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Old 01-09-2015, 07:05   #1
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Flashing Anchor Lights

When did it become OK to use flashing lights as anchor lights? I have been noticing more and more boats in the Caribbean using flashing or strobe type lights at anchor. I thought the reg was white light visible at least two nautical miles.

We are currently anchored in Prickly Bay in Grenada and have two boats, one with a flashing red light at about 1 1/2 second intervals at about 10 ft off the water, and the other a flashing white at about 1 second intervals, same height, and no masthead lights on either boat. From a distance at night, these can easily be confused for an aide to navigation, and in this instance, we have a flashing white light, out on Glover Island at the mouth of the bay.

I can understand a masthead light and then something at water level, so the drunk dinghy operator doesn't have to look up, but most boats just use another white light or leave a cockpit light on.

I wanted throw this out there and see if I'm missing something and maybe the regs have changed.

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Old 01-09-2015, 09:10   #2
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

There are all sorts of bad choices of anchor lighting. I recently saw a badly lighted boat in a tight anchorage with some lighted buoys and some unlighted marking the entrance channel. This boat was in line with the channel buoys and had a continuous light in the cockpit that changed every few minutes or so from white to red to blue to green. What is an approaching boat to make of that late on a dark night?


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Old 01-09-2015, 11:09   #3
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

It is an emergency signal, that is being grossly misused, or am I tooo ooold to remember??
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:31   #4
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

Colregs have not changed. Those lights are illegal, and a PITA.
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:46   #5
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

Yes, agree, not legal and a nuisance at best.
I use the masthead LED anchor light always and for increased safety
In traffic areas, 2 portable LED anchor lights in the cockpit.
A foredeck light helps as well.

Many a times I anchor outside No-Name harbor South of Miami. Found a few parallel sandbars with ditches in between. (Saw them from the air when flying out of Miami)
Anchoring out there is safe as many high speed power boats run aground before they get close to you, and many have tried. They see a sailboat anchored and thinks there is deep water all the way around so they come flying at high speed intending to cross close to my anchored bow (and wake me as well)
Instead they run up on the sand bars and have to call for help.
Serves them well.
I always use anchor lights even in those spots, not to lure high speed amateurs aground, (they are responsible for their own navigation) but because it is required and always a good idea.

The strobe light on top of my mast is for emergencies only, as if I run out of flares and the helicopter is trying to find me or some such thing.
Never had to use it, but run the strobe a few times a month in day light to keep it working and to test it. (They go stale, sometimes it takes 10 minutes for it to wake up if it has not been used for a while)
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:50   #6
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

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Originally Posted by olepedersen View Post
It is an emergency signal, that is being grossly misused, or am I tooo ooold to remember??

A strobe at 50 - 70 times per minute is only an emergency signal in the Inland waters of the U.S. The OP's once per second is closer to a nav aid signal.

eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations

(p) A high intensity white light flashing at regular intervals from 50 to 70 times per minute.



You won't find (p) in the International rules

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/navRu...18_Annex_4.pdf
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:56   #7
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

No, not an emergency signal in the International rules.

In a real emergency however, you can use anything and everything you got:
To prevent being run down by a tanker in bad visibility after you lost the engine and broke the mast for example.
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:59   #8
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

CSY-
Helo pilots will one and will ask you to PLEASE do not use a strobe light while they are trying to reach you. The flashing destroys depth perception, and then they can't tell if they are just close, or squashing the bug. (You.)
Just fwiw. I think I was first told that at a Safety At Sea seminar.


But if I see a distress light (rapid flashing whatever) I find it simpler to radio the local USCG and report a distress signal, and let them send out the educational team. I don't need to get into that debate with some schmuck who can't figure out "this ain't no disco" as the song goes. The USCG are always happy to provide boater education.(G)
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:04   #9
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

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. CSY-
Helo pilots will one and will ask you to PLEASE do not use a strobe light while they are trying to reach you. The flashing destroys depth perception, and then they can't tell if they are just close, or squashing the bug. (You.)
Just fwiw. I think I was first told that at a Safety At Sea seminar.
No doubt I would not run the strobe in the helo pilots face while they are trying to lower the basket, but if they are 5 miles away doing a grid search to find you, it could be very helpful.

(I have done airborne searches as well when I was working as as a Medevac Pilot in Alaska durimg snow storms, and would many times have welcomed a strobe light)
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:26   #10
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

At five miles out, I don't think depth perception will be an issue.(G)
Most folks wouldn't hear or see you coming at that point yet. They're just a bit distracted, if they're waiting for rescue.
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:39   #11
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

I had a masthead strobe for 15 yrs. I used it once for about 30 seconds while crossing the channel into Tampa Bay. A freighter was trying to identify me.

More recently some dirty bird destroyed the entire masthead light. Plastic all over the deck. I bought a new tri-color, anchor light fixture w/o strobe. I don't use it so why pay for it.
If someone needs to id me, I'll turn on the LED spreader lights.


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Old 01-09-2015, 12:43   #12
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

Quote:
. I bought a new tri-color, anchor light fixture w/o strobe. I don't use it so why pay for it.
Same goes for life jackets, flares, rockets, life raft, EPIRB, etc.
Haven't used any of yet, why pay for it....?
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:44   #13
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

We actually use a strobe for our Race Committee. But we also have a permit to do so from the local USCG commander, and it is announced in the weekly notice to mariners.

As mentioned by others the random use of a strobe is prohibited under international rules, and is limited to ue as a distress beacon for inland (USA) rules.

Personally I find the use of strobes incredibly annoying. But then I keep begging our race Committee that anyone who is showing the wrong nav lights should be protested for non-compliance so what do I know.
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Old 01-09-2015, 14:36   #14
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

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Same goes for life jackets, flares, rockets, life raft, EPIRB, etc.

Haven't used any of yet, why pay for it....?

Because I have alternatives. For about $4-5 I can buy a controller for my LED spreader lights that can dim them or strobe them. Think disco. I think I'm pretty well covered.

I also have on board all the other items you mention.


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Old 12-09-2015, 06:56   #15
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Re: Flashing Anchor Lights

I got rid of annoying and dangerous tri-color w/strobe long ago. Try to home in on a strobe, is over here, than over there. Dangerous for a s&r because it blinds and destroys night vision. The anchor light I have now has four functions; switch it on and it automatically turns on and off at sunset/sunrise, twice it stays on. Three times, it flashes slow. Four times, flashes quickly. It is 45 feet off the water
Despite the sea lawyers opinion, It is not illegal when used correctly. I think it is the best anchor light I ever had.
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