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Paddle Craft Lighting Made Simple

Old 05-19-2020, 08:30 AM
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Default Paddle Craft Lighting Made Simple

PADDLE CRAFT LIGHTING MADE EASY NSBW Part 4
I often get questions about paddle craft (vessels under oars in the Navigation Rules.) There’s a lot of confusion and bad information out there, so I am going to break it down as simply as I can in this first segment. Only the truly curious need to read beyond that! Following that, I am going to post the whole of the law, then prune the vital elements of the law. Since the law tells us we can light ourselves as a sailing vessel less than 7 meters, I have to include that legal cite. Lastly, I’ll leave you with the reference link and a footnote.
SHORT: You may light your vessel in one of three ways.
Having a flashlight ready at hand and displaying it in time to prevent collision. Example Image #1
Using a 360 degree white light. (Not an option in international waters) Example Image #2
Having red and green sidelights (some people call them bow lights or running lights) displaying over an arc of visibility of 112.5 degrees each (may be a combination light rather than separate lights) in concert with a white 135 degree stern light. Example Image #3

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Old 05-19-2020, 08:31 AM
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THE LAW (copied and pasted from the below Amalgamated link):

Rule 25 - Sailing Vessels Underway and Vessels Under Oars

(a) A sailing vessel underway shall exhibit: Sailing Vessel Underway
(i) sidelights;
(ii) a sternlight.
(b) In a sailing vessel of less than 20 meters in length the lights prescribed in Rule 25(a) may be combined in one lantern carried at or near the top of the mast where it can best be seen.
(c) A sailing vessel underway may, in addition to the lights prescribed in Rule 25(a), exhibit at or near the top of the mast, where they can best be seen, two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being red and the lower green, but these lights shall not be exhibited in conjunction with the combined lantern permitted by Rule 25(b).
(d)(i) A sailing vessel of less than 7 meters in length shall, if practicable, exhibit the lights prescribed in Rule 25(a) or (b), but if she does not, she shall ‹‹ exhibit an all around white light or ›› have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
(ii) A vessel under oars may exhibit the lights prescribed in this rule for sailing vessels, but if she does not, she shall <<exhibit an all around white light>> or have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
(e) A vessel proceeding under sail when also being propelled by machinery shall exhibit forward where it can best be seen a conical shape, apex downwards. A vessel of less than 12 meters in length is not required to exhibit this shape, but may do so.
Old 05-19-2020, 08:32 AM
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APPLICABLE ELEMENTS OF THE LAW PRUNED:
(a) A sailing vessel underway shall exhibit: Sailing Vessel Underway
(i) sidelights;

(ii) a sternlight.
(ii) A vessel under oars may exhibit the lights prescribed in this rule for sailing vessels, but if she does not, she shall exhibit an all around white light or have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
Amalgamated Publication:
https://navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=NavRulesAmalgamated

Complete Publication:
https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/.../CG_NAV_Rules_29Apr2020.pdf

I need to footnote this with a comment. In so many of these discussions I have had with paddlers, I have heard some paddlers say they don’t like to display red and green lights because other boaters will assume they are a vessel under power. That’s not always the case in the Navigation Rules. If you see red and/or green sidelights without an all-around white light, that tells you the vessel is NOT under power. Rule 24 shows us that certain vessels under tow will show sidelights without the all-around white light. Rule 25 shows the same thing with sailing vessels. Rule 27 does as well with vessels not under command. So we might say that red and/or green lights in the absence of a white light suggests a vulnerable vessel.

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