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Old 09-01-2018, 10:11 PM   #1
ursa minor
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Default Navigation Lights!

In the interest of adding to several recent threads on boating safety, I thought I'd share this experience from a few minutes ago. We were returning from dinner with friends on a nearby island on this beautiful clear night heading north in the area of Chases Point, Little Bear and Whortelberry Islands. Just us from what I could see, except for a single green light.

I kept watching the green and other lights on shore to try and get an idea on range as I couldn't see a white "all around" light. I'm figuring it's somewhere the other side of the Six Pack closer to the Long Island bridge but instead it's actually a 40 foot or so cruiser about 300 feet in front of us just sitting in place. I altered course to pass behind and at this point I can see not only a white light on the transom but a white light above the hard top over the helm.

No harm, no foul as we never got any closer than 250-300 feet or so but I'm really paying attention and still (almost) missed a 40 foot boat. Yikes!

We stopped and looked back, now all we can see is a red light, no white at all. We ended up motoring back at headway speed and circling behind them and hailing them. I apologized for being a little close and told them I hadn't seen their all around light. They called back, looked up and realized their mast had slipped somehow so that the light was hidden behind something else on the hard top. Again no harm, no foul, the eyeballs still work but wow, I almost ran over a 40 foot boat on a perfect night in an area I know extremely well. (They did fix the light right away.)

The point to this PSA is please, please, please, if you're going to be running at night be sure that ALL your running lights are working and visible. It's really important. None of us wants to be a statistic and end up on the evening news...
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Old 09-01-2018, 10:31 PM   #2
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Night time is a trip out there if something you “see” doesn’t compute!
Returning to Weirs channel after dark with the Weirs lights blaring it’s very easy to miss a boat that may be heading your way! All of a sudden, there it was.
Gotta be vigilant! Good job doing what you did!
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:14 AM   #3
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Default make you flip the switch in the right direction

Last night was a wonderful boating night, and we were at a friend's place watching the traffic passing by on Alton Bay.

At one point, there were 3-4 boats heading in both directions, with their red or green bow lights and all around white lights providing a slow motion light show. Suddenly, a solitary white all around light appeared moving at a much higher rate of speed than the others. No bow lights, at least no starboard light.

The consensus was that that either the boat had been at anchor with the nav switch in the anchor position, or the switch had been put in the anchor position in the first place. Of course, there is the possibility of a burned out bulb.

Bottom line, on a moon-less dark night, this boat, moving along along on plane, with only the white all around light showing, could make it difficult to determine its direction. Always check the switch to ensure it is in the proper position, and the bulb(s) working.

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Old 09-02-2018, 09:34 AM   #4
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There was also a Heyday tow boat on Alton bay driving around with it's, incredibly bright, docking lights and blue lights under motor on. The docking lights were dominant and the blues were at the water line so every rise or dip maid it a flashing blue. It's possible he didn't know either were on but I'd say unlikely.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:19 AM   #5
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Over July 4th, I was very confused by a large Formula bowrider. They have their nav lights on the side of their radar arch and the all around light on top of the arch forward of the nav lights. This makes it very hard to gauge the distance of the boat and cause some brain confusion about boat direction. I looked it up and it's legal for a boat over 28 feet to have their nav lights on the side of the cabin rather than on the bow. I'm sure there is a good reason for this that I don't get.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:50 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, many factory set ups aren't as effective as they could be. Most operators only go out in the day light and don't realize how inadequately equipped they are for their occasional evening sorties.
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:46 AM   #7
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Why is it hard to discern boat direction? If you see white and green it is moving right to left. White & red - left to right. White, green & red it’s coming at you. White, it’s stationary or going away from you.


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Old 09-02-2018, 12:33 PM   #8
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Why is it hard to discern boat direction? If you see white and green it is moving right to left. White & red - left to right. White, green & red it’s coming at you. White, it’s stationary or going away from you.


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Exactly. I just purchased a Formula 37PC and the green and red lights are mounted on the arch. I would think Formula knows what they are doing.

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Old 09-02-2018, 12:45 PM   #9
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My beef is why the hell do they need to make the port/starboard lights so damned weak?
Something at least twice as bright would be better. Each morning I go out at dark to go fishing you can discern the white light from quite a distance but the red and green not so much.
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Old 09-02-2018, 03:33 PM   #10
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Red face

Yes, I know the colors work out, but went 99.something% of boats have nav forward of white, it confuses me when it's the other way around. Didn't help that this guy had headlights and underwater blues on at the same time too.
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Old 09-02-2018, 05:04 PM   #11
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Had a guy pass by with colors along his pontoons (cycled thru 5 or 6 colors). Can see how this might be an issue.



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Old 09-02-2018, 06:27 PM   #12
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Had a guy pass by with colors along his pontoons (cycled thru 5 or 6 colors). Can see how this might be an issue.



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Where the hell is the marine patrol? Oh ya that’s right...too busy trying to make people “get along”
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:03 PM   #13
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IMHO, I have always thought that boating at night kind of sucks, no fun to me at all. UNLESS of course, you are on someone else's boat!!

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Old 09-02-2018, 09:52 PM   #14
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Saturday night we were on the lobsta cruise on the Mount Washington.

It was pretty dark on the return leg.

At one point a boat passed fairly close at a pretty good clip in violation of the 150' rule.

Once abeam the boat hit their blue MP lights for a short burst.

The Mount reciprocated with a brief flash of their search light.
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Cal Coon View Post
IMHO, I have always thought that boating at night kind of sucks, no fun to me at all. UNLESS of course, you are on someone else's boat!!
Water is calm, chowderheads have gone home for the most part. I love it. Just need good electronics, and turn down all the nonessential lighting and stand up forward of the dash lights and let your eyes adjust.

Made a nice long drive from Moultenboro to Paugus about 10-11pm Saturday night with no moon and it was gorgeous.
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:44 PM   #16
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IMHO, I have always thought that boating at night kind of sucks, no fun to me at all. UNLESS of course, you are on someone else's boat!!
I LOVE operating my boat at night. On moonless night it feels like I'm crusing through in space and moonlit nights are spectacular. I put a switch in my boat that kills the gauge lights. That really helps on moonless nights.
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:46 PM   #17
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I put a switch in my boat that kills the gauge lights. That really helps on moonless nights.
Ditto -- BEST thing I ever did !
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Old 09-04-2018, 04:29 PM   #18
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I LOVE operating my boat at night. On moonless night it feels like I'm crusing through in space and moonlit nights are spectacular. I put a switch in my boat that kills the gauge lights. That really helps on moonless nights.
I generally love it too, I'd better because "islander" so really not an option for us.

There's only been a few times over the years when I've been concerned. Obviously this most recent incident was one. We were able to see an unlit pontoon boat (wake anyway) in the moonlight one night about 4 years ago ( I "helped" him out by lighting him up with my spotlight) and once a headway speed trip to the island because of rain / fog on the water late in the season. I suppose that's a pretty good record given we've been doing it for quite a while now.

I agree 100% on doing what's needed to make the most of your night vision, the boat we commute with is well suited to night driving. I have a roll up section of the canopy over the drivers area so I can stand up and see over rather than through the windshield.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:15 PM   #19
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I LOVE operating my boat at night. On moonless night it feels like I'm crusing through in space and moonlit nights are spectacular. I put a switch in my boat that kills the gauge lights. That really helps on moonless nights.
To each his own... There's a reason why the lake is "dead" at night, because most people don't enjoy boating at night, otherwise it would be the zoo it is during the day. I don't mind the "zoo" during the day. As a matter of fact, it is one of the things I love about Winni. It is very entertaining to me for many reasons. I love people watching, (mostly bikini's!!) and I love looking at other boats as well. I will speed up on the highway just to catch up to a boat on a trailer, just to "check it out"!! I love watching people doing stupid things too, especially at the boat ramp! Another thing I'm not crazy about boating at night is the condensation on the vinyl, I don't enjoy the feeling of wearing a wet diaper... You can have the nights!! Also, when you mentioned putting a switch on the dash to kill the lights to help you see better, it reminded me of a little tip I learned years ago when backing up a vehicle at night, turn your headlights off and it makes a world of difference to see behind you!! Don't know if they teach that today in driving school (doubt it), but I know they weren't in my day. Amazes me how many people never heard of this.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:51 PM   #20
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To each his own... There's a reason why the lake is "dead" at night, because most people don't enjoy boating at night, otherwise it would be the zoo it is during the day. I don't mind the "zoo" during the day. As a matter of fact, it is one of the things I love about Winni. It is very entertaining to me for many reasons. I love people watching, (mostly bikini's!!) and I love looking at other boats as well. I will speed up on the highway just to catch up to a boat on a trailer, just to "check it out"!! I love watching people doing stupid things too, especially at the boat ramp! Another thing I'm not crazy about boating at night is the condensation on the vinyl, I don't enjoy the feeling of wearing a wet diaper... You can have the nights!! Also, when you mentioned putting a switch on the dash to kill the lights to help you see better, it reminded me of a little tip I learned years ago when backing up a vehicle at night, turn your headlights off and it makes a world of difference to see behind you!! Don't know if they teach that today in driving school (doubt it), but I know they weren't in my day.
Having the lake/ocean/river/canal to myself at night is a major plus for me. I enjoy looking at crowds of boats and mayhem too, but I really enjoy spending time on the boat with just my wife and no one else around for miles.
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Old 09-07-2018, 06:24 AM   #21
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Red face There IS a Boat in this Photograph...

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I generally love it too, I'd better because "islander" so really not an option for us. There's only been a few times over the years when I've been concerned. Obviously this most recent incident was one. We were able to see an unlit pontoon boat (wake anyway) in the moonlight one night about 4 years ago ( I "helped" him out by lighting him up with my spotlight)
and once a headway speed trip to the island because of rain / fog on the water late in the season
. I suppose that's a pretty good record given we've been doing it for quite a while now. I agree 100% on doing what's needed to make the most of your night vision, the boat we commute with is well suited to night driving. I have a roll up section of the canopy over the drivers area so I can stand up and see over rather than through the windshield.
Why headway speed? In rain/fog, you can waterski just fine!

There IS a boat (and skier) in this photograph...
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:03 AM   #22
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Why headway speed? In rain/fog, you can waterski just fine!

There IS a boat (and skier) in this photograph...

So if you can see them from the distance that you took this photo from, I am willing to bet that other boats on the lake would be able to see them just fine.
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:32 AM   #23
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If that pic was taken by Umbrella Point facing Rattlesnake... the distance between the 2 points is a little over a mile... it increases from there.

So you took a pic of a boat that is clearly over 1/2 mile away and claim there is a visibility problem?

Really?


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Old 09-07-2018, 11:39 PM   #24
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Ummm, APS... my headway speed trip was at NIGHT. As in in the DARK in October with very few lights on the shore, air temp in the 50's with light rain and fog on the water. Not fun. Not quite the same as someone water skiing on a rainy day. I can see the boat in the picture you posted so not sure what your point is?

Oh, and all my navigation lights were on...which was the point of the original post.
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Old 09-08-2018, 07:11 AM   #25
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Arrow ⅖-Mile and Closing...

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Ummm, APS...my headway speed trip was at NIGHT. As in in the DARK in October with very few lights on the shore, air temp in the 50's with light rain and fog on the water. Not fun. Not quite the same as someone water skiing on a rainy day.
I can see the boat in the picture you posted so not sure what your point is?

Oh, and all my navigation lights were on...which was the point of the original post.
Not intended as a criticism: I've navigated at top speed on a moonless night—turning off my navigation lights. (With justification).

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If that pic was taken by Umbrella Point facing Rattlesnake...the distance between the 2 points is a little over a mile...it increases from there.
So you took a pic of a boat that is clearly over 1/2 mile away and claim there is a visibility problem Really? Woodsy
Question: Seeing that they're "fog-skiing" in the middle of the day, would you have put your navigation lights on in that situation?

The opposite shore is ½-mile distant. The boat is about -mile distant—and taking a different course every minute.

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So if you can see them from the distance that you took this photo from, I am willing to bet that other boats on the lake would be able to see them just fine.
Below is the cropped version of the original photo, but the unavoidable cropping of that original still magnifies the image.

I can make a case that wearing polarized sunglasses in fog would've been advisable. Wanna see the same boat through a polarizing filter?

I am reading the original title (now) that says the "skier" is really a "wakeboarder".

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Old 09-08-2018, 07:41 AM   #26
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What was the “justification” for running at top speed with your nav lights out? Nav lights are for “the other guy” not you.


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Old 09-12-2018, 03:09 AM   #27
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Running without gauge lights is not a good option in my part of the lake where there are many underwater hazards to avoid. I see occasional boaters at night but have not been brave enough to try it. Early morning is a good time to go out if you want a quiet lake and need to use your gps, sonar and depth monitor without impairing your vision.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:42 AM   #28
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Cool Stealth, Maybe?

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What was the “justification” for running at top speed with your nav lights out? Nav lights are for “the other guy” not you.
I'd left (and checked) a link for anyone to follow.

The bigger picture is yet another link here.

But I'd also turn off my navigation lights to assure that the red or green lights I see outlining another powerboat's spray are from a boat with a defective white light—aft. There may be other good reasons, but my previous example was essential.
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