Jump to content
Wingnut

HEAD LIGHTS GONE WILD

Recommended Posts

Rant begins now. Because July 4th was a mid-week deal this year, the towns on the upper Chesapeake saw the wisdom in staggering their firework displays enabling boat owners to attend several. We did Middleriver, Havre de Grace, Rock Hall, and Great Oak Landing. I could have done 5, but I avoided Baltimore and Annapolis on the 4th as I did not wish to deal with the ultra heavy boat traffic in the darkness. OK, all is good as I've been running this area at night since 1973 and have never saw the need for GPS, and I have good night vision which we all know is critical when you are not utilizing radar. Navigation aside, the shows were all decent, and the fire that started on the surrounding grounds in Rockhall became bigger than the actual display, so I hope no real damage was done. Show started with zero wind and super hot, and ended with high winds and big rollers coming back up the bay. Not fun, but doable.

Now comes the source of my irritation. As boats arrive at sundown, the Marine Police and Coast Guard are working the anchorage looking for kids without vests, anchor lights, overloading, and obvious BUI. When the show ends, they gather in a corner out of the way and watch the floating mass attempt to find their way home. In many cases you will see a single boat acting as the flag ship as the fleet follows him through the shallows. In Havre de Grace channel is narrow so I picked the guy that was first on plane and was staring at the biggest chart plotter and he nail it, my ticket to deep water. What is different than in past years is how many boat owners have affixed high intensity LED bar lights and the like to their radar arches and/or the hull themselves. Saw a pontoon with twin halogen headlights. In years past, if you used even a hand held spotlight for a few extra seconds, you were stopped and lectured. What changed? Last night I was first out of Great Oak, and I saw a few forming up in my wake and it became obvious that they were looking for a tour guide. I glanced back to see what my spacing looked like and two of these boats had bright lights ablaze, one of which had a light bar all the way across his arch like he was running the Baha 1,000. Tow miles later, they are still on my tail.

I'm sure these Mutts could see fine, but for the rest of us normal people you really had to discipline yourself to not look in their direction for even an instant. It's been a moonless period and there are no population centers here so no city light reflection and at times if you turn your dash and navigation lights off, you can't even tell the boat is in water. You can hear it, but you won't see it making night vision the imperative. Other than BUI, I don't wish a ticket on anybody but what changed in the past year that now makes it alright to light-up the waterway? Rant Complete...  W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Wingnut said:

What is different than in past years is how many boat owners have affixed high intensity LED bar lights and the like to their radar arches and/or the hull themselves.

 

@MANFROGDOG just had one of those LED light bars installed on his boat.  Posted about it here on the mods thread.

He's in the Bay, too, might've been the guy behind you LOLOL! :D  But from his last line, he sounds like the rare, very considerate boater who only uses it on short occasions when really needed. 

 

MANFROGDOG   

  • MANFROGDOG
  • Members
  •  
  • 7 posts
  • Location:San Leon, Texas

I added lights just to use for quick verification. It was a curved LED light bar, marine rated. 109 deer. Note, with the curve of the arch 1-1/2"-2" spacers for the mounts will be needed. I used wood, waiting on 316 S.S. to be machined. In the bay there are crab trap floats, poles sticking up, and for docking in the boathouse. Just for an extra measure of safety. Don't run them constantly as I don't want to screw up night vision of others, which would be unsafe.

LED LIGHT BAR.JPG

 

2 hours ago, Wingnut said:

I glanced back to see what my spacing looked like and two of these boats had bright lights ablaze, one of which had a light bar all the way across his arch like he was running the Baha 1,000. Tow miles later, they are still on my tail.

Ahahaaa.  BTW, why aren't you using GPS and instead relying on just your knowledge of the area?  Is it because of the light it displays ruins your visibility?  You know the new ones have night-mode option now, kinda like our smartphones. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Hatem said:

Ahahaaa.  BTW, why aren't you using GPS and instead relying on just your knowledge of the area?  Is it because of the light it displays ruins your visibility?  You know the new ones have night-mode option now, kinda like our smartphones. 

I'm the same way. Our new boat this year has GPS (with the auto dim) and while it's nice and all, I'm in the "trust but verify" camp. I've been on this lake my whole life so I know it well and while on a moonless nite, the GPS fabulous, I still make sure I 100% know exactly where I am on the lake at all times. Being a "full timer" on the lake, after the 4th of July fireworks growing up, it was always a guessing game on how many boats got lost in the wrong coves or worse, ran aground, because people that only do it once a year go balls to the wall and have no clue where they are. Electronics are great and all but again, "trust but verify". What happens if the system $hits the bed unexpectedly?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought an Acura MDX was headed straight at me on the water on the 4th.  Turns out it was a pontoon with modified xenon lights.  Not cool.  Could not see the red/green lights on the bow.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The frustrated nuts in autos ?  Can go INSANE on water.  There are NO safety or driving rules to speak of. Fines are nothing compared to money available.

You are in a active boating showoff zone.

Trump & his government will strip all regulations away concerning boating.  Just be patient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Curt said:

We don't go out on the 4th.  Amateur hour.

We went out for the first time this year (well last nite because our fireworks were delayed). Went out when the others were in for dinner and didn't leave until about an hour and a half after the shoe was done. We just sat and watched what looked like a highway of morons racing around. Had a few yahoos when we went in but not bad. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is an increase in lighted boats around Buffalo too. Last year I was entering the inner harbor and I see a large lit up boat. For the life of me, I could not determine whether he was coming at me or moving away.  The lighting he had overpowered the nav lights.  The headlight thing is getting big around here too. Sometimes its difficult to differentiate between a boat coming at me or a car along the shore. Not to mention that these boats draw attention to themselves and therefore distract your viewing the area. They also destroy your night vision thus making it difficult to spot other boats operating properly.

It amazes me to no end how people are effected by the latest fad rather than what's standard safety procedure.

But I also agree with Hatem. There are two buoys out side our breakwall……..no lighting, no reflective material and not on any chart. That annoys me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, watson524 said:

We went out for the first time this year (well last nite because our fireworks were delayed). Went out when the others were in for dinner and didn't leave until about an hour and a half after the shoe was done. We just sat and watched what looked like a highway of morons racing around. Had a few yahoos when we went in but not bad. 

Absolutely classic.... "highway of morons".  I'm stealing this one.

Although I must admit, just yesterday I was considering ordering and installing docking lights.  LOL.  (Still will, just can't pass up the bargain at Cecil Marine and they have the switch cover.) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 Nothing like a 80' 50 mph boat roaring around in the dark.  With a child driving it.

Welcome to the U S A

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, watson524 said:

I'm the same way. Our new boat this year has GPS (with the auto dim) and while it's nice and all, I'm in the "trust but verify" camp. I've been on this lake my whole life so I know it well and while on a moonless nite, the GPS fabulous, I still make sure I 100% know exactly where I am on the lake at all times. Being a "full timer" on the lake, after the 4th of July fireworks growing up, it was always a guessing game on how many boats got lost in the wrong coves or worse, ran aground, because people that only do it once a year go balls to the wall and have no clue where they are. Electronics are great and all but again, "trust but verify".

I can see that, makes sense.  The glare of the GPS is brutal at nighttime and I've only been out in pitch darkness only once in the 4 years of boating under my belt (3 years to be exact).  And it was on the 4th of July lol, genius.  :D And Boston Harbor, no less.  So you can imagine not only the number of boats but also a huge harbor that is notorious for outcropping rocks and islands and other disasters, not to mention hugeeah boats all over the place leaving monsoon-sized wakes etc.  That was not a fun ride back, about 20 miles of ocean swells and little islands in the way.  Had a really tough time seeing lobster trap buoys that are out by the gazillions and even channel markers.  Almost plowed into a red one because while I could see it on my GPS, it appeared in front of the bow a lot quicker than it was on the screen.  Thankfully my son sat in the bow seats watching out for me and yelling out "trap ahead," then buoy ahead" etc.  Honestly, in that particular case, I would've LOVED one of those mega light bars. 

1 hour ago, watson524 said:

Electronics are great and all but again, "trust but verify". What happens if the system $hits the bed unexpectedly?

Redundancy?  While the small, somewhat crappy Garmin that came with the boat is pretty decent and accurate, it didn't have depth markings so I had no idea where shallow areas are to avoid.  Had to add a 741xs (and radar) and kept the old one for exactly that reason.

1ddyF0K.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And while we're on the topic, why does darn near every pontoon now have led strip lighting, some even changing colors, along the toons??? It makes it so much harder to determine the red and green and if they're coming or going 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bling society. Kind of like underwater likes... I don't see the purpose. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Phillbo said:

Bling society. Kind of like underwater likes... I don't see the purpose. 

My boat came with underwater lights on the transom, and I've found them rather convenient when backing into the slip in the dark.  They produce enough light to keep an eye on where the stern is, without killing anyone's night vision.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Hatem said:

Redundancy?  While the small, somewhat crappy Garmin that came with the boat is pretty decent and accurate, it didn't have depth markings so I had no idea where shallow areas are to avoid.  Had to add a 741xs (and radar) and kept the old one for exactly that reason.

We have the 742xs in ours and it really is pretty neat tho our lake level fluctuates and the maps are drawn at a certain elevation so I always have to check the lake website to see what the high water is at and +/- from the garmin to be sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, sburke91 said:

My boat came with underwater lights on the transom, and I've found them rather convenient when backing into the slip in the dark.  They produce enough light to keep an eye on where the stern is, without killing anyone's night vision.

 

You tell him! We like functional blingbling, even underwater "likes" whatever the heck those are lmfao.

3 hours ago, watson524 said:

We have the 742xs in ours and it really is pretty neat tho our lake level fluctuates and the maps are drawn at a certain elevation so I always have to check the lake website to see what the high water is at and +/- from the garmin to be sure.

That's even better.  I couldn't go anywhere without a GPS, let alone at nighttime?  I'm even afraid to reset all the bread crumbs that have practically blackened the screen.

I definitely need to update my chip.  Too bad there isn't a place you can just drop it off and have them do it for $35 or something. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Docking light have been around forever, and I think they are a great idea as you never know where you might end up at the end of any given day. Running lights are inherently dangerous as they blind other boaters and it was not that long ago that enforcement would ticket if you illuminated beyond the 6 second rule even with a hand held spotlight. I just noticed a marked increase in constant use headlights here and my hope is the commercial guys will complain enough that law enforcement gets back in the game.  W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After returning from a week on Norris Lake in TN, I can certainly agree that headlight usage (or docking lights used for same) are definitely on the rise.  Incredibly annoying and unsafe to others.  I saw it on Bubba Lee's old pontoon boat, John Smith's average runabout, and Alistair Rothchild's swanky surf boat (forward and rear facing lights on that one).  Selfishness is not class specific.

These folks deserve, at least, a ticket.  At most, well I'd better not say. 

Easy pickins for LEOs, but I suspect they won't be bothered; much like traffic light runners on land.

And for the love of god, people: PLEASE start your unreliable outboard motor while you're still on the trailer on the ramp!!  Both loading my boat at my home lake to travel to Norris, and again to launch to put back in slip at marina I had folks launch a dead boat and block me.  

And, oh yeah, stay to the right and pass on the left.  Yeah, right . . . 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×