zigzag930 wrote:Today, I decided to raise the all-round light on the T-top of my 210 Outrage. The addition of a radome made seeing the white light very difficult from dead ahead, and that has bothered me and is against the Navigation Rules.
Thanks for the information on raising the height of the white all-round light pole lamp.
In 2002 there was an incident involving the collision of a USCG 24-foot boat, which was actually a 1997 Boston Whaler GUARDIAN 24 boat, and another power boat, the vessel BAYSIDE BLASTER, in Florida. There were no fatalities in this collision, but the National Transportation Safety Board investigated this accident and published a report of their findings:
I mention this report in the context of your article about the location of the white all-round light because the USCG patrol boat was showing navigation lights that did not conform to the Navigation Rules. There were two problems: the vertical separation between the sidelights and the white all-round light was only 1-foot; and the RADAR antenna was found to be blocking the light from the white all-round lamp for about 10-degrees on either side of dead ahead. Boston Whaler had not delivered the boat to the USCG in this condition. Originally the sidelights were located at the bow, the boat did not have a T-top, and the white all-round light was presumably aft of the console. The report notes:
NTSB Report wrote:The red and green sidelights were moved from the bow area to the forward outside
corners of the T-top when it was installed in 2001. The white all-around light was also
moved to the T-top and installed on top of a 1-foot extension aft of the radar antenna.
Safety Board investigators examined the boat involved in the accident and found that the
radar antenna partially blocked the white all-around light for about 10° on either side of
The report goes on to mention:
Navigation Lights on Coast Guard Patrol Boats. During the inspection of the
damaged Coast Guard patrol boat, Safety Board investigators observed that the boat's
white all-around light was blocked for about 10° each side of dead ahead by a radar
antenna dome that had had been installed about 1 month before the accident. As a result of
Safety Board investigators' conversations with the commanding officer, the [all-round]
light on the station's other 24-foot patrol boat was inspected and found to be similarly
obstructed. The light was correctly repositioned on January 15, 2002.
On January 29, 2002, the station sent a message to Coast Guard headquarters that
outlined the obstructed-light problem so that other stations might learn about the [problem]. On
two separate occasions in August 2002, one of the Safety Board investigators
investigating this accident advised Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Boat Forces that
he had observed two nonstandard boats (not in the Miami AOR) whose [all-round] white
navigation lights were obscured by radar domes in front of the light. Those observations
prompted Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Safety to send an ALCOAST message on
September 5, 2002, to all stations having nonstandard boats. The message acknowledged
that the obscuration of masthead lights on Coast Guard nonstandard boats by installed
equipment was a problem of national scope that had been identified during the "Bayside
Blaster" accident investigation. Consequently, Coast Guard headquarters required that all
boats display proper unobscured [all-round] white lights, in accordance with the Inland
I don't know the exact content of the advisory the USCG sent out, but I wonder if they also mentioned the need to have a 1-meter vertical separation between the sidelights and the white all-round light.
The other vessel involved, BAYSIDE BLASTER, also had deficiencies in its navigation lighting:
Postaccident examination of the Bayside Blaster by the Coast Guard in Miami
showed that the sidelights were not properly screened, resulting in arcs of visibility
approximately 30° greater than required; that the arc of visibility of the masthead light was
somewhat less than required; and that the vertical separation between the masthead light
and the gunwale was less than the required minimum.
Somewhat curiously in my opinion, the NTSB findings opined on the improper navigation lights of the two boat as follows:
Although both vessels had technical deficiencies in the configuration of their
navigation lights, they were sufficiently lighted to alert other mariners of their
presence, and the deficiencies did not contribute to the cause of the accident.
In this accident, there were much clearer causes of the collision, including the speed of the USCG boat, which was reported to be moving at high-speed inspite of the waterway at the impact being a no-wake zone. The NTSB gave the navigation lighting deficiencies a pass.
The report is quite an interesting document to read, in particular in regard to the condition of the Boston Whaler GUARDIAN 24 after the collision: it was a total loss. As a result of the collision, the T-top and the center console were torn from their mountings and toppled over. In regard to that outcome, I have to wonder if the T-Top attachment to the deck was something the USCG engineered and fitted themselves. I would expect if the T-Top were a Boston Whaler rigged item it would have greater mechanical strength at its fastening to the deck. If interested, read the report
for more information.