of sailboats and sailing related products. If what you need is not in this month's issue, we've got it in our files, or we know where to find it. No need to wander the web, or wonder who to trust. Just email me at practicalsailor@belvoirpubs.com - or log on to www.practical-sailor.com, and you'll get a straight answer. But watch out for that diesel engine in the galley."
    So P.S. is very sensitive to people like me who think they are legitimately looking deeper into whatever number of products tested in this tricolor case, and 'wandering the web' to do it. Sensistive to testing methods which should have some forthright reader review at times. Sensitive to just plain jerks and trouble-makers.
    Darrell suggested I log on to his blog next time I had an issue, insidepracticalsailor.com.
    He briefly explained the lengthy testing procedure and gathering of products to be tested: six months or more. The Hella omission and the AquaSignal omission were both because they were NOT on the market a half a year or more ago. Something maybe we couldn't know.
    Told him I thought the editor should have mentioned these at the end of the test article before publication - and that another test/review was planned. ASAP.
    I don't know what he told me about the allround whitelight omission. It bothers me that they without explanation did not review tricolors with allround lights. How can that just be ignored?

    What does he mean about the "diesel engine in the galley"? Maybe he's refering to out of round, old fart curmudgeons like me. Bull in a china cabinet?

    Still what we have in their expensive mag is what we see and read there.
    But we should cut them some slack.
    We have to take them at their word.

    Understand that if we do get a comparison and a review of the absent led tricolors (AND ANCHOR LIGHTs) it will be at least 6 months from now.
    Last edited by ebb; 08-12-2014 at 10:51 AM.

  9. #84
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Northern MN
    You, wicked, wicked man, you Ebb!

    I seems we are moving this thread in the direction of LED navigation lights again. So I'm gonna throw out the the fine, So. Pac. folks at www.bebi-electronics.com. You can't build a boat and then buy a masthead tri-color! That just wouldn't seem right...

  10. #85
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Northern Calif

    "Badges! What badges? I don't got to show you no stinkin' badges"

    Ebb we all know how thorough your research is, you don't have to take any c*&p from PS!
    1965 Ariel #331


  11. #86
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA


    Darrell mentioned something conversationally about the reliability of led lamp replacement in incandescent lanterns. I'm a fan of Bebi, everything we hear is great about them, providing work for local Fijians, making products that people seem to like - and even getting an award as Exporter of the Year from the Fiji gov't.

    I don't see that they assemble side lights or tri-colors with anchor lanterns.
    Reading their material makes me think you retro their led's into existing housings.
    Would be great if an independent tester could run their upgrades through a virtual procedure. They could direct water for a certain number of minutes in various spray patterns at test lanterns with a garden hose. Dunk them for a hour in a bucket of saltwater. Stuff like that. Kidding, OK?

    I certainly don't know what it takes to rebuild an old lantern and make it virtually waterproof.
    And absolutely reliable.

    Color fotos on the site show decidedly blue starboard lenses. I believe the future in led nav lights is in colored semi-conductors, in true color light rather than colored lenses. I've read that putting an led behind a plastic lens reduces the led lumens by up to 90%. Don't know, but I would keep that in mind when retro-iing.
    Again I don't know where Bebi is on this. Maybe somebody knows?
    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________
    www.cruisersforum.com cursor DiscussionBoard - scroll to VendorsForum - cursor on pg 3 to Bebi LED lights
    google> Bebi LED lights - Cruisers and Sailing Forums
    Here you will find a more techy talk on Bebi lights from Michael Homsany, one of the directors at Bebi. focusing on the many types of led light coming on market. Looks like the series of posts is from 2008. Given that it is 2010 and LED's are galloping along this may be outdated somewhat - I wouldn't know I don't understand it anyway..
    Last edited by ebb; 03-06-2010 at 07:52 AM.

  12. #87
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA

    Lightbulb luminous last words

    Tony, Tim......

    We must continue the fight against complacency until our bandoliers are empty!

    Pancho Villa's famous? last words:
    "Don't let it end this way.
    Tell them I said something."

    He must have said that en espanol of course
    and he wasn't a dada poet,
    but it does seem, given the significance of the situation,
    that saying something was better than saying nothing.

    I feel the same, that's my stand.
    Last edited by ebb; 03-06-2010 at 07:58 AM.

  13. #88
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Brooksville, FL

    Commander Pete

    I received the replacement stern light from J M Reineck today. It is an exact duplicate to the original with interchangeable parts with one exception. It is not chrome plated. Since I am having a bunch of parts chrome plated I think I will have the old winged part chrome plated again (it is a smoother casting than the new) so if you want the new winged tip top portion (raw bronze) and it will make your stern light complete again it is yours for the cost of the UPS.
    A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiam.

  14. #89
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Asst. Vice Commodore, NorthEast Fleet, Commander Division (Ret.) Brightwaters, N.Y.
    Thanks Jerry, very kind of you.

    I will give you my stern light, if you must have her. For she has been a good light, and still burns brightly, although wounded and neglected. I can not make such choices under this kind of pressure. I am not thinking clearly, as should be quite obvious. I have pondered this momentous decision of which stern light is right for me for only a short time now, perhaps only a year or two, which is hardly enough time. I am now undergoing a mental crisis, provoked by you, perhaps unwittingly. I don't know, it is not for me to question your motives. All I know is, there appears to be a man with a chroming cart driving down your street (if he has not come and gone already) and the chroming man is collecting pieces of hardware and promising to return these same pieces all shiny and new. And you are offering to buy my stern light a new party dress, which she will never get from me, that's for sure. I have fallen out of love with my stern light as I have confessed to you all, in these very pages. I have been casting my lecherous gaze around trying to find some cheap replacement. I have tried to kill this light on two occasions already and toss her in the drink, but she held on stubbornly dangling by a wire or two. And how do I reward such loyalty? I give her nothing. For I have nothing left to give, except perhaps a new lease on life with a better owner than me, who might appreciate her virtues and solid build. I will send you this light that has served me so well and warded off SeaRays and Bayliners and all my other enemies for so long. For, as you can see, I am not a well man. And you should now have two lights now and keep one upon the shelf in case of emergency or to dole out to some other eager boat owner in need. She is a good light, a lucky light, and might bring some joy into someone elses empty life. It is not for me to judge. And I must admit Jerry (if that is your real name) that it is not your fault that I have finally gone around the bend and off the deep end, It was another man this mornig who has made me crazy, and the weapon he chose was an Ice Cream Truck playing a happy jingle, in APRIL!! I saw him in my rear-view mirror following me around. That is just not right, you must agree. And, in reality. I have made myself crazy. I have not felt the sensation of floating (not even in a hot tub) for four looooong months. And I have not even visited my boat. But, I have it on good authority that she still stands upright, despite my neflect. I will go visit her and confess my sins and seek forgiveness. But I will promise her NOTHING. This year, I think, I will just kick her shapely ass to the curb and plop her in the water, where she belong, as do I. You see Jerry (may I call you Jerry?) I know in my heart that I am just a clumsy boat-butcher and don't deserve such a fine vehicle. This year I lack any enthusiasm it seems, my enthusiasm (if I ever had any) is not unlimited it appears. I can not even muster the strength to welcome our new members and compliment their fine work. They are just trying to make me feel even more guilty. So, I will give you my stern light, if you insist, and pass the torch, or baton, or flaming baton, to you. And I will send you a message, in private, so that we may talk, in secret, as men. And perhaps you can assure me that it will all be better soon, once I am floating again, my troubled mind will be healed. But, if you choose to ignore my message asking for your address I will understand, you just don't want me to know where you live. That is all.

  15. #90
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Francisco - or Abroad
    Commanderpete - It seems you've got severe 'landlocked syndrome' symptoms...
    You MUST get out on the water and go far a sail immediately!

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