Boating in the inky night darkness, good times.

Discussion in 'MISSOURI RIVERS TALK' started by cpalombo, May 19, 2007.

  1. cpalombo

    cpalombo New Member

    Messages:
    318
    State:
    Nashville TN
    The trip home….

    So after the fishing trip last night, we had to come home. As usual, I learned something new about myself. Driving the Miss River at night takes a heck of a lot more nerve then I was born with. Running a boat in a river at night is like covering up your eyes, firing up your light saber, and driving by the “force”. I now know what it must feel like to captain a submarine.

    If you have not tried night boating on a river at night yet, you should. I encourage all persons to try this madness. Let me help create the picture… The cold lonely darkness of the river below you, the unwelcoming and lightless sky above, and the improbable yet utterly horrifying potential that you will smash your boat into a telephone pole-sized floater waiting for you some place up the river. Hiding quietly in the blackness… a gift from Satan… for you.

    Funny thing about truck sized wood floaters at night, they are completely soundless and totally invisible…. that is, right up until the moment that your bow alerts you to their presence. And just when your thoughts reassure you about the unlikelyness that you will hit a big log, you can then hear/feel a little 1 footer bounce off the hull. And, this majic moment is at night in the dark!

    I would say that nighttime river boating feels something like climbing into a newly found bear den “to see if it is empty.” I had many small heart attacks as I traversed the 6 miles back to the launch, and almost vomited at least once when I swerved to miss what I thought was a dark colored floating dead cow. (Turned out that the cow was just in my imagination… Cue the watery mouth…. and... blaaaach!)

    The drive home made me realize that I would rather die of a heart attack on the toilet some morning (with dignity) than drown in the darkness while unconscious after ramming a log with my boat.

    CP
     
  2. dougc

    dougc Active Member

    Messages:
    1,711
    State:
    Independen
    Just be careful and you'll get used to it!
     

  3. brad kilpatrick

    brad kilpatrick New Member

    Messages:
    2,666
    State:
    Kansas City
    C'mon Dude its not all that bad!!!!! Let your eyes adjust to the darkness and you'll be amazed what you can see! If you continualy scan the waters surface well ahead of the boat You notice most obsticals well before Your in danger of hitting them!

    Navigating a river at night requires You hike up Your skirt, slow down a bit, stay alert, and use Your common sense. Also learning the river during the day helps too. GPS is not a bad option if you can afford it!
     
  4. Kutter

    Kutter New Member

    Messages:
    5,379
    State:
    Arnold, MO
    Okay, Chris. Now you can progress to the next level, trying it at night alone! :eek:oooh:
    There are many more levels still to come for you, but your off to a good start, you survived so far.

    Always remember, they are out there and they are waiting for you. Their just waiting for the right time, like when you least expect it.:0a4:

    If your anything like your brother, Sal, you know it's either your time, or it's not. Why sweat it.
     
  5. cpalombo

    cpalombo New Member

    Messages:
    318
    State:
    Nashville TN
    Kutter and Brad,

    Thanks for the encouragement and for reaffirming my "girly girl" feelings about my lack of night-fishing nerve. I will say that I have earned my night-time boat riding yellow belt thus far. Perhaps I can earn mauve or taupe by later July. Then it is on to the pastels!

    Sal is far better at this stuff than I am. That is for sure.

    "Practice makes perfect"... unless you hit a log of course. Then, the quip is more like "log which makes disability claim".

    :)


    CP
     
  6. cpalombo

    cpalombo New Member

    Messages:
    318
    State:
    Nashville TN
    Fish by my self (er, um… gulp). I might take up golf, cricket, or ping pong before I want to ride into the night darkness by my lonesome. I think that would take a pretty big pair of brass castanets.

    CP
     
  7. duckalot

    duckalot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,971
    State:
    Missouri
    Heres an Ideal, When i fish all night on a part of the river that i am unfamiliar with always move down stream. You can drift or go at idle speed and cover a lot of water after dark. Then come daylight you can go upstream under power when you can see. Give it a try its a safe and stealthy way to fish. Imo.
     
  8. DWB

    DWB Member

    Messages:
    984
    State:
    Missouri
    Chris did a wonderful job. I was his spot light man for the night and never felt afraid...a little tight in the O-ring department from time to time but I think that is healthy and if night time on the river does not have that affect on you from time to time you should either get checked out lay off the beer until you get home.

    What he is not telling everyone about is the smoke show we were treated to. As we neared the ramp we were in calm (warm) waters. The air temperature had dropped to about 45 or so and there was not a breath of wind...you all know where this is going. Fog, or lake steam as you have it started to appear. It wasn't to awful bad abut there we kept coming upon these eerie vertical tubes of fog. They looked like mini twisters rising to the sky. I think Chris dubbed them "The souls of dead river sailors returning to heaven". If that ain't enough to get you kabookied out on a moonless night I don't know what is.
     
  9. Grumper

    Grumper New Member

    Messages:
    2,277
    State:
    Crystal City MO
    Chris, I went out and bought a couple of tractor lights from my local hardware store, and mounted them to the front of my boat. The lights housings are made of rubber and you can run into them or even step on em and you won't hurt them. It's pretty much like driving with headlights. You can see a good 30-40 yds ahead of you at full speed with no problem. I carry a spotlight for backup. With these lights on you can see buoys with reflectors a good ways away also. I remember one night last year an asian jumped into my buddies boat, got underneath the console and ripped a bunch of wires out. We fished until about midnight or so, just in time to be caught in a hailstorm. There ain't too many things for scary that running 15 miles down river in hail and pouring rain without navigation lights or a bilge pump. All we had was a maglite to try to find the buoys with. Without that, you couldn't see your hand in fron of your face.:tounge_out: So now I am prepared. In fact, I'm leaving here in a few for a night on the river. I better go check my lights to see it they still work!:wink:
     
  10. cpalombo

    cpalombo New Member

    Messages:
    318
    State:
    Nashville TN
    That is a great idea. I am buying a blacklight for the interior and some stuff to make a headlight setup this week (and a bigger net)!

    Tight Lines!

    CP
     
  11. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Headlights are for cars that ride on streets and highways with dividing lines.
    I'm not aware of any place its legal to use "headlights" on a boat as most enforcement agencies go with the USCG rules and regs.
    If you think logs are dangerous wait until you have a close call or a collision with another boat because nobody could see your nav lights or you couldnt see theirs

    The problem is that headlights obscure your navigation lights which is against USCG regs. If all people see is white light that is indicating to them that you are at anchor but instead you are running 20MPH and nobody can tell at what speed or direction.
    It's not play time out there on the water at night. Display the proper lights please. It might not just be me on the other boat. I have an 8 year old daughter that loves to fish.
     
  12. cpalombo

    cpalombo New Member

    Messages:
    318
    State:
    Nashville TN
    Oh, thanks for the input.

    Any ideas on how to get around this? Are the other boats using headlights (e.g tug boats) doing something that I may not??

    Thanks in advance,

    CP
     
  13. cpalombo

    cpalombo New Member

    Messages:
    318
    State:
    Nashville TN
    Mark, what about a perm. mounted spotlight? I do have one of those. Is it legal for me to be under way with a spotlight running?

    Thanks in advance,

    CP
     
  14. Grumper

    Grumper New Member

    Messages:
    2,277
    State:
    Crystal City MO
    Mark J. Brings up a good point about the safety of the lights that I never thought of. Up close it isn't too bad because my lights are mounted flush, with the front decl. (2 lights, 1 on each side of the deck,) My navigation lights still clear the running lights by probably 8 inches or so, and they can be seen no problem. I don't know about being far away though, I will have to have someone get away from me and tell me if the nav lights are visible just to be on the safe side. I do know looking at the boat at night from the sides, the running lights aren't hardly visible, and you can still see my navigation lights no problem. I do know they make a remote control spotlight that fits into your front light jack and has the nav. lights built into that, and they are legal, I suppose, because we have them on our local fire depatment boat, and them lights are 10 times brighter that the 12V utility lights that I am using. I do however, plan on getting a water patrol inspection this week, and I will find out whether they are legal or not. If all else fails and they are illegal, I will only use them to load the boat on the trailer at night.
     
  15. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Keep in mind, that just because its manufactured and sold in every boating catalogue and box store in the country doesnt make it legal. There isnt a law to make manufacturers manufacture within a law or laws. They could make pink and yellow nav lights if they wanted to.
    There are many navigation lights that are illegal based on the distance they can be seen, by the color they are seen at the distance, and by radius of output.
    In court, an argument of "I bought it at Boaters World" isnt going to win the case.
    Many new boats come from the dealer with nav lights installed outside of regulations. Its not his problem, its your problem as the operator and you'll get the ticket and fines. Sue the dealer? Forget it. You are supposed to know the regulations BEFORE going on the water and making sure your equipment meets those regulations.
    Anchor light 2 mile visibility
    Directional lights 1 mile visibility.
    Spotlights are OK when used intermittedly.

    Below are two links that are practical and informational . The first has a movie at the bottom that shows the importance of seeing nav lights and what you are seeing when you see it.
    The second one I found is pretty much what I just posted.

    http://www.boatingbasicsonline.com/course/boating/4_2_b.php

    http://www.uscgboating.org/waypoints/archived/aug05/article10_navlights.htm

    You'll find that using headlights on your boat hurts more then helps. The operator cant see past his beam's reach. This is what I consider driving blind because I'm out there somewhere out of his beam and once I get into his beams its way too late. That leaves me out there running from a boat like a kid from a bee and the boat cant see me.
    If you learn to preserve and use your natural night vision you be just fine running at night with a spotlight to look for landmarks.
    I've never owned anything more then a 5 cell mag light myself and its enough.
     
  16. MississippiJugHead

    MississippiJugHead New Member

    Messages:
    147
    State:
    Missouri
    When I read the reply about the "headlights" I was immediately reminded of earlier posts by Mark J on the subject so I am glad he was able to contribute. They seem like a good idea but they really are not if they confuse other boaters.
    As for being out on the river at night alone, I have done it and I am not sure if its so much a sign of braveness as it is foolishness. No offense to anyone who goes out alone but I really think its best to have a partner in case anything goes wrong.
     
  17. Grumper

    Grumper New Member

    Messages:
    2,277
    State:
    Crystal City MO
    I originally posted on this subject before I went out last night, and the lights do work good intermittedly for locating buoys, or running the river at normal pool, where there is no debris. I drove about 15 miles up a trash filled river in the dark last night, and it does seem that once your eyes adjust, you can see debris in the water a whole lot beter and a lot farther away than when using my lights. Heck, last night I couldn't used them, after hitting a log or something,:crazy: it jarred my battery connection and my battery wouldn't take a charge. Then, from running two lights, navigation lights, and my locater, the battery went dead. Then I had to kill everything but my navigation lights. I just used my spotlight and my surefire light mainly. Me and a buddy run bank poles and limb lines alot, and this is actually where we use them the most, and it seems they are most helpful ,when running our lines or loading the boat on the trailer. Mark J. Thanks for the input. I wouldn't want to give anybody any advice that could be potentially dangerous.
     
  18. Cuda-Cada

    Cuda-Cada Member

    Messages:
    753
    State:
    Jacksonville, Fl.
    We just had two anglers killed a week ago in south Georgia when their boats came together while running the river at night. Not sure if they had any lights on or just using spotlights. Fishing at night most of the time, I have seen it all from the proper to downright stupid and dangerous. The main problem though is that most people think they can run the river the same speed at night that they do during the day. Wish those guys would have taken a little more precautions, two families are suffering now because of it. God bless them...
     
  19. STUMPKNOCKER

    STUMPKNOCKER New Member

    Messages:
    200
    State:
    Georgia
    as far as fishing at night my advice is remember as much of the river going out as u can and go SLOW SLOW SLOW, try navigating the Altamaha in the summer with the mayflies and bugs u will get swarmed we do it by the moon or just quik Qbeam flicks. and a very slow crawl.
     
  20. crazy

    crazy New Member

    Messages:
    2,090
    State:
    Kansas CIty, MO
    You better just stick to day time fishing. Let the night stuff left to us big boys. If you think driving a boat with a partner at night is bad well you just better pick up golf. Plus your problem with the fog was you where running a spot light. Ever notice that when a light hit fogs it just reflects back to you and you can't see through it. Well without the light on you can see in fog way better. Yep I must say the gremlins come out at night and are going to get you. Better stay home and watch T.V.