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Old 25-03-2009, 11:10   #1
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LED running lights

Are LED running lights Coast Guard legal? We have a 40' and would like to change the running light bulbs to LEDs. Thanks in advance. Diane
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Old 25-03-2009, 13:28   #2
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Yes. As long as they meet the angle and distance requirements
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Old 25-03-2009, 20:12   #3
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From what I have read the only legal LED replacement bulb is from DR. LED and only for the aqua signal 40. light. Some of the new LED lights are fine and should be marked. The legal ones are marked.
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Old 25-03-2009, 22:56   #4
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There's no such thing as a "legal" light; some are coast guard approved and some are not. The legality (or not) is whether a light meets the angle and distance requirements.

How the light is made is irrelevant: you can use oil, incandescent, or pretty much anything else. Carbon arc would probably not be energy efficient, but should exceed the distance requirements...
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Old 25-03-2009, 23:04   #5
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I recently switched the bulbs in my Aqua Signal Tri Color/anchor/strobe masthead unit. I have been very happy so far. The Anchor light uses 1/10th of an amp and I can leave it on day and light out in front of the house (a small solar panel keeps up easy) It was not cheap at $50 a pop. But I think it is a very good product.
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Old 26-03-2009, 00:06   #6
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My nav lights are led's from attwood and I passed the coast guard courtesy inspection no problem.
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Old 26-03-2009, 07:44   #7
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There's no such thing as a "legal" light; some are coast guard approved and some are not. The legality (or not) is whether a light meets the angle and distance requirements.

How the light is made is irrelevant: you can use oil, incandescent, or pretty much anything else. Carbon arc would probably not be energy efficient, but should exceed the distance requirements...
Yes, How do you PROVE the distance, unless you use an approved light? Not your opinion, How do you prove it?

Gheeze, OK, OK my bad. OK Coast guard approved. Well if you have an accident and LIGHTS or lack of was the problem and the other guy has the money and you dont have APPROVED lights you may be at fault no matter who caused it. Just for the cost of APPROVED lights I think that is cheap insurance. But you do as you wish, just because you think you know better, you will. I bet you still flush overboard in a harbor just because you can.

Laws are to protect us form people without common sense.
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Old 26-03-2009, 07:47   #8
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My nav lights are led's from attwood and I passed the coast guard courtesy inspection no problem.
So, he went out two miles and could still see them? Great that proves it then.
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Old 26-03-2009, 07:56   #9
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I have Dr LED's led replacement for the Aqua Signal 25 running lights. I have no idea if they are CG approved. What I do know is that they are many times brighter than the bulbs they replaced. No more having to go forward and look to see if the bow runnings lights are functioning. I can't help but notice the red & green glow on the water off each side of the bow. I feel certain that they are visible quite a bit further out than the stock lamps.
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Old 26-03-2009, 08:00   #10
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The amount of lumens produced relative to the screen. There are engineering standards where you can look up the number of lumens produced - even wax candles are listed. The practical authority in North America is actually the ABYC A-16 standard; the full standard may be purchased here.

Common sense, alas, does not appear very common.
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Old 26-03-2009, 08:10   #11
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Well I guess you know then. I concede. You win the pissing contest. I bow to you.
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Old 26-03-2009, 08:30   #12
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I recently switched the bulbs in my Aqua Signal Tri Color/anchor/strobe masthead unit. I have been very happy so far. The Anchor light uses 1/10th of an amp and I can leave it on day and light out in front of the house (a small solar panel keeps up easy) It was not cheap at $50 a pop. But I think it is a very good product.
WHich LED did you use? I noticed Dr. LED has a replacement tri/anchor (not sure if strobe or not). Did you use that one? (And if so, did it have the stobe too?)
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Old 26-03-2009, 08:35   #13
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WHich LED did you use? I noticed Dr. LED has a replacement tri/anchor (not sure if strobe or not). Did you use that one? (And if so, did it have the stobe too?)
The DR LED tri color Does not include the strobe, that is a separate light like the anckor light is separate also.
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Old 26-03-2009, 11:31   #14
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I changed over my Anchor light and most interior lights some time ago and really love the energy savings. Former anchor light really did a hit on what was then a marginal house bank and prior to improving the bank itself with new batteries with higher Amps, the LED Anchor light worked with no perceptible draw... and yes it was on!

I have not changed my running lights. Not in any rush since I try to do minimal night sailing. However when I do, I'll probably go LED. Can't recall the Anchor light manufacture but purchased it at Budget Marine in St. Thomas. My interior LED's were from Marinebeam.com and the warm white HP- G4's do the trick for me. I have a couple of the Bright White's for the mushroom reading lights but typically use the small book goose-neck devices to minimize disturbance of other when I start reading at 3AM
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Old 26-03-2009, 13:01   #15
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The "certified" question

The question is a LOT more in depth than just, can you see it 2 miles away.

I will re-post the criteria they need to meet and get a USCG certification..

From 33 CFR 84:


Colors

� 84.13 Color specification of lights
(a) The chromaticity of all navigation lights shall conform to the following standards, which lie within the boundaries of the area of the diagram specified for each color by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), in the "Colors of Light Signals", which is incorporated by reference. It is Publication CIE No. 2.2. (TC-1.6), 1975, and is available from the Illumination Engineering Society, 345 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017. It is also available for inspection at the Office of the Federal Register, Room 8401, 1100 L Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20408. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register.
(b) The boundaries of the area for each color are given by indicating the corner coordinates, which are as follows:
(1) White:
x 0.525 0.525 0.452 0.310 0.310 0.443
y 0.382 0.440 0.440 0.348 0.283 0.382
(2) Green:
x 0.028 0.009 0.300 0.203
y 0.385 0.723 0.511 0.356
(3) Red:
x 0.680 0.660 0.735 0.721
y 0.320 0.320 0.265 0.259
(4) Yellow:
x 0.612 0.618 0.575 0.575
y 0.382 0.382 0.425 0.406

Intensity

� 84.15 Intensity of lights
(a) The minimum luminous intensity of lights shall be calculated by using the formula:
l = 3.43 x 106 x T x D2 x K-D
where:
I is luminous intensity in candelas under service conditions, T is threshold factor 2 x 10-7 lux, D is range of visibility (luminous range) of the light in nautical miles, K is atmospheric transmissivity. For prescribed lights the value of K shall be 0.8, corresponding to a meteorological visibility of approximately 13 nautical miles.
(b) A selection of figures derived from the formula is given in Table 84.15(b).
Table 84.15(b)
Range of visibility (luminous Minimum
range) of light in nautical luminous intensity of light
miles in candelas tor K = 0.8
D I
1 0.9
2 4.3
3 12
4 27
5 52
6 94

Horizontal Sectors

� 84.17 Horizontal sectors
(a)
(1) In the forward direction, sidelights as fitted on the vessel shall show the minimum required intensities. The intensities shall decrease to reach practical cut-off between 1 and 3 degrees outside the prescribed sectors.
(2) For sternlights and masthead lights and at 22.5 degrees abaft the beam for sidelights, the minimum required intensities shall be maintained over the arc of the horizon up to 5 degrees within the limits of the sectors prescribed in Rule 21. From 5 degrees within the prescribed sectors the intensity may decrease by 50 percent up to the prescribed limits; it shall decrease steadily to reach practical cutoff at not more than 5 degrees outside the prescribed sectors. (b) All-round lights shall be so located as not to be obscured by masts, topmasts or structures within angular sectors of more than 6 degrees, except anchor lights prescribed in Rule 30, which need not be placed at an impracticable height above the hull, and the all-round white light described in Rule 23(d), which may not be obscured at all. (c) If it is impracticable to comply with paragraph (b) of this section by exhibiting only one all-round light, two all-round lights shall be used suitably positioned or screened to appear, as far as practicable, as one light at a minimum distance of one nautical mile.

NOTE to paragraph (c): Two unscreened all-round lights that are 1.28 meters appart or less will appear as one light to the naked eye at a distance of one nautical mile.


Vertical Sectors

� 84.19 Vertical sectors
(a) The vertical sectors of electric lights as fitted, with the exception of lights on sailing vessels underway and on unmanned barges, shall ensure that:
(1) At least the required minimum intensity is maintained at all angles from 5 degrees above to 5 degrees below the horizontal;
(2) At least 60 percent of the required minimum intensity is maintained from 7.5 degrees above to 7.5 degrees below the horizontal.
(b) In the case of sailing vessels underway the vertical sectors of electric lights as fitted shall ensure that:
(1) At least the required minimum intensity is maintained at all angles from 5 degrees above to 5 degrees below the horizontal;
(2) At least 50 percent of the required minimum intensity is maintained from 25 degrees above to 25 degrees below the horizontal.
(c) In the case of unmanned barges the minimum required intensity of electric lights as fitted shall be maintained on the horizontal.
(d) In the case of lights other than electric lights these specifications shall be met as closely as possible.




If you feel you can go up against Jim Sokolove or his buddies who will be prancing about a courtroom with the above standards for nav lights than by all means go for it! I'm not that much of a gambler personally..

I will say this again, as I have before, it is NOT the USCG who will care but the lawyers will if and when you are involved in a nigh time accident. It is NOT the USCG you need to worry about it is the ambulance chasers who are looking for a case, any case, to show why their drunk defendant deserves to get off scott-free.

If you have read the above CFR for nav lights and still believe you can meet these horizontal, vertical, color spectrum and intensity parameters than you're good to go...


Let's run this scenario:

You are at anchor with your non certified, blueish colored LED anchor light that you saved big money on by purchasing it from an autoparts store. Joe six pack in his 32 foot Baja with 550 H.P. has been drinking all day and is blasting home when he plows into your boat and kills your child. Fast forward about two years to the trial where the lawyer for the defendant is blaming you, and convincing the jury that because you were a cheap skate, you are the reason your child is dead because his drunk defendant could not see your anchor light and claimed it looked like a "bluish" planet not a boat...

A stretch? I think not. I sat through two days of this type of testimony during the trial of the defendant who killed my friends father. It was two days of nav light testimony only these were certified nav lights, and yes that was brought up, and the bulbs were examined by a forensics expert to determine if the bulb was on at time of impact. The case would have been made much easier if Kim's dad had simply installed aftermarket LED's as it would have given the lawyers food for fodder..

Forget about the USCG it's the scumbag lawyers you need to watch out for..
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