spotlights on a river jon

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by 4bratsdad, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. 4bratsdad

    4bratsdad Member

    Messages:
    240
    State:
    illinois springfield area
    i thought i had just finished my boat couple weeks back but im not happy w/ spotlights i installed, u run a small river w a lot of logs etc, i mounted set of 55 watt rally drivin lts,one on front, one on side i fish off ,to light up bank, i still break out the 3mil hand held, would like to see enough to run this river by myself, its hard 2stick steer, spotlight, dodge asians, check bank lines or jugs i need 4 hands, what works for you guys, cant afford one those big remote jobs, was gonna replace my single on front w/one those 8" chrome 100watt round job for 40 at wally, then thought bout just adding 2 more 55's point em slightly right& left leave center straight ahead, would fog lights work better?? i dont need to fly just cruise, had bought some those led drivin lights ended up usin them 4 inside of my boat they were only good for 5-6ft any tips be great, rivers risin.
     
  2. nitronostrils

    nitronostrils New Member

    Messages:
    292
    State:
    IL
    By the time ya get nickeled and dimed to death by trying to find the right lighting solution would end up costing the same a golight or equilivant, just a thought. :0a26:
     

  3. playin4funami

    playin4funami New Member

    Messages:
    4,104
    State:
    Saronville Ne.
    I use a small suitcase size coleman generator that is really quiet and a few 1000 watt halogens that I can move around. works great,but I already had the generator otherwise I'd probably go with some sealed beam low beam headlights and a battery,but it would suck a battery down in a hurry.sorry I can't be of more help.
     
  4. gilmafam

    gilmafam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,466
    State:
    California
    I'd suggest an extra battery for the accesories..... In my old boat... I had a hand held light fixed in a mount to hold it.... I'd just shine it to the needed place... up river or one side or the other and motor on....

    eventually went to two lights like mentioned and one is on one bank and the other ... the other..... hand free.... thats the ticket....

    extra battery.... get the weight up front....:wink:
     
  5. etexun

    etexun New Member

    Messages:
    375
    State:
    Texas (Nea
    Harvey, I don't know what lights you picked out at Walmart, but that is where I got mine. They were the 55 watt lights too. After I mounted them on my boat I checked them out at night and decided that I needed more light too. So I upped the bulb size in each light. I bought 100 watt bulbs at O'Rielly Auto Parts and changed them out. If you decide to do that be sure you up your fuse size too, or you will be constantly blowing it. It was an easy fix for me and it gave me plenty light to nav the small river I run. I have 2 batteries on my boat. One for cranking and the other for everything else. So far no problems.
     
  6. Poppa

    Poppa New Member

    Messages:
    1,233
    State:
    Pinson, Al
    I use hand held Qbeams in my jon boat. Always used off a seprate battery
    from my cranking battery. I have tried to use permanate mounted lights
    in the past and never found any that worked to my likeing. If you mount
    your lights for 1/2 speed or trolling speed they are adjusted to close to
    the boat to run wide open and if you adjust to run wide open they are
    shining way to high when running slow.
     
  7. 4bratsdad

    4bratsdad Member

    Messages:
    240
    State:
    illinois springfield area
    thanks guys, ive noticed em being too high or low, i left em so i can adjust em they're the rally off road lights with the protective covers, robert, ill run by oreilly's in morn i think they're the h-4 bulb, lights and humminbird are only thing im runnin now, nothing else, battery is new i think ill b ok, the only other thing i plan runnin soon is baitwell pump, big lights wouldnt be on that much, i was told that the fog lights would light up a wider area, where my driving lights are more for distance, maybe i do need 2nd battery these are similar to car headlights, i will b takin it easy river's maybe 50' wide w/ lot obstructions, would never open er up at night like u would on mississipi or ohio, do these bolt on off road lts suck juice like headlights??
     
  8. etexun

    etexun New Member

    Messages:
    375
    State:
    Texas (Nea
    I had to run out to my boat box and check my spares to see what they were. I bought H3 100 bulbs for mine. remember that you have to up your fuse size too. And x's 2 for both bulbs. (100watts/12volts=amps)
    I used mine just weekend before last out on the lake. You just have to pick an in between height to adjust them to. (or at least I did) When I was running after dark they were just a little high. But they shined out and gave me a good idea of where I was going. Where they really came in handy that weekend was loading the boat after dark. Man they really lit the trailer, dock and everything up nice.
    I don't run the river very fast after dark and mine work really good for that. Before I put them on I got caught out running lines late and it got dark before we had gotten to the last line. Man that was a long slow ride back with just the nav lights burning. That's when I decided to put them on my boat. A friend made me some metal covers for them to keep them from getting knocked off the boat.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2009
  9. Critter Getter

    Critter Getter New Member

    Messages:
    125
    State:
    Elnora, Indiana
    I used to have some old KC lights laying around after I bought some different ones for the mud truck. I made some mounts that went on the front of the boat for them. Ran them on their own battery and they worked really well. I never used them on a smaller waterway but I would think they would work just fine.
     
  10. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Nothing personal but anybody that feels the need to run "headlights" on a boat at night doesn't have enough experience at the helm to be operating a boat at night. If you did, you wouldn't even think of putting headlights on a boat.
    A car operates in a 2 dimensional environment and on a predetermined path (road).
    In other words I don't have to figure out the path of another car. He is on the highway just like I am. He can only be in front of me or behind me.

    The water is different. It's a true 3d environment from an operator stand point. A vessel can be approaching me from any degree on a compass dial. I also have to be concerned with what is or isn't UNDER me.

    Stop viewing those red and green lights on the bow of the boat as something you have to have so you don't get a ticket.
    They actually serve a purpose for the person that has the experience to run at night. It's a directional marker. With your CG required marking I can tell how your boat is orientated and it's heading with a glance. When you got all of these spotlights and headlights going you are taking total control of the waterway because all I can see is a white light. A single white light means you are anchored. You see where this can be dangerous?
    You are telling me that you are anchored up by the light you are showing me but in fact we may be on a collision course with a closing rate of 30MPH.

    Nobody has a clue about what you are doing because they can't see your lighting. Those other people have to stop and often cut their engine to figure out what your intentions are, if you are moving or not, and just what direcion you are moving in.
    Those that are experienced with operating a boat at night will know exactly what I'm talking about.

    If you still feel the need for headlights on a boat, please go with an experienced night captain so you can learn by watching.

    The same argument is used over and over. I have debris in my river.
    All rivers have debris. All headlights do towards debris is invoke complacency and a false sense of security which causes you to increase your speed.
    Scared of debris, stay home and wait for daylight.

    Last, it's against coastguard regs to run headlights on a boat.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  11. snal

    snal New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    nc

    Point well made, but....
    I don't think this applies to the owner's original post. He was interested in "I don't want to fly just cruise" AND "spotlight, dodge asians, and check bank lines or jugs". Sounds like his lights are "FOR" safety while he's alone on the river...any regulations against that?
    I know that your post concerned "headlights"...but that really isn't what he seemed to be posting about originally.
    Not trying to provoke an argument, but can you quote what the CG considers "headlights"? A hand held spotlight pointed forward?..."docking lights" that face forward? I'm very curious because I boat in waters where I "must" have a light facing forward at times in order to see channel markers in narrow areas at slow speeds...otherwise I'm putting my boat and it's passengers in danger.
    Now, I don't typically boat at night on rivers, but let's just say that I do...and this river has low hanging trees/limbs, it's pitch black, and I need to see those tree's/limbs....is shining a light (forward) of any kind against the law? Still...just curious...because it doesn't make sense to me that it would be against the law.
     
  12. moriver

    moriver New Member

    Messages:
    416
    State:
    Missouri
    Harvey,

    Good question and some good points are made in all these posts. One thing to also keep in mind is the size of wire you are using and if a relay is needed. You will have to check your directions to figure that one. Also dont take everything as law you read. As far as finding a "good captain" and learning navigation from him, dont come to Missouri looking for one. Back in the days that we actually had barge traffic on the Missouri every boat pushing had a light big enough to send light to the next state. I figure those guys must not had a clue as to what they were doing as everyone of them had a spot light burning if they were moving.:wink: I run a river that you need some light. If you dont have it your stuck, hurt or broke. That being said watch what you use those lights for, they can blind other boaters as mentioned and read up on when you can use them. Regulations do apply to them. Good fishing and dont be a hero. If your running at night and think you need some light at times use it. You only loose your Man Card after you run in to a log and get pitched from the boat because you were to cool to use a light.
     
  13. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    The regs read that you can't obstruct your navigational lights.
    Docking lights are used for docking.
    Ever paid much attention to the nav lights on a boat with a bow mount trolling motor? Most of these boats are out of regs because the trolling motor obstructs the light.

    In the daytime you can usually avoid the boater that has no clue about navigation practices and regulations. Like who has the right of way.
    At night is a different story. You not only lose vision but you lose depth perception as well. Being on a river at night with 2 or 3 people doing what they are supposed to do and the rest not doing is a dangerous place. More dangerous then it needs to be.
    I personally don't have a problem with someone bumping a spotlight to check their course but I do have a problem with someone navigating with a spotlight.
    I've probally done as much night navigating as I have day navigating over the years and have never bought a spotlight. They put off too much light and refract too much light. I prefer a mag light. Gives off enough light to spot check and doesn't impair the vision of other folks.

    I would absolutely love to have a boater's license requirement. Actually two.
    One for day and one for night. Atleast everyone would have to know the material enough to get a license.
    Problem is few boaters actually know the rules of the "road".
    They don't know who has the right of way, they don't know how to read channel markers or bouys and they certainly aren't up on navigational regulations.

    Too many people look at those colored lights on the bow as something they have to have to avoid a ticket instead of a navigational aid or tool. The reason is because they have never learned how to use them.
     
  14. 4bratsdad

    4bratsdad Member

    Messages:
    240
    State:
    illinois springfield area
    thanks guys, the river im speaking of is maybe 50' across and on average 5' deep, not that it wouldnt happen but i have never once ran across another boat at night after dark in the stretches i use, and if so would shut off headlights, the other thing i thought i mentioned is that i would never fly through this area at night 10mph tops, at this time i dont have an experienced boatman with me to set up front and guide me from debris w/ my qbeam that i trust, or that even has the experience to steer the tiller while i navigate or at least stop/backup/go forward through logjambs, and since i choose2 not stay at home, i wanna see where im goin, i could see this being an issue on a waterway with traffic, thanks guys
     
  15. playin4funami

    playin4funami New Member

    Messages:
    4,104
    State:
    Saronville Ne.
    Mark, I understand your point of view,and where your from I can see where you are used to a different waterway and more boat traffic than some of us. For instance, I run a twisting crooked creek with trees overhanging it and at most it's 25 to 30 foot wide and a lot less in some spots. gravel bars and fallen trees are in the water and their location changes after every big rain/flood goes through. I've also never in 25 years seen another boat on this waterway at night,bank fishermen yes,but never another boat,I hardly ever go there anymore,but if running in the dark without lights you would be putting yourself at risk,no matter how good you Know the water or how good you can handle a boat,no offence to you just things can be real different in different locations. I would never run those lights on a open lake at night,except maybe to load up at a dark ramp,and that would be only long enough to see the trailer and get on it.
     
  16. Critter Getter

    Critter Getter New Member

    Messages:
    125
    State:
    Elnora, Indiana
    The lights on the front of my boat are there for 2 reasons and 2 reasons only. 1 is for bowfishing and 2 for high water situations where there are trees, not just logs but full blown trees floating all over the place. All the rest of the time I use a good ol' Q-Beam to keep me off of the sandbars. If there are other boats moving in the area I almost always slow WAY down or stop til they have either moved on or got done setting up. I trust my night driving 100% but I treat all other drivers out there as if it is their first time driving a boat. Some people just have no business being out there, day or night. More than once I have had people coming right at me full bore and I nailed them with the lights and all of a sudden I apparently wasn't invisible anymore :confused2:

    Call me whatever you want but if its 4 in the morning and there isn't a boat in the same county as me, I got the spotlight on the whole time I'm driving on that river. All it takes is one log and your stuck out there.
     
  17. 4bratsdad

    4bratsdad Member

    Messages:
    240
    State:
    illinois springfield area
    thanks don, you just desribed my river, a lil' better than i did, the other big reason for the lights was to have a free hand or hands while trying to grab a jug w/ a big," maybe im just a dreamer" catfish on it, so i can see what i'm bout to run into while hoisting him into the boat, which i would b in neutral and flowing w current not, but cruising at 30mph, but someday mark im sure i'll be the skilled captain that can check his banklines,or jugs , untangle catfish from roots or logjamb at 3 n morn in pitch dark at 30mph in my small river, i will keep practicing!!
     
  18. 7mmmag1

    7mmmag1 New Member

    Messages:
    94
    State:
    Oklahoma
    I saw a pair of boat driving lights think they were 75 watts a pair of em for 25 bucks at academy today that would probably work good, but then again Oklahoma has pretty lax laws concerning boats and stuff, can still drive and drink beer and wave at the lake patrol, but you can get a dui if you show signs of being drunk while operating a boat
     
  19. cantstopgrandma

    cantstopgrandma New Member

    Messages:
    955
    State:
    MD
    I have to agree with everything MarkJ said on this subject. With that said, it sounds like you're in more of a creek than a river, and a pretty sparsly populated one at that. In your situation i wouldn't worry about obstructing your lights, cause anybody on that "river" is either going upriver or downriver (it loses a lot of that side to side or crossways dimension Mark was talking about), its just not wide enough to do much else. I just wouldn't go on bigger water and pull this kind of stunt with the lights. I hate it when people come by me with spotlight constantly on or headlights, cause it ruins my night vision, and makes it hard for me to see where I'm going. Not to mention its hard to tell exactly which direction they are moving caues everything is lit up(like has already been mentioned). Be safe out there, and good luck with your lighting project.