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Old 13-01-2014, 17:08   #1
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Anchor light as mast head light under power?

I was at a USCG class in Seamanship a few weeks ago for the Auxiliary, and the instructor (a pretty sharp guy) said that one could use a lit anchor light for the same purpose as the (lower mounted front facing) mast head light -- at least on a 30 ft boat.

Since my mast head light is busted up, and honestly I hate all the ones I see, I am tempted to just rely on my anchor light (plus a spare emergency light in a locker). I can see the logic with the intent for there to be a visible white light from fore and aft under power and from aft under sail (I have a stern light). Also I get to run only two replacement wires up the mast, and no need to pull a feed at the center.
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Old 13-01-2014, 17:19   #2
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

He was wrong, and frankly I am really surprised he said so.

Anchor light, 360 degrees. Works out ok from ahead, see color of bow lights and white above (correct if steaming).

However! If you have your running lights on and your anchor light, you show white over white from behind.... Just like a large ship would if it were coming at you.

Better (IMHO) even if not legal, to just do without the steaming light if you are sailing at night and your steaming light goes out. You are still not correct, but not showing anything likely to good someone else up.
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Old 13-01-2014, 17:21   #3
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

Yes you can. (USCG rules Link: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=Rule23)
If your boat is less than 12 meters in length you may use an all-round white light and sidelights. But you then should not show a white stern-light. This is how my 27ft power boat is set up.
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Old 13-01-2014, 17:25   #4
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

Go here:

http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/...ations/420.PDF

Go to page 27

Much easier than reading the CFR's that involve this.

30 foot sailboat under power is a 30 foot power boat which is less than 12 meters. So.... Bow lights, read and green, and a all round white. (So far you are looking good yes?) NO Stern light though, have to turn that off.

When sailing then you can't use the all round white on the top of the mast because that would mean that you were motoring, so you have to have either a tricolor, or a stern light.

(So I think you are ok there too aren't you?)

That said... Unless you are on a lake or very calm bay, the lights on the deck of your 30 foot sailboat are useless.. No one is going to be able to see them even in a normal swell. So if you are sailing in anything more than a millpond, the addition of a tricolor you your boat would most likely allow someone to see you.

The hardest part of running new wires up the mast is the labor for pulling the wires, not cost of the wire for most people. If you use an LED masthead with Tricolor, and All Round White, you can use a smaller gauge wire that is easier to pull than if you use a standard incandescent light bulb.


Guy
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Old 13-01-2014, 17:41   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

I stand corrected.

Ok, if you disconnect the stern light then it would work. (Your OP did not say that).

If you have your running lights on with the stern light lit you have the problem I mentioned. If you do though, it is actually a pretty cool idea.
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Old 13-01-2014, 18:00   #6
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

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Originally Posted by s/v 'Faith' View Post
Ok, if you disconnect the stern light then it would work. (Your OP did not say that).

If you have your running lights on with the stern light lit you have the problem I mentioned.

Nope. You would have to shield 225 degree of the forward part of the anchor light when you are a sailing vessel. A sailing vessel shows sidelights and a stern light (and perhaps red over green at the top of the mast) or a tricolour

The configuration the OP describes power-driven vessel as mentioned by some others.
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Old 13-01-2014, 18:15   #7
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Nope. You would have to shield 225 degree of the forward part of the anchor light when you are a sailing vessel. A sailing vessel shows sidelights and a stern light (and perhaps red over green at the top of the mast) or a tricolour

The configuration the OP describes power-driven vessel as mentioned by some others.
I think you are making the same error I did. Of course you (and I) are right..l you can not show the anchor light and running lights at the same time. However, if one rigged a switch to the stern light, and when motoring switch the stern light off and switch the anchor light on.... It would be legal.

To sail, turn off the anchor light, and turn the stern light back on.

Legal both ways, as long as you flip the right switches..... And are less then 12m.
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Old 13-01-2014, 18:21   #8
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pirate Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

Actually I think you'll find just an all round white light is sufficient for a vessel under 12 metres... R & G not required.
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Old 13-01-2014, 18:34   #9
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

That is only for boats under 7m. rule 23 (d)(ii) Boats 7 - 12m need port and starbord lights.
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Old 13-01-2014, 18:50   #10
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

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Originally Posted by s/v 'Faith' View Post
I think you are making the same error I did. Of course you (and I) are right..l you can not show the anchor light and running lights at the same time. However, if one rigged a switch to the stern light, and when motoring switch the stern light off and switch the anchor light on.... It would be legal.

To sail, turn off the anchor light, and turn the stern light back on.

Legal both ways, as long as you flip the right switches..... And are less then 12m.
Rule 21 (c)

"(c) "Sternlight" means a white light placed as nearly as practicable at the stern showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 135 degrees and so fixed as to show the light 67.5 degrees from right aft on each side of the vessel."
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Old 13-01-2014, 18:53   #11
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

Rule 23 (c):
Quote:
A power-driven vessel of less than 12 meters in length may in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule exhibit an all-round white light and sidelights.
(http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=Rule23)
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Old 13-01-2014, 18:56   #12
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

Four good sites for IRPCS

For Americans
Navigation Rules Online

For Canadians
Collision Regulations

For everyone
Sailtrain: IRPCS, Colregs, Rules of the Road, International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea for sail and motor yachts.

A good handbook for everyone
Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road
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Old 13-01-2014, 18:58   #13
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
The OP has a Catalina 30, which I hope he sails.
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Old 13-01-2014, 19:04   #14
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

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The OP has a Catalina 30, which I hope he sails.
He correctly stated in the OP, (second paragraph) that the use of the anchor light would be "under power" and under sail he would use his stern light.

His boat (as I am sure you know) has an aux, and he is trying to avoid replacing his masthead (steaming) light.

I see no reason why it will not work, provided he switches off the stern light while motoring and using the anchor light.
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Old 13-01-2014, 19:10   #15
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Re: Anchor light as mast head light under power?

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I see no reason why it will not work, provided he switches off the stern light while motoring and using the anchor light.
Rule 21(c)

His stern is a practicable location for the sternlight.
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