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Old 16-03-2009, 13:22   #1
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Why Don't Sailboats Have Horns?

I've owned 2 large sailboats and neither of them came with a factory-installed ship's whistle / horn / sound signaling device. What gives? Must we all carry cans of potentially dangerous compressed gasses in order to sound the danger signal or otherwise comply with the Rules of the Road?

What am I missing (besides the horn that is.. )
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Old 16-03-2009, 14:01   #2
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Not sure why. I do know the Powerboat style of horn (even the shiny chrome ones) have pretty bad reliability in my experience.... due to water intrusion.
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Old 16-03-2009, 14:06   #3
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I believe you are required to have a sound signaling device....it a bell of, if I remember, 7-1/4inch dia.
Seems odd sure enough.
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Old 16-03-2009, 15:03   #4
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I don't have a bell, but I have two horns. One horn works of compressed air, and the other works off lung power.
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Old 16-03-2009, 15:15   #5
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I have used compressed air and electric.

By far the most effective option was a system purchased from a scrap yard. The compressor lasted for 15 years, and I just purchased new trumpets every couple of years.

The electric ones were 3db less powerfull even with 2 of them (i.e. half as loud) and didnt last very long. They were also quite alot more money than my scrap yard specials - but they were shiiney!
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Old 16-03-2009, 15:39   #6
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Quote:
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I believe you are required to have a sound signaling device....it a bell of, if I remember, 7-1/4inch dia.
Seems odd sure enough.
Exactly my point - so why don't they include them as standard equipment? Seems silly to me to exclude them from sailboats...

Maybe it's because we have the right of way all the time?
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Old 16-03-2009, 15:52   #7
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As I remember the bell is only required if the vessel is under 39 feet or 12 meters- so many crusers are not required to have one-
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Old 16-03-2009, 16:59   #8
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Traditionally they were steam powered so sail boats just never really had the infrastructure for extra gadgets. The compressed air horn travels well and lasts a long time. Perhaps it is a good thing since when you have an infinite supply of power you tend to blow the more than required. You really need minimally twin horns tuned properly to make a credible threat with horn blowing so as to mean it. Pushing a barge ahead of you adds some emphasis as well.
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Old 16-03-2009, 17:02   #9
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I teach on a Nauticat 37 with an electric horn. I believe that it is standard equipment.

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Old 16-03-2009, 17:17   #10
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I think a better question is "why do power boats have horns".

My guess is because it's more power-boat-ish. Same reason sailboats tend to have more wood trim than power boats; just a traditional thing.
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Old 16-03-2009, 17:24   #11
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Hey Ram - what country does that apply to????

"As I remember the bell is only required if the vessel is under 39 feet or 12 meters- so many crusers are not required to have one-"
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Old 16-03-2009, 17:33   #12
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My first reaction when I read this question was:
Maybe they just have more faithful wives!

Good question Mark, never ever thought of that but just assumed it was a traditional quirk amongst sail boat builders not to install a permanent sound signaling device.

I do shudder though at the cacophony sailors would create during pre-start race maneuvers if they all came equipped with powerful horns
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Old 16-03-2009, 17:51   #13
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I have heard that automobile horns work well. Although I think I would want one from a Mac truck. Whatever, a sailboat is required to carry a horn and many signals "must" be responded to, although this is seldom the case.
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Old 16-03-2009, 17:56   #14
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Why Don't Sailboats Have Horns?
Because sea cows would get amorous....
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Old 16-03-2009, 18:01   #15
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Same reason they don"t have tails???
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