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Old 05-07-2016, 12:01   #1
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LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

I just read an interesting reply to a post regarding a recent
accident where, apparently, a small lobster boat ran into an
anchored sailboat. The reply suggested using LED lights along
the hull when at anchor to augment a single masthead light that
may not be visible until perhaps it's too late.
Any suggestions on what type of LEDs to use? I've seen some strip lights
that connect to battery (cheap--$15.00). I have cigar lighter connection in the cockpit that could be used. I'm also curious about the drain on the batteries--insignificant?
Thank you for your input!
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Old 05-07-2016, 12:23   #2
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

Though not inexpensive, I bought one of these. Solar and/or wind powered and mounts on rail at eye height. Very nice.

https://store.marinebeam.com/energy-...-anchor-light/
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Old 05-07-2016, 12:27   #3
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

LEDs pull very low current for the light provided

Automotive "decorative" (not for on-road use labeled normally) LED lighting strips as found in Wal-Mart auto lighting accessories will be reasonably waterproofed.
I'm not sure how they would do in a salt water spray. They have to tolerate road salt in areas that use salt in the winter though.

They are essentially the same as the LED lights I use a lot of on RC aircraft, except the ones I use don't have the weatherproofing and thus have about 1/4 the weight. I haven't added enough lights to as model to measurably affect flight time with the lights and motor sharing the same 3 cell (11.1 v nominal, 12.6 v full charge) LiPo battery.
Water (especially salt water) would rapidly destroy these.

You'll have to measure actual current demand of the lighting system you set up. The wire runs can affect the result enough to matter for overnight.
Current demand that is insignificant for a model averaging 40 amps over 15 min of flying might be a significant battery drain over 8 to 12 hours.

Note that the appx $1 each pathway marker solar lights sold at WalMart can provide 4 to 6 hr of light from the energy they gather each day from an appx 2 square inch CHEAP solar panel. That's a good example of how low power demand an LED bulb is.
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Old 05-07-2016, 18:10   #4
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailon1 View Post
I just read an interesting reply to a post regarding a recent
accident where, apparently, a small lobster boat ran into an
anchored sailboat. The reply suggested using LED lights along
the hull when at anchor to augment a single masthead light that
may not be visible until perhaps it's too late.
Any suggestions on what type of LEDs to use? I've seen some strip lights
that connect to battery (cheap--$15.00). I have cigar lighter connection in the cockpit that could be used. I'm also curious about the drain on the batteries--insignificant?
Thank you for your input!
Commonly available LED strips draw between around 0.25 to 1 Amp per meter, depending on the density of the LEDs - anything from 30 - 120 LEDs per meter.

The dimmable 5m multicolour striplight I have in a rectangle under the cockpit bimini for mood lighting draws about 5 Amps at full power.
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Old 05-07-2016, 18:20   #5
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

I think that was my post you read. We actually use outdoor Christmas rope light, and rig it on the steel cable lifeline around the upper deck, but we do have AC available. If I were using only DC, I'd do as suggested and use automotive LEDs. It would not take anywhere near as many lights as we use to provide the safety needed. Our boat looks a bit as if decorated for Christmas when at anchor.
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Old 05-07-2016, 18:24   #6
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

By the way, I do not recommend cheap solar yard lights for this job - the AA rechargeable battery in them does not take very many cycles to die, and as they do, you lose light in the early morning hours.
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Old 05-07-2016, 19:06   #7
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

Our practice, and that of many long term cruisers, is to have a very bright masthead anchor light AND a very bright light much lower down. In our case, it is suspended from a lazy jack line, about 2/3 of the distance between bow and stern and about 12 feet above the waterline. Both lights are LED, and both have built-in "dark detectors" and turn themselves on at dusk. Total power is around 600 milliamps... a fairly trivial factor in the power budget.

The masthead light satisfies the COLREG requirements with true 360 degree visibility. And despite folks who say such are lost in the stars... well, it one hell of a lot brighter than any star when one is near enough that collision is even a remote possibility. The lower light is for folks hooning about in small craft, ie drunks in dinghies, etc. It is low enough to be in the field of view of any such drivers. Its one drawback is that it is obscured by the mast when viewed from dead ahead. Mounting a third LED somewhere forward of the mast would fix this if one was too worried.

IMO, this setup satisfies both the legal and the practical requirements for anchor lighting.

Jim
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Old 05-07-2016, 19:19   #8
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

I am never disturbed by extra anchor lights.

I agree with the poster above who says and extra light(-s) over the cockpit or cabin is effective - seeing the silhouette of an anchored boat may help more than seeing plenty of small light points.

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Old 06-07-2016, 09:05   #9
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

Another option to consider instead of festooning yourself with additional lights is reflective strips around your boat.

I found some designed for fitting to the rim of motorcycle wheels that almost exactly matches the anodised aluminium of various bits of metalwork about the boat. I've added strips to each end of the boom, the kicker, around my outboard, each side of my nav lights and at the base of each stanchion. I've tried to ensure that all aspects of my boat have some so there are no "dead" zones.

This should make us stand out more in an anchorage as these strips will reflect back light from other vessels navigation lights as they come in and on a moonlit night should even reflect the moon light.

OK yes if a muppet is coming in without lights on (which I have seen) or is whizzing about in their dink without a torch then these strips won't do much but on the other hand they use zero amps and we don't end up dazzling other people or disturbing the ambience of remote anchorages, which can be the case with strips of LED all over a vessel (and yes we've seen that too).

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Old 06-07-2016, 09:21   #10
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailon1 View Post
I just read an interesting reply to a post regarding a recent
accident where, apparently, a small lobster boat ran into an
anchored sailboat. The reply suggested using LED lights along
the hull when at anchor to augment a single masthead light that
may not be visible until perhaps it's too late.
Any suggestions on what type of LEDs to use? I've seen some strip lights
that connect to battery (cheap--$15.00). I have cigar lighter connection in the cockpit that could be used. I'm also curious about the drain on the batteries--insignificant?
Thank you for your input!
Everything I've seen/read about boat visibility at night, including an interview with a ferry captain, suggests that more is better. A single masthead anchor light can be hard to localize.

Either a series of lights on the hull, or something that illuminates the lower mast or cabintop, helps to convey that there's a boat at anchor.

LED striplights will not be durable enough for outside, unless they're encased in clear tubing or similar. LED spreader lights aimed at the cabin or mast could be adequate.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:22   #11
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

You may not have to add any lights. Spreader lights or any other deck lights you already have are great for lighting up the boat to avoid the close encounters. Problem in the past is that these have been pretty high current lamps.

I am converting my spreader lights to LED. They light up most of the boat so it's a 360 degree light in that sense. This will be enough for anchoring in any normal anchorage but if I'm worried about a large vessel somehow wandering into the anchorage, I'll also leave my masthead light on - and I also intend to convert that to LED.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:45   #12
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

We have a portable 12v anchor light we can hoist with a halyard and prefer to put it about halfway up which is more likely to be seen than the light on our mast some 54' above the water.

We also just installed 2 of the solar LED lights below, one on each side of or Bimini for added viz at night.

http://31oyzh25fehd21hb9c1gjdv7.wpen...ail-Lights.jpg
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:52   #13
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

I used the LED light strips for cars that someone above suggested. Cheap enough you can carry a couple of spares. Mine worked a long time in continuous use (at anchor while in the S. Pacific). I did keep it under the bimini though. It was very useful for us to find the boat ourselves. Some anchorages had so many anchor lights it was hard to find yours in the clutter. Especially on clear starry nights. I measured the draw once and I seem to remember it was about an amp (but I could be wrong). It was worth it whatever it was.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:24   #14
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

Thanks for the ideas. I'll consider converting the spreader lights to LED.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:18   #15
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Re: LED Auxillary Anchor Lights

I installed LED cockpit lights, cheap day time running car lights from Amazon , with a wireless dimmer, lighting the cockpit up at night makes the boat visible to drunks, and I hope discourages middle of the night visitors.
It's my belief that criminals will avoid being brightly lit and will move to a dark boat for their breaking and entering.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Less than $10 for both
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