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Old 26-12-2015, 19:42   #31
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Re: running lights on pulpit

Bit of thread drift.

Understand the advantages of LED of course but notice many modern commercial boats still use The large Aquasignal style incandescents and these do seem to be more highly visible. Any experience or comments?


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Old 26-12-2015, 20:19   #32
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Re: running lights on pulpit

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Originally Posted by Orion Jim View Post
Running lights are almost invisible at sea, even on the largest ships, unless conditions are ideal. I have mine mounted on the bow pulpit but turn on a deck light if anyone will pass closely. Just a minute or so is enough to get their attention.
Hi Jim,
With due respect, Nav lights or Runnng lights shouldn't be almost invisible, although it may be a good idea to operate your vessel as though no one can see you!
Col-regs stipulate minimum distances required for various lights. Viewing capability from the wheelhouse of a large commercial vessel is excellent and the vast majority of watchkeepers are doing a good job.
Good lights in a prominant position are the first step to being seen. AIS is outstanding for bringing a small vessel to the attention of shipping at night. If a sailing boat does not have AIS, good lights may well be seen before radar picks up the boat. At the very least, ships will confirm what they are seeing on the plotter by looking out the window. WE HOPE
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Old 26-12-2015, 22:12   #33
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Re: running lights on pulpit

The incandescent bulbs for the Aqua Signal amps are high amp consumers. LED's burn so little juice that they barely move the amp meter. You can switch an LED bulb into the Aqua Signal lamps though it would technically not meet Coast Guard Reg's unless they have been certified as a replacement. LED's may not put out the right color spectrum or be bright to be a like kind replacement for an incandescent bulb.


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Originally Posted by stillbuilding View Post
Bit of thread drift.

Understand the advantages of LED of course but notice many modern commercial boats still use The large Aquasignal style incandescents and these do seem to be more highly visible. Any experience or comments?


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Old 27-12-2015, 01:38   #34
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Re: running lights on pulpit

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Originally Posted by stillbuilding View Post
Bit of thread drift.

Understand the advantages of LED of course but notice many modern commercial boats still use The large Aquasignal style incandescents and these do seem to be more highly visible. Any experience or comments?
Not many companies are producing Led nav lights for commercial vessels such as fishing boats. DHR and Lopo are two. The few that are available are quite expensive. Many commercial vessels require dual light systems with wheelhouse monitoring systems.

Navigation lights | Den Haan Rotterdam
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Old 27-12-2015, 01:42   #35
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Re: running lights on pulpit

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.....unless they have been certified as a replacement. LED's may not put out the right color spectrum or be bright to be a like kind replacement for an incandescent bulb.
Bulbs are not certified as replacements. The only certification is as a complete fixture including bulb.

A replacement bulb chosen with care can work well though keeping in mind to place a green bulb behind a green lens and a red bulb behind red lens. The reputable companies making bulbs are doing a good job - the price leaders aren't.
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Old 27-12-2015, 03:04   #36
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Re: running lights on pulpit

Don't suppose anyone has actually bought the rather expensive recently published ISO international standards for fixed LED fixtures up to 24m....

Small craft Electric navigation lights Performance of LED lights

https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:...-1:v1:en:ref:1
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Old 27-12-2015, 03:34   #37
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Re: running lights on pulpit

I've had running lights on the pulpit of my Dufour Arpege for many years. Never had any issues at all with the set up. For what it's worth.
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Old 27-12-2015, 10:31   #38
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Re: running lights on pulpit

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Originally Posted by sanibel sailor View Post
I have deck mounted Aquasignal series 25 running lights. They are mounted port and starboard just inboard of the toerail. They are not in a terrible location, but not great either. Tend to be in the way and are nearly chafing against lines led to the mooring cleats.

I also have a masthead tricolor.

I have the pulpit off the boat at the moment. I am thinking of mounting the lights on the pulpit, probably need to get a plate welded to it. I am concerned about the lights now chafing against the sails or getting whacked by misplaced dock pilings, etc. Maybe a bicolor right at the front?

Any thoughts?
John,

In your situation, I might consider a sealed LED bi-color light as then you are only paying for one modification to your pulpit.

If you decide to go with [the usually preferred] separate bow nav lights, following is an image showing the stainless steel cowling welded to both sides of our bow pulpit housing Aqua Signal Series 40 nav lights. This arrangement eliminates any glare. In fact, I have to go way forward and lean outboard to confirm the lights are on from deck level.



Regarding sources, have a look at what CruisingSolutions.com has to offer for light assemblies and/or appropriate replacement LED bulbs for existing light fixtures.. They are cruisers that offer great values and have the depth of knowledge and experience to back it up.

While you're modifying your pulpit, consider adding a LED light bar on the forward most section of your pulpit that can be directed forward or downward to assist as a 'headlight' or anchor work light. I have seen light bars with 'blinders' attached to eliminate any glow or glare from obtuse angles or aft.]

For example, here are a couple of options I am considering:

Experimental/low-end option

High-end option


In case this is helpful.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 27-12-2015, 11:04   #39
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Re: running lights on pulpit

Quote:
Originally Posted by stillbuilding View Post
Bit of thread drift.

Understand the advantages of LED of course but notice many modern commercial boats still use The large Aquasignal style incandescents and these do seem to be more highly visible. Any experience or comments?


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Stillbuilding,

I will be replacing the incandescent bulbs in our Aqua Signal Series 40 nav lights this spring when I get back to the boat. I will be able to report back first-hand observations after that.

Our driving reason for this change is to reduce our deck level nav light electrical load by 80+% [from 100 watts to 12 watts...]

I am basing my decision on the excellent feedback I have received from CruisingSolutions.com [No affiliation or incentive- I'm just a happy, repeat customer...] Here is a link to the bulbs specified for the Series 40 nav lights we have.

It is important to note- as already mentioned by others in this thread- if you switch to LED bulbs for existing nav lights, you must use an LED bulb of the same color as the lens in the nav light. [i.e., don't put a white LED bulb behind your red or green nav light lenses; use red and green LEDs instead to achieve maximum brightness...]

In case this is helpful.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 27-12-2015, 11:25   #40
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Re: running lights on pulpit

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Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
...If you decide to go with [the usually preferred] separate bow nav lights, following is an image showing the stainless steel cowling welded to both sides of our bow pulpit housing Aqua Signal Series 40 nav lights. This arrangement eliminates any glare. In fact, I have to go way forward and lean outboard to confirm the lights are on from deck level.



...
That's the preferred way to mount lights on a pulpit.

One caution, however, be sure to mount the light so that its mounting surface is in the fore/aft plane, not the plane of the pulpit, which virtually always tapers in towards the bow. This would have the effect of reducing visibility from the side. Likewise it should be mounted plumb, not angled downward because of the pulpit's flare, for the same reason, so that it can be better seen from a tall, nearby, ship's lookout.

Also try to minimize and protect exposed wiring, especially where there is exposure to the full force of green water.
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Old 27-12-2015, 11:31   #41
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Re: running lights on pulpit

I had aqua signal lights on the pulpit (either side just forward of the vertical tube on one boat.) I also had the single center light as shown above on another boat. The single center is more prone to damage, but OK. The side lights were more protected from lines or damage etc.
It's a PITA running wires inside the pulpit tube though. And you need to have a drain hole near the base as water WILL get into the pulpit from the wire exit hole.
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Old 27-12-2015, 11:54   #42
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Re: running lights on pulpit

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Slight thread drift warning!

I've been thinking about this for a while, for I've heard similar statements from several professional ship mariners. I've been an advocate of masthead tricolors since they became available, but as a small boat sailor I've been viewing them from a near sea level point of view. From that level, they are indeed more visible than deck level lamps for they are never obscured by intervening seas. From the lofty position of the bridge of a merchant vessel, the view into the valleys between seas is much better, so the visibility oof deck level lights is also better. That's easy to understand! And if ship watchstanders judge distance to a light by the downward angle of the line of sight, then having the light 60 feet in the air would surely distort the mental computation. So, I'm prepared to believe that deck level lights could be better observed by ships crews.

Now I'm wondering just who I should be most worried about colliding with at night, and thus who I should be "aiming" my night lighting at? In my experience, ships are pretty easy to see at night, so that when I encounter t hem, I am able to take avoiding action if they don't seem to be avoiding me. Before I had active AIS, that was not an uncommon event... not the way it is supposed to be according to COLREGS, but what I observed over years of sailing. Whether this was due to their lack of vigilance or my masthead light I dunno, but when I judged that they were not altering course, I would do so, and it worked in practice. Thus, I didn't worry too much about s hips in the night.

But what about other yachts, fishing vessels and other smaller vessels? They are all too often poorly lit, and not that easy for me to see, and to avoid if I am the give way vessel. Thus I would like to give them the best chance of seeing me that I can, and for another small, low lying vessel, my masthead light is, I think, the most easily seen arrangement, and that is what I have chosen to display at sea. I'm quite willing to hear other opinions on this...

With the advent of AIS, my feelings are even stronger, for (at least in theory) big ships all are so equipped, and thus they need not depend on visual contact to be aware of my presence. We've done a few passages with active AiS now and I have observed ships apparently altering course to avoid us. We still watch them carefully when CPAs are small, but I feel far less anxious than when I depended upon them seeing us! But again, smaller vessels don't ALL have AIS, so their being able to see my lights is more important, and I think this supports use of the tricolour.

I'm interested to hear what both merchant seamen and other offshore cruisers think about this philosophy.

Jim
Hi Jim,

For what its worth, I concur with your logic and have always operated under the same premise for the same reasons. [Masthead tricolor when sailing offshore, etc.]

In my passage making days before AIS on a different vessel, I still ran under masthead tricolor. To increase our odds of being seen, I also had some separately switched up-facing deck lights above the down-facing deck lights on the mast. I would turn them on [or flash them off and on- depending upon the circumstances] while sailing if I couldn't determine whether another vessel had spotted me yet. My boat became a white apparition from their perspective, but the light was high enough not to spoil my night vision (if I didn't look up ...) Alternately flashing the up/down deck lights was pretty effective also... [To preserve night vision, a bright blue LED flashlight shined on the sails does a credible job as well...]

The few opportunities I had to ask large ship crew yielded positive responses to the masthead tricolor scenario... [and glowing reviews of my sail lighting; I always asked about visibility and radar detection of my vessel if I could make radio contact- which of course is much easier nowadays with AIS...]

I'm also not adverse to firing up the masthead strobe and/or steaming light if warranted to help avoid a collision. [I prefer to ask for forgiveness in such situations...]

We now rely on our AIS transponder to reveal our presence to ships at sea [and boats everywhere else...] and, as you already know, that is highly effective.

Our AIS is supplemented with a large Blipper radar reflector mounted high on the main mast and the aforementioned light arrays [and 4G radar for us...]

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 27-12-2015, 13:19   #43
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Re: running lights on pulpit

Based on looking for lights on big ships, I would say the masthead must have an advantage. The higher the lights are placed on a large ship, the sooner you see it.
Basically any light, deck or top, is white when you first see it. But at least you become aware of it being there, Then you look at the radar. I cant imagine anyone on a freighter is not looking at their radar once they know you are there. The key is them knowing you are there!
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Old 27-12-2015, 14:10   #44
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Re: running lights on pulpit

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Based on looking for lights on big ships, I would say the masthead must have an advantage. The higher the lights are placed on a large ship, the sooner you see it.
Basically any light, deck or top, is white when you first see it. But at least you become aware of it being there, Then you look at the radar. I cant imagine anyone on a freighter is not looking at their radar once they know you are there. The key is them knowing you are there!
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Old 28-12-2015, 03:07   #45
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Re: running lights on pulpit

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
That's the preferred way to mount lights on a pulpit.

One caution, however, be sure to mount the light so that its mounting surface is in the fore/aft plane, not the plane of the pulpit, which virtually always tapers in towards the bow. This would have the effect of reducing visibility from the side. Likewise it should be mounted plumb, not angled downward because of the pulpit's flare, for the same reason, so that it can be better seen from a tall, nearby, ship's lookout.

Also try to minimize and protect exposed wiring, especially where there is exposure to the full force of green water.
Yes, this is (IMO) a vital caution!
Another problem is that when viewed fro ahead and crossing, both colours can seen for too long suggesting the vessel is continuing to turn towards you!

Another issue with Tricolours is that they are usually (always?) fitted with only one lamp and if that fails, you lose all three lights. Bicolours suffer similarly but without losing the stern light (of course ).

In fact I prefer to see all three lamps with its own circuit and circuit protection. A three pole switch can be used to good effect here!
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