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Old 08-01-2020, 15:38   #1
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Navigation lights for an inflatable

For safety reasons I prefer to have proper running lights for my dinghy. Years ago the portable lights with a bulb and 2D batteries made sense. With LEDs and better batteries the lights can be much more compact. While I replaced the old portable lights on my Folding dinghy with the same large D cell units but with LED bulbs I choose the newer compact Atwood portable navigation lights for my RIB in the Caribbean. The bracket for the transom all around light looks adequate but they offer no real solution to mount the red/green bow light on an inflatable hull. Fortunately glue on mounting pads for inflatables are made for a variety of purposes. In my case the Scotty rod holder with a glue on base is perfect. And when I am not using the light I have a decent rod holder. It will be a few months before I install it but here is a photo of the components and how they fit togetherk
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:24   #2
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

Thanks for sharing. I am looking for the same - one problem I might have is that for long passages I store my dinghy upside down on the bow - would the mount dig into the gelcoat/nonskid? I'd have to fashion some protection. I'm sure i have some yoga blocks not doing much in a closet...
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:28   #3
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

It’s best and Long lasting if you screw normal compact running lights to the engine cowling , then use the 12 v output found on most small motors

The lights are alway with you , always on when underway and need no onboard clutter mess
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:47   #4
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

There are 3 parts to the support. The part that glues on to the dinghy, the base, and the fishing rod holder. I think you could remove whatever is needed for storage upside down.
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Old 07-03-2020, 22:10   #5
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

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Itís best and Long lasting if you screw normal compact running lights to the engine cowling , then use the 12 v output found on most small motors

The lights are alway with you , always on when underway and need no onboard clutter mess

Interesting. I checked the COLREGS and there is no requirement that the sidelights be forward of the stern (which surprises me). There is a requirement that the white all-around light be at least one meter above the sidelights. State law is similar for me.


I would still think that other boaters may find the light aspect to be confusing.
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Old 07-03-2020, 22:27   #6
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

I like these. They use a magnet to attach to my outboard cover. Quick to put on or take off. Other mounts are available too.
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:30   #7
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

Anything that mounts to the outboard will be blocked by the driver and passengers. Plus spoiling the drivers night vision. Better to mount the light on a vertical spar, well above the occupants bodies, and with a light shield to keep the glare from direct impact on eyes.

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Old 08-03-2020, 03:17   #8
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

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Anything that mounts to the outboard will be blocked by the driver and passengers. Plus spoiling the drivers night vision. Better to mount the light on a vertical spar, well above the occupants bodies, and with a light shield to keep the glare from direct impact on eyes.

Jim
Yea, I've heard this argument before. In my experience probably over 95% of the cruisers don't have any light on their dinghy or might have a small headband light. The lights on the outboard are far better than not having them and pretty visible from a distance. I haven't had an issue with blinding the driver.

Adding any horizotally wide area light is such a great improvement over going dark, I'm not going to fuss with the small downsides.
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Old 08-03-2020, 03:33   #9
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

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Interesting. I checked the COLREGS and there is no requirement that the sidelights be forward of the stern (which surprises me). There is a requirement that the white all-around light be at least one meter above the sidelights. State law is similar for me.


I would still think that other boaters may find the light aspect to be confusing.
On a small tender any nav light system that you use will be less than perfect or illegal
I can say that 90 percent of tenders have no lights at all and that I can clearly see my tender chugging thru the anchorage
With the stern light go with a super bright bulb
Every tender accident Iíve know was run down from behind
Also the super bright stern light provides useful illumination of underwater objects in shallow water
around docks and sea grass

In the cut off picture you can only see the stern light
the SOLAS reflector tape , The + in the Swiss flag, is valuable

SOLAS tape on the motor cowl is very a worthwhile visual aid
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:00   #10
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

As for side lights I see that ocean racers are using extremely compact led lights

In the picture the bow light can be seen if you carefully examine the base of the bow pulpit, under the black dock line

Built into the stanchion base , the size of your thumb nail

I would like to know to source for this led
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:03   #11
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

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I like these. They use a magnet to attach to my outboard cover. Quick to put on or take off. Other mounts are available too.
This is what I use for bow light.

But I bought and used a quick release bracket (that I believe was also sold by Navisafe) the base of which adheres to the bow of my inflatable. But as supplied, the light was high and vulnerable to people and dogs climbing over the bow, so I modified mine to attach the magnet directly to the base that is affixed to the bow tube. I don't secure the magnet to the base (but with only one screw) unless I plan to use the lights, so it's not as quick release as it was designed.

For the white stern light, I did as suggested by a Navisafe salesman, I put the magnet inside my hat and put the (all around) light on top of my head.

So I am certain my lights are as they are required to be.

And WRT where the red/green lights are supposed to be, I thought they were required to be "on the forward half" of the boat.
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:42   #12
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

I found this picture. Seems like all boats need white 'all-around', either as a single or split mast and stern. The need for side lights are a function of speed and length. My vessels are less than 7 meters. According to this, my 21-footer's (6.5m) 'steaming' light would need to be running to fulfill my all-around requirement since the stern light only shines aft.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:28   #13
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

The “ poor fisherman’s rule “ also states that a boat may use any means to attract attention

Flashlight . Kerosine lantern, anything

The main reason you display lights on your tender it to keep from being run down at night

Each must decide what is best
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:54   #14
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

I always liked wearing my 360* white light at the top of my bicycle helmet while in the dinghy. 'always the high point and never a glare in my eyes.
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:57   #15
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Re: Navigation lights for an inflatable

Unfortunately in Florida the local water cops can get pretty pissy about this issue. In Boot Key Harbor they pick certain nights to hassle dinghys that don't have "legal" lighting and most none of these above achieve that. Perhaps the first one does part of the rule:
Red and green sidelights visible from a distance of at least two miles away—or if less than 39.4 feet long, at least one mile away—on a dark, clear night. An all-round white light or both a masthead light and a sternlight.
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