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Old 19-01-2020, 06:20   #1
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Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

I see threads with hundreds of posts discussion what lights should be show when lying to a sea anchor, sleeping while singlehanding, or most recently, swimming while drifting. But what no one ever answers is...


  1. Do they ever use these lights?
  2. What product do they use?
I see nav lights for commercial boats that are intended for stacked (1 or 2 meter spacing, depending on boat size) installation, but nothing for smaller boats.


I wonder what the USCG actually expects, knowing that no recreational boat has the hardware to display anything other than normal running and anchor lights? I suspect that is all they expect, though if I were night diving on any regular basis, the correct lights seem smart.
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Old 19-01-2020, 06:53   #2
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

The Coast Guard is on a rant against additional lighting close to nav lights. That said, I'm a proponent of rope light outlining at least part of the boat at all times, largely because an anchor light alone is not a good source of depth perception and may be confused with shore lights or stars. The next event is a collision with a 40 foot sport fishing boat doing 30 knots trying to get home in the dark. The goal is safety, above and beyond the rules.
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Old 19-01-2020, 14:52   #3
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

From Rule 30:


(c) A vessel at anchor may, and a vessel of 100 meters and more in length shall, also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks.



So yes, so long as the additional lights do not interfere with the anchor light, more is better. But this does not apply to running lights.
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Old 19-01-2020, 15:19   #4
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

One of my pet peeves is fishing boats, typically trawlers in our area, whose working deck lights are so bright and so extensive that their running nav lights are very difficult to pick out from any distance, even with binoculars. Because of the individual variation in how those lights are disposed on the boat, working out their direction of travel and aspect is very hard. And when there are a gang of them in some loose formation, well, it has been awkward at times!

Grrr...

OH, don't forget running their green over white at all times, fishing or not...

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Old 19-01-2020, 15:21   #5
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I see threads with hundreds of posts discussion what lights should be show when lying to a sea anchor, sleeping while singlehanding, or most recently, swimming while drifting. But what no one ever answers is...


  1. Do they ever use these lights?
  2. What product do they use?
I see nav lights for commercial boats that are intended for stacked (1 or 2 meter spacing, depending on boat size) installation, but nothing for smaller boats.


I wonder what the USCG actually expects, knowing that no recreational boat has the hardware to display anything other than normal running and anchor lights? I suspect that is all they expect, though if I were night diving on any regular basis, the correct lights seem smart.
Status lights, hoisted on a halyard in the foretriangle ...not under command, restricted ability to maneuver , aground ....and not common on small craft

A mast head mounted strobe light is an effective way to signal “ attention “

I’ve used one for many years
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Old 19-01-2020, 15:26   #6
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

Who the heck swims from a drifting boat at night? They'll have "crazy eyes" for sure!


To get into semantics, a drifting vessel, iirc, is still considered to be underway therefore must display regular navigation lights. There's possibly an argument to claim to be "not under command" but either way, you shouldn't show additional lighting as this defeats the whole purpose of having specific navigation light configurations to indicate size and status of a vessel.
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Old 19-01-2020, 15:37   #7
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
Who the heck swims from a drifting boat at night? They'll have "crazy eyes" for sure!


To get into semantics, a drifting vessel, iirc, is still considered to be underway therefore must display regular navigation lights. There's possibly an argument to claim to be "not under command" but either way, you shouldn't show additional lighting as this defeats the whole purpose of having specific navigation light configurations to indicate size and status of a vessel.
Status lights indicate that you are having difficulty , trawling, fishing, captain is dead, rudder broken ...stay clear of me , I can’t comply with rules of the road

A white flare ..attention...a red flare ..I need assistance ...Are common defenses on small craft

I suppose some goofball stopped and swimming at sea could display a day shape or status light for fishing ...

The boat could claim “shark fishing “ during the accident investigation ...the swimmer was the bait used to attract the toothy great whites
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Old 20-01-2020, 08:26   #8
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post

I wonder what the USCG actually expects, knowing that no recreational boat has the hardware to display anything other than normal running and anchor lights? I suspect that is all they expect, though if I were night diving on any regular basis, the correct lights seem smart.
The correct lights for night diving are either anchor lights (if you have an anchor stuck to the bottom) or running lights because you are underway. A sea anchor is NOT anchored. Drifting with the engine off is NOT anchored. There are no "diver down" lights. I think the closest you can come is flying the "A" flag with a light shining on it. Seems a reasonable attempt to do the best you can.

Drifting (whether fishing, diving, swimming, or just chilling) is "Underway, not making way." It is NOT "Not Under Command" or "Restricted in Ability to Maneuver" or anything else. You are required to comply with the nav rules for collision avoidance like any other vessel. There is no exception if everybody is swimming, or the captain is asleep. The ONLY place where "Underway, not making way" does anything special is they get special fog signals.

A working dive boat might reasonably make a case for "Restricted in Ability to Maneuver" if they were actively picking up divers.

The only time the USCG would have a legal case against you is if you were picking up divers at night, and got involved in an collision or close call and you tried to claim you were in the right because you were RAM. If you didn't have the lights, you wouldn't have a case. The fact that you can't find the right lights at your local West Marine will carry zero wight with a Board of Inquiry.

The short answer is do not claim special rights (NUC, RAM, etc) under the nav rules unless you really know what that means and can signal to other boats in the appropriate way that you deserve and are claiming such rights. Otherwise follow the collision avoidance rules--or accept the consequences if you do not.
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Old 20-01-2020, 11:07   #9
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

Rule 27 paragraph (e) addresses lights for small vessels engaged in dive operations - a vertical red/white/red configuration.
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Old 20-01-2020, 11:11   #10
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slug View Post
Status lights, hoisted on a halyard in the foretriangle ...not under command, restricted ability to maneuver , aground ....and not common on small craft

A mast head mounted strobe light is an effective way to signal “ attention “

I’ve used one for many years
These hanging lights are connected via a cable that just dangles there and swings around in the wind? It doesn't seem a robust solution.
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Old 20-01-2020, 11:19   #11
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Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
Who the heck swims from a drifting boat at night? They'll have "crazy eyes" for sure!


To get into semantics, a drifting vessel, iirc, is still considered to be underway therefore must display regular navigation lights. There's possibly an argument to claim to be "not under command" but either way, you shouldn't show additional lighting as this defeats the whole purpose of having specific navigation light configurations to indicate size and status of a vessel.


The COLRES indicate that additional lights are acceptable as long as they don’t obscure or cause confusion with regards to the regularly required navigation lights or impare the lookout.

“(b) The Rules concerning lights shall be complied with from sunset to sunrise, and during such times no other lights shall be exhibited, except such lights which cannot be mistaken for the lights specified in these Rules or do not impair their visibility or distinctive character, or interfere with the keeping of a proper look-out.”

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageNam...gamated#rule20
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Old 20-01-2020, 11:27   #12
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

While at anchor either an all-round masthead anchor light and/or a riding light between the mast and forestay and perhaps your deck flood light(s) - mounted on the forward face of the mast or on the cross trees - should be adequate and not conflict with nor be confused with navigation lights. If not attached to the bottom and ‘under-way’ or ‘not making way’ then deck floodlight(s) in addition to nav lights should suffice.
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Old 20-01-2020, 11:42   #13
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Library70 View Post
Rule 27 paragraph (e) addresses lights for small vessels engaged in dive operations - a vertical red/white/red configuration.
Good information. Thanks for posting this. Have not done any serious night diving that would require lights but good to know if I ever do.
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Old 20-01-2020, 12:10   #14
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slug View Post
Status lights, hoisted on a halyard in the foretriangle ...not under command, restricted ability to maneuver , aground ....and not common on small craft

A mast head mounted strobe light is an effective way to signal “ attention “

I’ve used one for many years
Unfortunately at least for the international crowd that's a violation of Rule 36:

Quote:
RULE 36
Signals to Attract Attention

...For the purpose of this Rule the use of high intensity intermittent or revolving lights, such as strobe lights, shall be avoided.
In the US that is a distress signal under Inland Rule 37:

Quote:
RULE 37
Distress Signals

When a vessel is in distress and requires assistance she shall use or exhibit the signals described in Annex IV to these Rules. The distress signals for inland waters are the same as those displayed on the facing page for international waters with the following additional signal described: A high intensity white light flashing at regular intervals from 50 to 70 times per minute.
Not saying it isn't effective, but as far as the rules are concerned...
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Old 20-01-2020, 12:18   #15
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Re: Additional Navigation Lights--Rule 27 etc.

Rule 27 is restricted in manoeuvrability - dredgers and the like, Would it be appropriate for a small (12m to under 20m) vessel with divers down?
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