Running light suggestions...

Discussion in 'Boat Repair Help' started by dixiedrifter, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. dixiedrifter

    dixiedrifter New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    Tennessee
    Ok now that my anchor and navigation lights are up and running, I would like to install two running lights on the front of the boat to see where I'm going when I'm kicking it wide open down the river at night.

    Yeah I know what ya'll are thinking... I only have 25 ponies so I ain't gonna be running that fast...

    What type of lights do ya'll think would be best?
     
  2. TeamCatHazzard

    TeamCatHazzard New Member

    Messages:
    517
    State:
    Illinois
    Technically Im pretty sure it is illegal to have lights on the front of your boat to use for navigation. They can only be used for docking, so check your laws to be sure, but I know a guy back home that installed car headlights on his bow and it works great! Basically it depends on how bright your want them. I personally would just rather use a q-beam. But be sure to check your laws!
     

  3. dixiedrifter

    dixiedrifter New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    Tennessee
    I have read Tennessee Code Annotated and it makes no reference to having a lights mounted on the bow of the boat other than the red/green one (hope I'm using the correct terminology by saying its a navigation light).

    http://www.state.tn.us/twra/boat001b.html
     
  4. Kutter

    Kutter New Member

    Messages:
    5,379
    State:
    Arnold, MO
    Hmmm, might want to check a little deeper. Coast Guard rules apply in every state to my knowledge, and they say NO lights up front other than the green/red lights. Believe me, I have been using two 400,000 cp lights up front for the last few years. I was lucky. I got a warning instead of a ticket. Missouri statutes don't mention it, however in small print it advises that all Coast Guard rules apply in addition to MO rules. I did my homework after the warning and sure enough, I could have gotten the ticket.
     
  5. Mutt

    Mutt Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,472
    State:
    Ca
    Name:
    Mutt
    Yep they dont allow lights like that. I still seen a lot of people use them though. Most of the time if I am on the water at nite I will use a spot lamp and I still dont crank it on never know what you may not see and hit.
     
  6. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    i installed a 55 watt off road light on the front of mine, works great but i'd love to find a million candlepower light that i could replace it with!
     
  7. Catter

    Catter New Member

    Messages:
    181
    State:
    Osceola, Arkansas
    Have any of you guys checked into the "Lightforce" brand of lights? They seem to be sturdy built and the marine version floats as well. They are a little pricey at around $150 so i'm gonna do some major research before buying one.

    Joe
     
  8. oldprowler

    oldprowler New Member

    Messages:
    321
    State:
    Mannford, Oklahoma
    Running lights and Navigation Lights are often used interchangeably BUT :

    The red/green bow lights and the white stern light are the Running Lights because their use is mandated when your boat is underway.

    The white stern light can and often does pull double duty as both the stern light when underway and the anchor light when at anchor.

    Anyone that uses white lights as "head lights" on their boat can and (in my opinion) should be ticketed because they ruin not only their own night vision but also the night vision of anyone in their path. Remember the reflection of these white lights off the water carries a long way.

    Occasional use of a spot light to identify navigational aid is legal.
     
  9. bmaultbay

    bmaultbay New Member

    Messages:
    498
    State:
    Clarksville, Tennessee
    As a new boat owner I am glad I read this post. Once again BOC, thanks. I only have 25 horses as well, but it gets me to ths fish and back!
     
  10. dademoss

    dademoss New Member

    Messages:
    524
    State:
    Ohio
    Also remember that docking lights (which are sometimes incorrectly labeled as headlights) are NOT part of the authorized navigation lights. These should not be used when underway because they interfere with visibility of your navigation lights, AND they can temporarily blind another operator, causing an accident. The same comment applies to searchlights that should only be used for very brief “spots”, and only when there is no chance they will blind anyone nearby.

    From the article found here:
    http://www.uscgboating.org/waypoints/archived/aug05/article10_navlights.htm
     
  11. jdstraka

    jdstraka Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,688
    State:
    Council Bluffs, Iowa
    Name:
    John
    Thanks guys as i was gitting my boat ready for this years fishing and planning to put a white running light on the bow.i think you just possiably saved me a ticket.
     
  12. dixiedrifter

    dixiedrifter New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    Tennessee
    While "head lights" may not be legal and spotlight use should be restricted, I gotta say that on the TN river/KY lake there are some really nasty submerged logs/trees floating downstream that could easily rip out the arse end of your boat or cause other major damage should you hit them.

    And just like an iceberg, usually the only thing you see is just a tiny portion of them sticking up... night vision alone ain't nearly enough to see them on a dark night. However with some good lights you can pick them up and avoid them in plenty of time.

    Besides, its not like there is very much traffic on the water at night, and if you can't avoid another boat on a 1/2 mile wide stretch of river you don't need to be out there driving a boat anyways.

    It might be wrong, illegal, and non-coast guard approved, but that is my 2¢.
     
  13. bmaultbay

    bmaultbay New Member

    Messages:
    498
    State:
    Clarksville, Tennessee
    I think that when it comes to safety, no one in their right mind is going to question the use of white lights, but, on the other hand, if you are using them to run at break neck speed down the river or lake, you should be taken off the water to protect those who are abiding by the laws.
     
  14. FS Driver

    FS Driver New Member

    Messages:
    2,323
    State:
    swansea,illinoi
    i too have thought about putting them on my boat after my first few times of me operateing our jon on the river at night, but after hearing that it can cause someone else to be visably impaired and the fact its illegal i wouldnt
    risk it .
    i creep in the river at nite call me a coward or whatever you want but
    i aint going to take the risk of capsizeing or wrecking my boat with
    my kid with me just to get somewhere or back to the ramp fast.
    it aint worth it.
     
  15. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Messages:
    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    WHITE lights on the front of a boat can be very dangerous. As someone else mentioned, they reflect quite a ways and can blind someone very easily. The smart thing to do is to slow it down some, take your time, and make sure you are safe.

    If you still feel you need a light on constantly while running at night, consider using a tinted light. Fog lights, have a yellow or amber tint. They will allow you to see, and do not cut down night visibility, or blind others near as easily.
     
  16. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Like I have always maintained if you are scared of damage to personal property (your boat) by hitting logs or debris at night make sure it is sitting in your driveway when the sun goes down.
    Human life supercedes personal property damage.
    Disregard for rules of the road, ie, coastguard regs is not only putting your life at risk but those other boaters lives at risk you cant see because you have limited your vision to that of your headlight beams.

    There are countless coastguard accident reports involving serious injury and fatalities on record from failure to properly display navigation lights.

    Alot of people fail to understand this concept but all it takes is a few near misses to get the idea loud and clear.

    I have used a spotlight at night to find a marker once I got in the general vicinity of what I was looking for but as far as using one for navigational purposes they aren't as good as natural night vision as far as seeing distances. I've night fished alot in my life and seldom am I on the water at night when there isnt any fog at all. Even the most minute amount of fog renders a spotlight or headlights on the water practically useless and greatly reduces the distance at which you can see. You are limiting yourself only as far as your beams will go before being reflected right back at you.
    For close in work finding that limbline or that snag you want to fish its hard to beat a good spotlight or 1/4 mile beam light.

    Case in point and this was pure luck nobody was hurt and not one of my proudest moments in the boating community but I was piloting a 24 foot cuddy cabin on Lake Gaston at 2am trying to get it back to a dock 15 miles away.
    It had become cloudy and a slight fog developed on the water. Conditions were deteriorating. There were 3 people on board one being asleep in the cuddy. At 2AM 8 of 10 people had cut their dock lights off on their piers so there goes my landmarks to find this creek by.

    I'm experienced at running at night by knowing where to focus my vision which by the way isnt on the dark water in front of the boat, it is on the horizon and treeline. Against my better judgement I yanked the spotllight out and jammed it through the roof hatch for a headlight to find this creek.
    I got too comfortable having the light and pushed the throttle to the stops.
    Disorientation set in and tunnel vision developes because I lost my natural night vision. I limited myself to seeing solely what was in the light beam.
    So here I am in a false comfort zone running a Ford 302 at the stop and all of a sudden a wall of rip rap breaks into my beam. I drop the light, spin the wheel hard to starboard while jerking it to neutral and trying to find a nonexistent brake pedal.

    Lady luck was with me. I missed the rocks. Even though it wasnt my boat, it was left in my command with orders to get us home as the owner went below to bed. The thought of nearly turning his boat into a pretzel never crossed my mind after that close call. What stayed in my mind and made me weak in the knees was the fact if I had hit those rocks at 25 MPH in a boat that weighed more then 2 tons with him being below would more then likely been an instant death for him. Me and the other passenger would have at the least been seriously injured if we didnt drown.
    Had I gone about night navigation as I always had nobody would have been put in danger that night. I would have found the creek I was looking for if not on the first pass the second or third.

    As it turned out I found it on the first pass. The spotlight was broken in the incident and I fell out of the false sense of security the light provided thus reducing my speed to that of cruising. For those of you that have ever been on Poplar creek you know a pretzel aint got a thing on the layout of this creek and I navigated it with no moon, a light fog that was thickening, and without so much as a flashlight for 2 miles in a boat big enough that it takes several hands on deck to dock without further incident.

    You learn from mistakes and experience I'm just thankful to the core It didnt involve injury or fatality to learn. Like I said, at the time I was above average in experience at night running and ran more at night then in the day.
    Just like at work, when you get too comfortable in your job, you let your guard down and that is when you get hurt.

    Headlights have no place on a boat.
     
  17. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    But they do blind any other boat your meeting . So please watch out for that.
    Most people just use fog lights .
    Pete
     
  18. sgt_rob

    sgt_rob Member

    Messages:
    961
    State:
    Bossier City, LA
    All legalities aside... if the boat is bouncing up and down with the waves, so are the lights. They will rarely be aimed where you want them. Get a spot light.
     
  19. waterwalker

    waterwalker New Member

    Messages:
    604
    State:
    Louisville Ohio
    I agree with most of the replies, and not with a few. Adding additional lighting for safety and visibility are good upgrades, provide they do not
    compromise the navigational lights. These lights on a regular fishing boats
    represent a challenge because the lights are generally center on the bow.
    Spot lights or headlights may flood them, reducing visibility, another problem arises they are hard to adjust...idling...or on plane. I use the conventional lighting on my G3 and carry a plug in spot light to use loading
    the boat, I rarely use it underway. My pontoon is another matter, the navigational lights are mounted at each side on the bow and of-course one high on the top. I have two halogen lights mounted high on the hand rails that show directly in the water, twenty feet in front of the
    craft at idle, provides good lighting for manuvering into the marina at night. As far as these lights being illegal, there is nothing in Ohio that
    ponts in that direction. Went to a boat show recently, all the toons I
    saw had factory installed lights.
     
  20. RiverKing

    RiverKing New Member

    Messages:
    2,232
    State:
    Yellow Spr
    you may want to just get you one of those portable 1,000,000 candle spot lights, thats what i use and it works real well....i have a inverter on my boat so i can let it charge when its not in use...but it really lights things up...worth a try