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Old 26-06-2006, 17:04   #1
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Lights - legal requirements

I'm not sure whether this is the right area for a lighting question (Moderators - feel free to move this thread if there is a more suitable location).

What are the legal requirements in terms of lights for a recreational yacht (40')?

My understanding is:

Nav lights (under sail): Fwd - Red and green, usually on pulpit
Nav lights (under sail): Aft - white, usually on pushpit

Nav lights (under motor): Tri-color, on mast head

At anchor light: White - on mast head

Docking light (not legally required, but recommended): White, usually located about 1/2 way up mast

Am I missing anything?
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Old 26-06-2006, 19:17   #2
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Under sail, you're correct about red, green, and stern light. These can be on deck or in a masthead tricolor.

Under power, you add a 20-point white light halfway up the mast.

At anchor, it's an all-around white light, could be at masthead or anywhere in the forward part of the boat, and you turn off your running lights.

Am not familiar with a docking light.
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Old 26-06-2006, 20:25   #3
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An important note, a tricolor is only legal on sailing vessels (under 60' if I recall )underway under sail. If underway with mechanical propulsion, the tricolor is illegal
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Old 26-06-2006, 20:43   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Nui
An important note, a tricolor is only legal on sailing vessels (under 60' if I recall )underway under sail. If underway with mechanical propulsion, the tricolor is illegal
Damn, I'm glad I asked...I had it bass-ackwards...I thought it was mast-head tri-colour for motoring, bow & stern lights for sailing but, apparently, I was confusing my ass with my elbow .
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Old 26-06-2006, 21:25   #5
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in addition... a loop hole!

rule 23 (c) (i) reads: "A power-driven vessel of less than 12 meters in length may in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule exhibit an all-round white light and sidelights."

Which means... instead of a red and a green and a masthead and a stern light, a vessel of less than 12 meters, while motoring MAY comply by only showing their red / green sidelights and all-round anchor light.

So... a power starved sailor only has to illuminate two bulbs while motoring, provided they fit a bi-color light fixture on the bow rail and anchor light mounted on top of the mast.

This is because the combined arcs of visibility of the white masthead and white stern lights add up to 360 degrees - same as an anchor light.

Therefore - a sailing vessel of less than 12 meters does not have to install a masthead light in order to comply with international navigation rules.

--------------------

How about those new LED Tri Color / Anchor lights! Besides the power saving angle - they only cost about half as much as the popular Aqua Signal fixture, only require two wires, last 50,000 hours and the anchor light switches on & off automatically at dusk & dawn! Next time I have to go up the mast just to change a bulb - I believe I'm gonna switch.

Kirk
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Old 26-06-2006, 21:38   #6
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No problem. A few more that could help prevent a collision:
A vessel, while towing shall carry side lights, a stern light a towing light in a varticle line above the stern light.
A partially submerged vessel if less than 25 meters in breadth, shall exibit one all around white light at the stern and one forward.
The tricolor applies to vessels under 20 meters
A sailing may, in addition ot the previously prescibed lights may exibit two all around mast head lights, the upper being red, the lower green.
A fishing vessel while engaged in trawling, whether underway or at anchor shall exibit two all around lights in a vertical line the upper being green, the lower white. in addition, sidelights and stern light will be exibited while underway. vessels over 50 meeters will display a masthead light abaft of and higher than the all around. vessels under 50 meters may display this light, but are not obliged to do so.
A fishing vessel engaged in activities other than trawling Shall display two all around masthead lights, the upper being red, the lower white (Red over white, fishing tonight). Where the vessel has outlying gear extending over 150 meters horizontally from the vessel an all around white light must be displayed in the direction of the gear. and if underway shall display sidelights and stern light as well.
A vessel restricted in her ability to manuever or not under command shall display two all around masthead lights red in color. The same vessel underway shall also display sidelights and stern light.
THere are many more Rules 23-36 of Part 49 CFR's. These apply specific to international waters. additional rules apply to inland waters.
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Old 26-06-2006, 22:24   #7
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Quoting Kai: "Where the vessel has outlying gear extending over 150 meters horizontally from the vessel an all around white light must be displayed in the direction of the gear."

How do you direct an all around light toward something specific?
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Old 26-06-2006, 22:27   #8
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Piping in quickly... the "docking light" is more commonly referred to as a "steaming light" and is used for motoring, as was mentioned previously.
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Old 26-06-2006, 22:29   #9
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Thomas, I have no idea, that is a direct quote from the regs.
Sean, I was thinking the same thing, but he mentioned the steaming light. I was thinking he might mean the spreader or deck lights.
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Old 26-06-2006, 22:37   #10
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Thank you for all the good information. I was not able to track down the relevant specific CFRs (Code of Federal Regulations), but in searching for them, I stumbled for the fact that the CFRs are actually based on the International Regulations for Avoiding Collisions at Sea (also known as COLLREGS. (The CFRs wouldn't apply in Australian waters anyway, heh)

I found a link to the COLLREGS, if anyone is interested:

http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknow...g/colregs.html
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Old 26-06-2006, 22:48   #11
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For the record, the relevant sections from the COLLREGS are as follows:

Yacht under motor



Rule 23



power driven Vessels Underway

(a) A power driven vessel underway shall exhibit:



(i) a masthead light forward;

(ii) a second masthead light abaft of and higher than the forward one;
except that a vessel of less than 50 meters in length shall not be obliged to exhibit such a light but may do so;
(iii) sidelights: and
(iv) a sternlight.


(b) An air-cushion vessel when operating in non-displacement mode shall, in addition to the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit an all-round flashing yellow light.



(c)



(i) A power driven vessel of less than 12 meters in length may in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule exhibit an all-round white light and sidelights.

(ii) a power driven vessel of less than 7 meters in length whose maximum speed does not exceed 7 knots may in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule exhibit an all-round white light and shall, if practicable, also exhibit sidelights.
(iii) the masthead light or all-round white light on a power driven vessel of less than 12 meters in length may be displaced from the fore and aft centerline of the vessel if centerline fitting is not practicable, provided the sidelights are combined in one lantern which shall be carried on the fore and aft centerline of the vessel or located as nearly as practicable in the same fore and aft line as the masthead light or all-round white light.


Yacht under sail



Rule 25



Sailing Vessels Underway and Vessels Under Oars

(a) a sailing vessel underway shall exhibit:



(i) sidelights;

(ii) a sternlight.


(b) In a sailing vessel of less than 20 meters in length the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule may be combined in one lantern carried at or near the top of the mast where it can best be seen.
(c) A sailing vessel underway may, in addition to the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit at or near the top of the mast, where they can best be seen, two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being red and the lower Green, but these lights shall not be exhibited in conjunction with the combined lantern permitted by paragraph (b) of this Rule.


(d)
(i) A sailing vessel of less than 7 meters in length shall, if practicable, exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.

(ii) A vessel under oars may exhibit the lights prescribed in this rule for sailing vessels, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.


(e) A vessel proceeding under sail when also being propelled by machinery shall exhibit forward where it can best be seen a conical shape, apex downwards.


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Old 26-06-2006, 22:50   #12
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AND - to clarify Kai's transcription of the rules (and my subsequent question), here is the FULL part of that rule:

(ii) when there is outlying gear extending more than 150
meters horizontally from the vessel, an all-round white light or
a cone apex upward in the direction of the gear;
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Old 26-06-2006, 22:58   #13
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See; this is what I really like about this forum...I am always learning - directly or indirectly.
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Old 27-06-2006, 05:38   #14
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The one thing nobody has mentioned is the distance that these lights need to be visible. The IRPCS is very specific about minimum distances and these vary as the size of boat increases. Furthermore, the angle that the light is visible is also impotant. It is for this reason that you are supposed to buy replacement bulbs from the manufacturer of the light as they are the only ones who have classified their light and bulbs as meeting IMO standards. It is also why replacement LED bulbs are not really legal!

Personally I will not buy a bulb at a premium price from the light manufacturer when I can get the same bulb at 50% of the price from elsewhere.
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Old 27-06-2006, 06:42   #15
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What a long thread!
I do find it a tad worrying that folks who go to sea aren't clear on what lights to show relevant to their status (motor or sail) . Is it therefore reasonable to assume that they are also unable to recognise a craft at night by the lights it exhibits and in consequence are unable to judge what their own status is in relation to that craft and the Coll Regs ?
I have seen boats lit up like christmas trees presumably on the basis of if they are not sure which lights to exhibit then switch everything on.
Come on lets be a lot more professional about our safety and that of others.

Colin
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