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Old 22-02-2019, 19:10   #1
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do you use side lights or tricolor?

My boat is equipped with regular side navigation lights an a tricolor on the mast. What is better to use?

I know on eis allowed to use only on or the other, but I must admit that in bad weather I am really tempted to use both. My thinking is that it would be better to be seen and treated as something else (e.g. from port : two red lights one above another would look like a vessel out of control) than not seen at all.
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Old 22-02-2019, 19:18   #2
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

The tricolor is intended to be used alone only when your boat is a sailing vessel. When the motor is propelling the boat even while motor sailing, your side running lights and steaming light are to be displayed to indicate you’re a motor driven vessel.

It’s not so much about visibility, the tricolor indicates to other boats which boat should be the give way vessel. As a sailing boat, power boats should give way due to the sailboat being less maneuverable, BUT... you still need to give way to less maneuverable boats such as fishing boats engaged in fishing or tug boats with a tow, even while sailing and displaying your tricolor.

Only one set of lights are to be used at a time, never together.
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Old 22-02-2019, 19:25   #3
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

It's been discussed at length in numerous previous threads.


IMNSHO:


Tricolour at sea. Side lights close inshore.


Both is illegal and confusing to other vessels.



Not just red over red. A tricolour white over a sternlight white could make you look like an approaching ship.
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Old 22-02-2019, 19:37   #4
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

The colregs are very clear about this issue, it has nothing to do with whether or not a sailboat is close to shore or at sea.
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Old 22-02-2019, 19:39   #5
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

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Both is illegal and confusing to other vessels.
Ahh, not confusing to me, Stu. When I see a vessel with both sets of lights on, I know that I'm seeing an ignorant, arrogant and/or non-complying sailor. Best thing is to then assume that he will not behave in a predictable fashion, and try to leave considerable room for maneuvering.

Commonly seen in early evenings between Sydney and Broken Bay.

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Old 22-02-2019, 19:44   #6
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

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Ahh, not confusing to me, Stu. When I see a vessel with both sets of lights on, I know that I'm seeing an ignorant, arrogant and/or non-complying sailor. Best thing is to then assume that he will not behave in a predictable fashion, and try to leave considerable room for maneuvering.

Commonly seen in early evenings between Sydney and Broken Bay.

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Jim, thanks for the laugh, so true so true.
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Old 22-02-2019, 19:45   #7
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

Jim,

Not everyone knows the rules, which is why the question is being asked. I see no reason to degrade any individual who might not know, I wasn’t aware until recently; I thought this forum was a place to learn and share ideas.
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Old 22-02-2019, 19:53   #8
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

I understand your point about using both lights, note I meant sailing not busy area in good visibility but out in open sea in bad conditions when the risk of not being seen is significant.

Apart from this the other question remains: which LEGAL option is better under sail: only tricolor, or only side lights?
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Old 22-02-2019, 19:56   #9
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

Like Stu, masthead tricolor at sea, side lights close in. I have my steaming light on a separate switch so I can legally use the side lights under sail without the steaming light.
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Old 22-02-2019, 20:58   #10
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

Boats under 20 meters can substitute a tricolor light for side lights and a stern light. It has nothing to do with proximity to the shore or in close or traffic or any other situation.
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Old 22-02-2019, 22:00   #11
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

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Boats under 20 meters can substitute a tricolor light for side lights and a stern light. It has nothing to do with proximity to the shore or in close or traffic or any other situation.
I believe that those responding that they use sidelights when close inshore and tricolour when offshore are merely exercising their choice to use the most visible option in the prevailing conditions. Prudent seamanship in my opinion.
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Old 22-02-2019, 23:26   #12
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
The colregs are very clear about this issue, it has nothing to do with whether or not a sailboat is close to shore or at sea.



My comments regarding close to shore or at sea were not COLREGs related. They were prefaced by I]n M]y N]ot S]o H]umble O]pinion.



And my reasons are:



At sea, the tricolour is less likely to be hidden by waves than sidelights.

Close to shore: The sidelights are less likely to be confused with shore lights that is the tricolour.

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Old 22-02-2019, 23:29   #13
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

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Jim,

Not everyone knows the rules, which is why the question is being asked. I see no reason to degrade any individual who might not know, I wasn’t aware until recently; I thought this forum was a place to learn and share ideas.

I don't think that is why the question is being asked. The OP say he knows the rules but considers using both anyway.
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Old 22-02-2019, 23:31   #14
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

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I believe that those responding that they use sidelights when close inshore and tricolour when offshore are merely exercising their choice to use the most visible option in the prevailing conditions. Prudent seamanship in my opinion.
Agreed, and a practice that I often use myself.

However, we've had input from commercial mariners who observe from bridges high above the sea that the tricolor lights are difficult for them to judge distance from, and prefer side lights. We small boat types know that side lights are often obscured by sails or seas when observed from near sea level... so it's a question of which vessels you want to be best seen by.

Sometimes a difficult decision...

Jim
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Old 22-02-2019, 23:43   #15
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Re: do you use side lights or tricolor?

I refuse to get drawn back into all this....

However.....

I think 'Red over Green' is the way to go... with sidelights... and AIS Tx.. unless you are on a long sea voyage and power is an issue... in which case go with tricolour and AIS Tx.

That's it... I'm done....
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