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Old 04-03-2006, 03:17   #16
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The whole point of bringing up the PS test on nav lights was to point out that MOST of the USCG approved units failed to meet the USCG requirements when tested "practically". If our boat was commercial, you bet I would have a "rated" light up top, since we're not, I'm not much concerned about that aspect of my DIY light.

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Old 05-03-2006, 16:05   #17
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FWIW, there has been some discussion, either here and/or on other boards, regarding the potential for liability not covered by insurance should you be involved in an accident at night and it is found that your lights are not "approved."

I think these discussions apply as well to navigation lights as to anchor lights...


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Old 06-03-2006, 03:35   #18
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To be legal with your nav lights you actually need to purchase the replacement bulbs from the manufacturer, rather than the much cheaper ones available from the chandlery. Of course none of us do, so could be done in any legal wrangling.
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Old 06-03-2006, 06:36   #19
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Geoff, I think there's always been a dilemma for cruising sailors to move up the technology scale because it truly improves that boat's performance or safety or comfort vs. choosing new technology because it makes us feel better. We opted for diesel engines, inflatable PFDs and roller furling jibs despite some disadvantages because the benefits (despite their costs)demonstrably outweighed the status quo.

WRT nav lights - and despite the desire to upgrade to what seems more efficient - I'll bet you've already equipped your ketch, at some significant expense, to deal with the nav light electrical demand: HO alternator; external regulator; alternative energy source(s); clever analysis meter that 'counts' amp/hrs. In truth, you've already addressed this issue (electrical consumption), yet now technology is inevitably luring you further. It's fair to ask, just as you did in your original post, at what point is it reasonable to accept a given 'cost' (in amps) for a given level of safety & performance (nav lights) vs. adding additional cost ($$) for (hopefully) the same performance.

FWIW the ONLY light I've been concerned about improving while full-time cruising has been the anchor light. As Tim pointed out, bow/stern/steaming lights are usually a non-issue. My AquaSignal Tricolor light is not electrically efficient but it is very functional; it is also an approved device. And re: bulb life, I have to say the majority of nav light problems I've had to solve have been bad contacts (easily cleaned) and corrosion due to poor wire connections on my part. I have yet to replace all the bulbs in my lights even once (5 yrs cruising so far), so an argument about 'maintenance' being expensive for these halogen lights has not ben my experience.

But the anchor light has been a worry. First, the masthead light (part of the AquaSignal fixture) is just not in a place that I think motorboaters routinely look for when in close quarters at night-time. This was e.g. very noticeable to me - was I just imagining it? - on the Spanish Rias this past season, when concerts, inpromptu socializing and lots of boating activity went on all night long (along with much alcohol consumption) on many a weekend. My masthead light is bright and clean white, and I added a photo cell in the circuit so I could throw on the light before leaving the boat to go ashore, yet know it wouldn't turn on until needed...but despite all this, I worry about it meeting the entire need that WHOOSH has. I've used a Davis MegaLight for some years, usually as an addendum to the masthead light and mounted lower over the dodger, but have always been dissatisfied with its visual impact. I even built my own 'automatic' anchor light, using a photo-cell, peanut butter jar and incandescent bulb; I expected this would be an improvement in several directions when in practice it was somewhat the worst of all choices: I still had a 1 amp/hr draw, no effective lens, and a yellowish, weak light.

What's my current answer? On the rec of John Drake (a visitor here on occasion) I bought an Innovative Lighting LED anchor light. They are either $70 or $80 (depending on shaft length) at Boaters World (not inexpensive but not outrageous), they do not lend themselves to a variety of mounting options so I'll have to do some fiddling, but I just MAY have arrived at a compromise I will find reasonable: 1/4 amp/hr draw, long-life LED in an effective lens, bright white and brilliantly white light, and USCG 2 NM approved. I plan to use it as either THE anchor light (probably mounted above & near the cockpit, which also adds a bit of security) or supplemental to the masthead light, depending on conditions in the anchorage (level of traffic, viz and level of observed alcohol consumption); we also plan to use it as our cockpit illumination when using the cockpit at night.

Is this 'the answer'? Well, it's getting closer to the level of protection I think can occasionally be needed in a busy anchorage; it is certainly closer than anything else so far. One thing I am sure of: for my limited cruising kitty, the anchor light is where it's worth putting my attention and money.

Hope this is of some help to you.

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Old 07-03-2006, 19:02   #20
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I emailed the Lopolight rep I talked to at the Chicago show, Seibe Noordsy, about the USCG approval issue; this was his reply today:


The current situation is, that the lights are USCG "compliant", which means that they can legally be mounted on used boats, aftermarket. This means that in your case you are perfectly legal.

New builds require lights that are USCG "approved".

All the lights have a CE certification, we are in the process to have the CE certification accepted (and thus approved) by the USCG. This process is taking a little longer than expected, as the laboratory in England that completed the EU certification has to be USCG approved to test navigation lights. They are for example certified to test and USCG approve compasses, but they are going through the process to get the certification for the navigation lights. It is merely a administrative matter as this point, since the CE certification is more strict than the USCG certification.

We can email you copies of the CE certification if you wish.

Let us know
kind regards

So, legal and/or insurance it true? "Compliant" (retrofit in a used boat) covers my you-know-what in the case of a collision?
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Old 07-03-2006, 19:22   #21
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That is in line with what they told me when I purchased mine. I had a tricolor on the trimaran when I bought it. In a recent wind storm, it was destroyed. Not sure if gul hit it or what happened, but I do not see this happening to the Lopolight due to it's construction and design. That is $300 I will not have to spend again.
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Old 07-03-2006, 21:22   #22
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And Kai's Lopolight is very lightweight.

Made of Aluminum construction. Lights that got all the way around. Very low profile. So it's more aerodynamic. (low wind resistance)

Heard of some stories were the mast lights were ripped off by gale winds.

The Lopolight's low profile would make it more difficult for gale winds to rip off this light!!

Weighs roughly around 1.5-2.0lbs. And it also makes a great expensive paperweight too!!


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