Lights

chas

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After a night time close quarters situation with a coaster last summer, I am considering putting a flashing orange light (a la AA) at the top of my mast to be switched on if it is obvious that a merchantman has not seen me. The mast is some 43 feet above the waterline. I would be very interested in any opinions - especially from any MN people!
 
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Understand the sentiment, but believe someone has already beat you to it for an amber flashing light...... so that would confuse the poor Coaster ...... poor buggers are already pretty confused already without adding to it !!
 
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It will make you appear to be an air-cushion vessel operating in non-displacement mode. See Rule 23 (b) Your best bet is to have a white anti-collision flare handy and/ or fit a powerful Aldis type light to be shone into the sail - not at the oncoming ship!
 
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Deck lights

I've always found that switching the deck lights on in similar circumstances had the desired effect, that is of course there is anybody looking out through the bridge windows that the time ! The the military use a flare which pumps out aluminium foil to act as a Radar target, pity you can't get them from Wessex pain

:)-{)>
 

Mirelle

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Why do you want to pretend to be a hovercraft?

To be precise, a hovercraft whose masthead light(s) has/have gone out. R 23 (b)

A couple of white flares, kept in clips just inside the companion hatch so you can grab one from the cockpit, are much cheaper , and more effective. They really do work well.
 

chas

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At least a confused coater would know there was someting there! In my case. although I turned on my deck light, it seemed to have no effect. I do not mind what they think I am. Of course, there have been other times where we both knew the other ws there and took apppropriate action.
 

chas

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Re: Why do you want to pretend to be a hovercraft?

You are probably right. But a flare only last s for a definite time. I just have this feeling that a continuous indication of my presence (to cover the period when someone is being called to the bridge) may be more effective.
 
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Knowing something is there is one thing

Knowing what to do about it is quite another. In a busy shipping area, ships may have to take account of the movements of several other vessels. Lights which cause confusion as to what kind of a vessel you are could be dangerous - and not only to you. Unless your nav lights are under-powered, you should only need to draw attention to yourself - not advertise your presence continuously (and ambiguously) Flares and/or a powerful light you can use when necessary are a much better bet.
 
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Do not use a flashing orange light. He will think you are a fast moving ferry. Better to keep a good look out and take avoiding action yourself in good time even if you feel you have right of way. Better to be late than 'the late'.
 
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Having been on the bridge of ships on the 'other side of the coin' so to speak ..... a bloody good light shone momentarily at the ship and quickly back at your own boat usually does the trick
 
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What about VHF ?

Got to be worth a go. Surely we should play on the fact that most ships understand a little high pitched English .

I remember reading about some American girdlers firing their revolver into the side of a ship and roundabouts of the bridge and still went unseen. Should all commercial shipping have a 'dead man's handle' like the rest of commmercial transport ?
 
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Re: What about VHF ?

Who do you call if you don't know the other vessel's callsign or MMSI?
 

ccscott49

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Re: What about VHF ?

Quite correct, VHF is useless in these situations, I have heard numerous commercial skippers trying the old "ship on my stb. bow, bearing etc. etc...." to no avail! A light on the sail, or decklights, or a collision flare normally does the job, but if there is nobody on the bridge, it doesn't matter what you do. I like the deadmans handle idea, if somebody leaves the bridge for more than five minutes or something!
 

Stemar

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Re: deadman\'s handle

At least some merchantmen have an alarm that rings about every 15 minutes. if the person on watch doesn't turn it off within a reasonable time, it then rings in the Captain's cabin.

Didn't help om one ship though. The bloke on watch had a bottle of whisky to keep him company through the night. About halfway through the bottle, he said "bo***cks", disabled the alarm and went to finish the bottle in his cabin.

First the captain knew about it was when his ship sailed full ahead into Dungeness!

Oops!

As someone once said, Nothing can be made foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.
 
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Fit a masthead strobe

It's recommened by Richard Henderson in "Single Handed Sailing". Strobe flashers may not be strictly legal but better to be seen than not.

Mars-I lamp used to be made by Asimo Engineering - it's a combined masthead and strobe flasher.
 
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I find switching on a RTE (Radar target Enhancer) has dramtic cargo ship shifting abilities.
Also carry 1 million candle power torch for lighting up sails BUT If you have a close encounter, you are as at fault as he is, read the rules, they are not just there for fun.
There seems to be a dangerous belief among posters to this board that the COLREGS only apply to the other fellow, if you are the stand on vessel stand on, if not make a clear change of course. Remember he may be constrained by draft.
 
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