Strobes to avoid collision legal?

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SkiDeep2001
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Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by SkiDeep2001 » Tue May 12, 2009 1:21 am

If you fear being run over by a freighter or hit by a ski boat at night is it legal to use high intensity strobes to supplement your topside lights? I do have the radar reflector. Just thought it would be nice to have a bright strobe flashing for those who are not paying attention. :x We have had numerous collisions with injuries and deaths in Washington state recently. :cry: I guess I could contact our local Coast Guard to see what they say.
Last edited by SkiDeep2001 on Tue May 12, 2009 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by The Mutt » Tue May 12, 2009 1:44 am

A freighter is more than likley to have the equipment to see a radar reflector than a strobe, I believe they have alarm warnings set for various problems.

Image

If a ski boat is getting close enough to hit you there is a good chance that the observer/driver isn't doing their job properly, with luck they will hit the shore line first.

Glenn

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by Kelly Hanson East » Tue May 12, 2009 7:42 am

I dont believe strobes are in Colregs regarding standard NAV lights. There is a clause in COLREGS about showing only the lights listed and none others, so I would guess that would make them "not legal" as opposed to illegal

....and if I were in an area concerned about getting boat chummed, I would light up a strobe if I had one too!!!

Rule 1 of the road - dont get hit by a freighter.

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by Hamin' X » Tue May 12, 2009 8:39 am

See the COLREGS (Rules 20, 21, & 36)
http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow ... lregs.html

- Rule 36
Signals to Attract Attention

If necessary to attract the attention of another vessel, any vessel may make light or sound signals that cannot be mistaken for any signal authorized elsewhere in these Rules, or may direct the beam of her searchlight in the direction of the danger, in such a way as not to embarrass any vessel. Any light to attract the attention of another vessel shall be such that it cannot be mistaken for any aid to navigation. For the purpose of this Rule the use of high intensity intermittent or revolving lights, such as strobe lights, shall be avoided.

~Rich

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by Love MACs » Tue May 12, 2009 10:08 am

Sounds like it could be bad news,or at lest funny news :| , to fire those strobes up at nigh and have five or six other vessels circling and hailing your boat to determine what type of assistance you need :?: :? :) :D



Allan

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by 40Toes » Tue May 12, 2009 10:25 am

Colregs are specific for good reason. Based on the lights displayed, you can determine many things like size, type of vessel, type of work it is engaged in, etc. You can also quickly determine aspect and movement. Start throwing different lights in there and it gets very confusing very quickly which is all bad with regard to collison avoidance. From my perspective all bets are off when someone is about to collide with me - sound, lights and anything I can throw at them. :evil:

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by RussMT » Tue May 12, 2009 11:11 am

The radar reflector would make you larger on a ship's screen, but he's probably not going around you if you get in his way. He may, however, blow a horn to tell you to move.

As for other idiots running into you, how about spreader lights to light up your deck. I've always noticed sailboats with spreaders lit.
It's a valid concern, because as an owner of a blue hulled boat, I'm worried that my hull might look invisible to an idiot on a Seadoo at 50MPH. A few years ago I heard of a kid on a Seadoo that plowed through the side of an anchored sailboat. Maybe that's a reason to buy the slower white hull.

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by kmclemore » Tue May 12, 2009 11:48 am

RussMT wrote:Maybe that's a reason to buy the slower white hull.
Gee. I would have thought that those blindingly-fast blue hulled boats would simply outrun virtually anything that might strike them.

Silly me.

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by Night Sailor » Tue May 12, 2009 12:44 pm

Relplies from local CG folk will vary. It seems some are concerned about your safety most, others more concerned with the public in general.

One old fisherman told me he slept better at sea with his anchor light a lantern tied to a length of rope so that it hung from a cargo boom and swung back and forth in the breeze or swell. It wouldn't be confused with shore or platform lights because it moved. That would seem to be legal, too.

If anyone has seen a modern cruise ship underway at night, you can attest that it looks like a small city coming at you at 25 knots. LIghts of many colors everywhere lighting up the sky before it comes over the horizon. So may it's just about impossible at any distance to find it's standard navigation lights. COLREGS certainly aren't considered there....

To me, the intent of the regs is that you don't have a strobe or revolving lights on all the time, but anything at all to attract the attention of a vessel sailing into danger or a collision with you is okay.... because it's temporary and in your control with active, real time participation by you.

You have to do the best you can for yourself and other traffic. Near misses are scary and chilling and sometimes are completely out of your control, and make you feel helpless. Even when you use all your options.
I"ve had three. One, 12 years ago. Sailing at night in our CM30 in a nice breeze, two guests aboard and below helping themselves to a late night buffet. Light jazz softly on the stereo. We sail behind a small headland on which two large condos are built close to the water. The breeze suddenly dies completely. Now above the soft music my wife hears a buzzing sound and asks me what it is. I recognize a very highly revved motor sound but can't find the source in the dark. We turn on all interior lights and the spreader lights. Still no source but it seems to be getting closer. At the helm I'm getting nervous because we have no way on and no breeze. Finally, at the same time we spot red and green bow lights coming straight toward our port side. I give my wife our search light to wave toward the oncoming boat, while I start the engine and slowly turn toward it, thinking better a glancing blow that directly amidships. Now we can see it's at extremely high speed bow up in the air, big rooster tail behind it. Collision is near. I yell for the guests to hold on and starting blowing our air horn. Finally, less than 100 yards away, the boat turns slightly and goes by us at what we estimate, based on our sportscar TSD rally experience, as 90 to 100 mph. One of the famous Lake Lewisville Killer boats. We are breathless and weak. The wake hits us and the guests say thanks for the warning as they come up on deck oblivious to the danger they were in.
Two years ago, under power at at about 10 knots on the X we came upon a 50' houseboat on the same lake with no lights on, anchored in the approach to a channel, while we headed for a marina. Even though the admiral and I were both looking ahead for traffic, it blended in with a clump of shoreside cedars and it was almost invisible until we barely had time to clear it's stern in a drastic change of course.
A year ago, I'm out making solo speed runs with different props on the X. Gray day, gray water, not much wind to speak of, but some heavy wakes from occasional big boat traffic. For thirty minutes I do the same course between two points to reduce any effect of wind or current on my tables. Each run with each prop is a different rpm setting. Finally I'm down to the last run of the day. WOT because I've timed it between wakes for smooth water and no traffic. Half mile into the one mile run, suddenly directly in front of me, what appears to be a man pops up! I lay the helm hard left immediately and hope hothing breaks. then yank the throttle down. As I go by I see it's a gray bearded guy in a gray kayak, in a gray rain suit with a gray hat on. I don't know where he came from, but I missed him by a good 100' , and at 18 knots, he was very lucky I saw him soon enough. Every sail is an adventure, but there are some I never want to have again.

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by SkiDeep2001 » Tue May 12, 2009 3:49 pm

Since I didn't go to law school and receive training in UNDERSTANDING LAWYER SPEAK GOBBLEDYGOOK, I think :?: :? I may understand from this application section, definitions Rule 21(f) that I can use a strobe :?: If there are any speakers of the language and you comprehend said language, am I right in my assumption and I should go out and buy a strobe and hope a plane doesn't try and land on my deck :?: :wink: Please enlighten me :P

Application

(a)Rules in this part shall be complied with in all weathers.

(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.

(c) The lights prescribed by these rules shall, if carried, also be exhibited from sunrise to sunset in restricted visibility and may be exhibited in all other circumstances when it is deemed necessary.

(d) The Rules concerning shapes shall be complied with by day.

(e) The lights and shapes specified in these Rules shall comply with the provisions of Annex I to these Regulations.

Rule 21

Definitions

(a)"Masthead light" means a white light placed over the fore and aft centerline of the vessel showing an unbroken light over an arc of horizon of 225 degrees and so fixed as to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on either side of the vessel.

(b) "Sidelights" means a green light on the starboard side and a red light on the port side each showing an unbroken light over an arc of horizon of 112.5 degrees and so fixed as to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on the respective side. In a vessel of less than 20 meters in length the sidelights may be combined in one lantern carried on the fore and aft centerline of the vessel.

(c) "Sternlight", means a white light placed as nearly as practicable at the stern showing an unbroken light over an arc of horizon of 135 degrees and so fixed as to show the light 67.5 degrees from right aft on each side of the vessel.

(d) "Towing light" means a yellow light having the same characteristics as the "sternlight" defined in paragraph (c) of this Rule.

(e) "All round light" means a light showing an unbroken light over an arc of horizon of 360 degrees.

(f) "Flashing light" means a light flashing at regular intervals at a frequency of 120 flashes or more per minute.

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by bastonjock » Tue May 12, 2009 5:09 pm

i think that the only boats that are allowed strobes are hovercraft and siene fishing trawlers. The RYA did a test on radar reflectors,the glass tube types are not very good,the tetrahedron types as shown in the earlier post are okay,the best ones are the "sea me type".

The best place to anchor your mac is in shallow water,the shallower the better and dont forget an anchor light.

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by Nautek » Tue May 12, 2009 5:33 pm

Having been the master of large commercial vessels I would find it very confusing entering a traffic area at night and find a light that was unconventional.
I think you would stand a bigger chance of getting run over.
Just have a good hand held search light on board that can be deployed in an emergency and it can be used for coming in to an anchorage or jetty also.

Allan

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by 40Toes » Tue May 12, 2009 6:58 pm

Since I didn't go to law school and receive training in UNDERSTANDING LAWYER SPEAK GOBBLEDYGOOK, I think I may understand from this application section, definitions Rule 21(f) that I can use a strobe
Ski,
What you quoted was the definition of a "Flashing Light" not its application. 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 as cannot be mistakan for the lights specified in Colregs....

Now to figure out what lights you are required to show go to rule 23 - Power-Driven vessel underway. You are only a power-driven vessel if you are being propelled by machinery. So you show a Masthead light forward, sidelights and a sternlight.

For instance an air cushion vessel when operating in non-displacement mode shall also show an all-round flashing yellow light - now if you heavily modified your Mac to work like a hovercraft turn on the strobe and let er' rip.

Now if you are Sailing and are underway you are not a powerdriven vessel as long as that big engine on the stern is not running - if it is running and your sails are up you are still a power driven vessel. The lights you show sailing are in rule 25 - Sidelights and a sternlight. Because you are less then 20metres you can actually have a combined light on your masthead instead. You can also display two all-round lights, the upper being Green and the lower being Red to indicate you are a sailing vessel.

When you are at anchor you are to show an all-round white light where it can best be seen and you may also use other lights to illuminate your decks.

There are also local rules and various modifications to the rules depending on where you are in the world. For instance in a Canadian Modification in Canadian Waters or fishing zones a high intensity white light flashing at regular intervals of 50 to 70 times per minute is a Distress signal. A North Cardinal Buoy may also use a quick flashing white light flashing at regular intervals of 60 times per minute.

So to answer your question (and I ain't no Lawyer) - No Colregs do not allow you to use a strobe light to stop crazy people from running into to you. Now I did not see anything in Colregs that prevents the use of meduim to long range weapons to deter the crazy boaters and I imagine if the circumstances of the case admit and you use them in a positive manner and do it in ample time with due regard to the observance of good seamanship - you should be out of jail before the kids retire. :)

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Re: Strobes to avoid collision legal?

Post by SkiDeep2001 » Tue May 12, 2009 7:42 pm

:o Thanks for the clarification 40toes. May you never have to change name to 39 toes :wink: I guess I won't be installing girl dancing pole with colored spot lights, disco balls, black light with psychedelic semaphore flags, or just a huge a** bonfire on deck either :P I remember an earlier post about somebody wanting to install a deck gun :o but I doubt if even that would keep the gray matter lacking elements in the boating world away. I will exchange incandescents with some bright leds and add an extra mastlight and spreader lights. And I better remember to bring a sleeping mask or some dark shades 8) And no I'm not paranoid :P just want to have some time to enjoy my new :macx: before murphy's law or some odd occurrence befalls me LOL :D

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