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Old 21-03-2014, 14:22   #1
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Navigation lights and wet passages

I am the proud new owner of a Tayana 58. On it's maiden voyage with me, we made a short passage from Palm Beach, FL to Wilmington, NC. The navigation lights were working when we left. It got a bit bumpy out there in the Gulf Stream, and evidently the navigation lights stopped working some time in the first 10,000 waves we took over the bow.

As we made landfall at Cape Fear just before dawn, we were admonished over VHF by an outbound boat for not having our running lights on. I didn't know they had quit. I quickly put on the tricolor light. I understand that steaming/masthead light lower and tricolor light above is not a kosher combination, but I felt that I had no safer option.

I spoke with the service manager at the boat yard when we tied up, and he felt the best we could do would be to check the bulbs/contacts before we left and expect that the navigation lights would stop working after getting dunked a lot along the way.

What is your experience? Do you have problems with your running lights when making a particularly wet passage? What do you do about it?

Thanks.
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Old 21-03-2014, 14:42   #2
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

Welcome to CruisersForum, accomplice
In the past, I have had problems with the running lights on my (then) new-to-me boat. Some seawater found its way inside and corroded the contacts. First, I made short-term repairs, replacing the corroded crimped terminals on the wires and trying to make the case watertight with silicone.

After some time, I replaced both lights (bow and stern) with a better model, put LED inside (no more need to change the bulbs and less heat) and made them really watertight with butyl. That was in 2009. Since then, I haven't had any new problem.

Alain
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Old 21-03-2014, 14:59   #3
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

Hi, you don't say what sort of nav lights you have. My Bi-colour is an Aquasignal 40. Recently changed it.. not because of water ingress but faulty contacts. I don't have issues with water ingress but the light would go on and off at will in 'bouncy' seas....
If you do have an issue with water getting into the light just seal where the cable goes in with self amalgamating tape.
The other issue I had was degradation of the 'glass'. What I do now is fit the old 'glass' whenever the yacht is going to be in port for more than a few weeks.
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Old 21-03-2014, 15:15   #4
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

It seems the plastic "glass" in navigation lights is opacified over time by UV rays from the sun and by heat from the bulb inside. This was one reason for me to replace incandescence light bulbs with LED.

Alain
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Old 21-03-2014, 15:22   #5
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

Nav lights dont last forever. But they last longer than the connections.

Cut off the connection closest to the nav lights and see if reconnecting fixes the problem. If there 12 v there but no light then its inside the unit, repairable or not.


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Old 21-03-2014, 15:43   #6
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

Get sealed LED nav lights, no bouncing or connection issues with water. I went with Hella navi- pro LED, not cheap at $160 each, but totally sealed and you won't ever have to change a bulb again, plus much brighter than the 1970's fixtures that came with the boat. Steaming, tri-color, port, starboard and stern light all Hella LED, pricey at $1100 but it's one less thing to never worry about.
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Old 21-03-2014, 20:08   #7
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

Yes. I had several times problems but I can see when a light is out, I can see the red and green reflected light. I agree the main problem are faulty contacts when the ride is really rough. When the lights are not led the incandescent ones can also get damaged with the shocks.

Waterproof casing may not be enough. I bought a led tricolor for the top of the mast as a back up option. It seems to me that the only thing you need, since you have a tricolor, is to pay attention if your lights are all on.
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Old 21-03-2014, 20:35   #8
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

A Ha ! And folks laugh at us for carrying kerosene runnin lights !! LOL Never burn out(if ya fill em lol)
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Old 21-03-2014, 20:59   #9
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

If your running old style incandescent lights you may want to the the lens seals, most are available, even for older fixtures. Also making sure the wring is OK would be wise, if you have to cut some back to get a good connection you should solder the joint, coat it with liquid tape (available in Home Depot as well as most electrical suppliers) then put some shrink wrap over it for abrasion protection..
There is also a CRC product used for corrosion protection on aluminum to copper connections, it works really well at preventing corrosion in the bulb sockets. Clean the socket, spray it and replace the bulb.
Since doing that on my previous boat, which saw plenty of water over the deck I never had to touch my running lights for 5 years.
Otherwise spend the money for the sealed led's.
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Old 22-03-2014, 07:04   #10
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

Thanks for your replies.

I'm not sure what kind of lights are on the boat now, but it seems like replacing with LED is the way to go. I understand that leaves the connections as the weak point, but hopefully addressing those carefully will keep the problem from recurring.
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Old 22-03-2014, 07:30   #11
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

Br careful because if you think in replacing the old incandescent bulbs by led lights and If your boat has more than 12m you will have some difficulty to find ones that comply with the rules. You need a 3nm visibility and almost all only give 2nm.

They exist on the market but thy are expensive and not the most common. Even for a smaller boat I would go with the ones with 3nm visibility. The cost is relative and for sure that to be more visible is an huge advantage.
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Old 22-03-2014, 07:55   #12
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

Poulox,
I believe that rule 22 requires only 2nm for side lights -- the 3nm requirement on sidelights doesn't apply until 50m length. The masthead (steaming) light, however, must be visible to 3nm.

I agree with you, though, that I would prefer lights visible as far away as possible.
The 3nm LED lights are more expensive and harder to come by.
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Old 22-03-2014, 08:01   #13
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

The Hella LED lights I bought came with 5' or 6' wires to the sealed units, all the connections were safe inside the boat.
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Old 22-03-2014, 08:04   #14
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
A Ha ! And folks laugh at us for carrying kerosene runnin lights !! LOL Never burn out(if ya fill em lol)
Bob you KILL ME!!!!

Mr. Old School it too cool....
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Old 22-03-2014, 09:31   #15
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Re: Navigation lights and wet passages

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Originally Posted by accomplice View Post
Poulox,
I believe that rule 22 requires only 2nm for side lights -- the 3nm requirement on sidelights doesn't apply until 50m length. The masthead (steaming) light, however, must be visible to 3nm.

I agree with you, though, that I would prefer lights visible as far away as possible.
The 3nm LED lights are more expensive and harder to come by.
Yes I checked and you are right.The the minimum, as you say are 2nm, unless it is a masthead light where the minimum range are 3nm.

I know for sure that a tricolor for the top of the mast have to have a 3nm. I recently bought one has a back up and they made it very clear that it only had a 2nm range and that it would not comply for boats with more than 12m.

In fact the intensity needed on a lamp for 3NM regarding one that only gives 2NM is not proportional to the distance: It has to have 3 times the luminous intensity and it corresponds to the difference between a 5w incandescent bulb and a 15w one. Big difference in visibility.

http://www.mar.ist.utl.pt/mventura/P...OLREG-1972.pdf
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