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Old 30-03-2015, 05:37   #1
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Visibility While at Anchor

There was a recent thread about a boat that was rammed by another boat while at anchor. Apart from that thread, I have read about and seen the results of a number of collisions while boats were at anchor.
All of this resulted in my renewed interest in lighting up my boat while anchored with something more than just the masthead anchor light.

I did see a light that clamped on a stanchion and illuminated the boat, but, they were about $70 a piece, and probably would have needed at least 4. Although nice looking, unobtrusive, and, apparantly, professionally made, the expense factor eliminates these as an option.

Most of the solar lights that I have experienced will not stay lighted throughout the night, so, these may not be fully effective either.

My thought is some type of light that reflects off the white topsides of the boat, but, unsure how to do this while conserving battery power at the same time.

Any ideas on how best to add some illumination to your boat while anchored ?
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Old 30-03-2015, 05:52   #2
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

See ➥ Solar anchor light?
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Old 30-03-2015, 06:04   #3
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

I had those little plastic self contained garden solar lights, the ones you stick into the ground, which slotted into my stanchions quite neatly. They cost about a dollar each, and lasted all night for about a year, after which time they were replaced.

They weren't amazingly bright, but they definitely were there, and made identifying my boat in the anchorage quite easy. They also lit the deck for any night time wanders.

Lost a few when I forgot to take them in before unfurling the genoa ... but that's operator error.

I'm now in a marina ... but I'll get a load more before I go cruising again.
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Old 30-03-2015, 06:56   #4
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Bacon View Post
............... Any ideas on how best to add some illumination to your boat while anchored ?
Unless you're willing to use kerosene lanterns, your lighting will be electric. Obviously LED lighting is the answer here.

If you want to do it right, buy marine LED fixtures and mount them where they will be best seen. If you want to go the cheap route, buy some solar garden lights and tape them to the rails.

A masthead light on a sailboat is typically a bit high to be easily seen by approaching boaters. Something closer to the eye level of an approaching boat would seem to be better.
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Old 30-03-2015, 06:58   #5
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

A very good topic. One of the basic problems is that an anchor light at the masthead is not really visible from short distances -- you would have to crane your neck.

I have two hull ports in my salon, which have LED lighting above them and behind the hull port curtains. This is intended as a kind of night lighting or mood lighting, and they come on with lights at floor level at each step up to the raised salon sole. I leave this on at night at anchor, and the hull ports are brightly lit up to an observer from the water, just at the level you would notice it. As a bonus, you have some light to see your way to the companionway, in case you need to get on deck in a hurry. All that lighting uses about 3 watts so no big drain on the batteries.

YMMV.

On my previous boat, I hung a portable anchor light from the backstay at head height, to supplement the masthead one. It plugged into a cigarette lighter socket in the cockpit.

If you're really worried about it, leave a deck light on. I have been known to do that from time to time.
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Old 30-03-2015, 07:30   #6
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

Concurrent thread with photos about the boat rammed while at anchor....

Incident at Great Guana Cay, Abacos
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Old 30-03-2015, 07:33   #7
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

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On my previous boat, I hung a portable anchor light from the backstay at head height, to supplement the masthead one. It plugged into a cigarette lighter socket in the cockpit.

If you're really worried about it, leave a deck light on. I have been known to do that from time to time.
A bright LED anchor light suspended from the backstay or topping lift is probably the single best solution... Really a pity BEBI is no longer in business, theirs are awesome, although there are now other vendors taking up the slack.





It's a bit depressing how many folks are relying on cheap solar garden lights from Harbor Freight or similar, they're pretty pathetic :-)

If you're really nervous, spreader or foredeck lights will light most boats up, bigtime... I recently replaced the standard florescent bulb on my Aqua Signal 41 deck light with an LED, it now casts a much wider arc of light, at a much lower draw...






Strips of SOLAS reflective tape can be amazingly effective, and certainly a worthwhile additional precaution... I've placed small strips on the outboard-facing sides of all my stanchion and rail bases. Really worth having a supply of this tape aboard, there's no end of the uses they can be put to, especially on tenders and outboard engines, etc...
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Old 30-03-2015, 07:33   #8
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

I like the solar garden lights. They give enough light at eye-level that you can see the boat well enough and they're cheap. They don't always last through the night, but the time of greatest risk is the 4 to 6 hours after dark. After that the risk of being hit diminishes rapidly i think.

Other option, and one that i usually take if i'm somewhere busy, is to leave a cabin light on.
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Old 30-03-2015, 08:13   #9
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

Reflective tape is great for cars and trucks but boats don't typically have headlights so there is no light to reflect back to the approaching boat.

If worried, I would just add a light or two about ten feet off the water. Another thing is, try to anchor out of possible traffic.
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Old 30-03-2015, 08:26   #10
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by jannw View Post
I had those little plastic self contained garden solar lights, the ones you stick into the ground, which slotted into my stanchions quite neatly. They cost about a dollar each, and lasted all night for about a year, after which time they were replaced.

They weren't amazingly bright, but they definitely were there, and made identifying my boat in the anchorage quite easy. They also lit the deck for any night time wanders.

Lost a few when I forgot to take them in before unfurling the genoa ... but that's operator error.

I'm now in a marina ... but I'll get a load more before I go cruising again.
Same here, used plastic zip ties and fastened the lights on the stanchions. We had to put them below when doing overnighters.
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Old 30-03-2015, 08:51   #11
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

I've used the garden lights extensively in the past but have given up on them. They are bright enough only in the darkest anchorages, any backlight and they dissappear. Also, they must be covered up on taken down when under way at night. Most won't last through the night and most won't last 1 year.

Our new plan is to install LED spreader lights and leave them on through the night. The draw is less than an incandescent anchor light. Another option we have considered is a 3 nm LED anchor light mounted on the cabin top.
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Old 30-03-2015, 08:53   #12
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

Aren't LED's very directional?
I agree strongly with the mast head being too high .... but necessary for legal reasons ......"visible in all directions, for a distance of two miles".

Have a look at this thread
Solar anchor light?
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Old 30-03-2015, 09:01   #13
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

Why would anyone go for the Lowe's/HD special solar lights when your family and boat safety ought to come first? It is a pet peeve of mine that many go with the cheapest solutions with the resulting low output. I don't like to run at night but even at 6 knots, anything powered by solar fails to be seen until the last second.
I had to re-anchor last year late at night and sure enough, the fellow with the marginal anchor light at 9 pm was non-visible at 2am.
LEDs are superb and low draw.
Help me keep us both safe.
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Old 30-03-2015, 09:10   #14
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
Reflective tape is great for cars and trucks but boats don't typically have headlights so there is no light to reflect back to the approaching boat.
Most boats running after dark are showing running lights, however... You might be surprised how little reflected light the SOLAS tape is able to direct back at the source...

By no means a substitute for proper lighting, but an easy bit of additional insurance... Additionally, a 2' vertical strip of reflective tape part way up your mast, will make your own boat a snap to find at night among a sea of anchor lights in even the most crowded of anchorages...
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Old 30-03-2015, 09:20   #15
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re: Visibility While at Anchor

Quote:
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Aren't LED's very directional?
They can be but when we talk about LED boat lights, they are usually made up of several individual LEDs arranged to provide the desired light pattern.
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