Here are the Coast Guard and International rules/specs for the lights you speak of. Some pretty dry stuff, but I pipe in again near the end..
The International (and Inland) nav rules specify in Rule
30 that a vessel aground or anchored shall show an "all around white light" where it can best be seen. (vessels less than 50M in length)
The rules further go on to describe an all around white light (in Annex 1, #7 and #8) as a light with specific color and specific intensity. (I doubt every anchor light out there is actually producing these exact colors and intensites).
Annex 1, #7: All white nav lights shall conform to the following standards, specified by the International Commission on Illumination:
(i) White: x .525 .525 .452 .310 .310 .443
y .382 .440 .440 .348 .283 .382
Annex 1 #8: Intensity of lights
Min intensity shall be calculated using the forumula: I=3.43 x 10^6 x T x D^2 x K^(-D)
I is luminous intensity in candelas
T is threshold factor 2 x 10^(-7) lux
D is range of visibility in nautical miles
Kis atmospheric tranmissivity, and shall be .8, corresponding to a meteorological visiblity of approx 13 miles.
Now, with all the technical crap out of the way, the problem is likely that an oil lamp
can't reproduce the color or intensity as described above. In the event of a maritime accident
, if you have a standard anchor light that meets the above criteria and is on when you are struck, you are not likely to be at fault. If you do not have equipment
that meets these criteria, you may be found at fault and charged.
That is really what the warning is all about.
So... it's a gamble to run the oil lamp
. Personally, I like the idea of using the oil
lamp, but have to err on the side of caution, especially since I have customers on board.