From a conversation with a harbor pilot:
level lights are MUCH easier to see in the harbor when looking down against the dark water
Masthead tricolor lights are MUCH easier to see offshore
level lights get lost
Best Solution for a boat under sail: Deck Level lights with a Red over Green all-round masthead combination indicating a boat under sail. You have high up lights over the waves, and low level light against the water
In the "old days" the red over green was reserved for large boats because if you used them you had a minimum of 4, and likely 5, light bulbs drawing power
. With modern LEDs the power
use is not a concern. We should see a lot more vessels lit this way.
Of course the average boat driver has no idea what lights to use anyway. The reigning strategy seems to be turn everything on and the other boat will figure it out.
It's amazing to me the number of catamarans delivered with ONLY a tricolor and a steaming light making it impossible to properly light the boat under power. Despite this, they still get a seaworthiness cert from the EU???? How's that work