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Thread: running lights

  1. #1
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    running lights

    hi all

    i'm taking the California safe boating course just to do it and get it over with. in the new course book they are describing running light configurations. I've included the description of the requirements pictures from the book. looking at the pictures they show the running lights pointing 90 degrees off the bow. in figure 6 they show an all around red over an all around green. am I living in the dark ages ? I have never seen these configurations before especially and all around red over all around green...am I living in the dark ages ?

    greg
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    GREG
    s/v dalliance
    74 35II # 325
    wilmington,ca

  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander tenders's Avatar
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    You've certainly seen one-piece red-and-green bow lights hung onto a bow pulpit before. That's what they're showing in Figure 1. Lots of small powerboats use that light too.

    As for Figure 6, the red over green even has a rhyme when you learn it in Navy officer-of-the-deck training: "red over green, sailing machine."

    Can't say I've seen recreational sailboats using that, but I think many sail training ships and windjammers use red over green.
    1969 Ericson 32 #112 • Atomic Four
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  3. #3
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Cool

    When OR entered the license program quite a few years ago, we both took the on-line course. While there were a few technical navigation questions, quite a bit of it was very obviously aimed at (mis-) users of personal watercraft.

    I guess that being in a little niche part of the boating world (sailing) will always be that way......
    1988 Olson 34 #8
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  4. #4
    Curator of Broken Parts toddster's Avatar
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    After a discussion elsewhere about some of these signals, I was pondering how one would even display some of the vertical light combinations, if one wanted to. Seems like it would take some ungainly light-tree device on top of the tree. LEDs ought to make it easier, but there doesn't seem to be much demand for such a thing anyway.
    s/v arcturus E29 #134

  5. #5
    Principal Partner markvone's Avatar
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    Masthead running lights are favored by offshore sailboats for the improved visibility from a distance in a sea state. I suspect reduced power draw from the single incandescent bulb was a factor back pre-LED as well. There is a school of thought that deck level running lights are better (more visible) when inshore because that is where you are looking for other boats when they are closer. The masthead running lights must be turned off and deck level turned on when under power so that the bow light used under power is above the running lights.

    A very nice LED masthead tricolor from ORCA Green Marine is about a $100 upgrade to their LED photo sensor anchor light. Solid state, waterproof sealed glass lens, submersible aluminum housing, lifetime warranty, 2.7 inches tall, 2.7 inches in diameter, 11 oz, 0.3 amp draw. I got one with the strobe (for another $50!) when my yard went crazy with my mast refurbishment although I don't regret it anymore. I'll never have to mess with it again. Here it is:

    https://orcagreenmarine.com/product/...odiode-strobe/

    Mark
    Mark & Ronnie Vinette
    E36RH #21 GLIDE
    Annapolis, MD

  6. #6
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    Here's a masthead tricolor in action.

    Quite noticeable and bright LEDs. Definitely better offshore because high above the wave troughs.

    However, I think drunks in a dinghy in a waterway environment might notice bow pulpit running lights first.

    If adding a masthead set, keep the standard setup. Switch between them as required.

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  7. #7
    Principal Partner u079721's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Williams View Post
    Here's a masthead tricolor in action.

    Quite noticeable and bright LEDs. Definitely better offshore because high above the wave troughs.

    However, I think drunks in a dinghy in a waterway environment might notice bow pulpit running lights first.

    If adding a masthead set, keep the standard setup. Switch between them as required.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The sailors at my yacht club in Michigan used to debate the use of a masthead tricolor. The consensus was that they are pretty much useless close to shore, as mast head lights get lost among all the antenna and water tower lights on shore, and as Christian mentioned, the fishing runabouts aren't looking up that high. And on the Great Lakes, you are just about always close to some shore. The same concern applies to anchor lights too for that matter. In most of the anchorages a mast head anchor light was pretty hard to see from a dinghy, and a light hung from the foretriangle was much more visible.
    Steve Christensen
    Twin Cities, MN
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    1989 Ericson 38-200
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  8. #8
    Principal Partner Tom Metzger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Williams View Post
    If adding a masthead set, keep the standard setup. Switch between them as required.
    It's not optional. The port and starboard lights are required when powering. The masthead tri-color is only for sailing.
    Tom Metzger
    E-34 Xanthus

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Metzger View Post
    It's not optional.
    True. I had a new LED tricolor light installed. When I had a leak, I took the anchor locker and pulpit apart. I decided to plug up the hole under the pulpit where the wired to the bow lights ran. Later I discovered the bow lights were still required when steaming. That meant another hole in the deck and a trip into the locker at the bow to reconnect the wires. At least I replaced the bulb in the bi-color lights at the bow with an LED.

    I did the coast guard course a couple of years ago and I recall no mention of "red over green" as an option.
    Mike Field
    "Jenny" E35-3 #251
    San Francisco

  10. #10
    Innocent Bystander tenders's Avatar
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    I can't speak to the Coast Guard course you took but all the navigation courses and training I took in college (NROTC), surface warfare officer school, and on board an actual ship all dealt directly with the official COLREGS book, supplemented by flashcards and quizzes and such, all referencing specific pages and rules from the book. Absolutely anything was constantly testable. I'd be shocked if the CG didn't use that same book.

    Sailboat light rules are pages 72-75. There is no doubt that "red over green" is a viable, testable sailboat light configuration.

    https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/navrules/navrules.pdf

    (I'd forgotten about the yellow flashing light on an air cushion vehicle! If you're in SoCal and see that off of Camp Pendleton, GET OUT OF THE WAY. Those things go 50+ knots!)
    1969 Ericson 32 #112 • Atomic Four
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  11. #11
    Principal Partner Alan Gomes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenders View Post
    (I'd forgotten about the yellow flashing light on an air cushion vehicle! If you're in SoCal and see that off of Camp Pendleton, GET OUT OF THE WAY. Those things go 50+ knots!)
    With those babies moving at 50+ knots I'm not sure there would be much my E26*could* do to get out of their way!
    Alan Gomes
    1984 E26-2 "Veritas"
    Yanmar 1GM
    San Pedro, CA

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