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Anchor Light Requirements

USCG anchor light requirements for inland waterways.

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The Inland Rules have specific requirements as to anchor lights. That rule is quoted below, as is the USCG site reference.

Anchored Mount Models

A 360-degree white all-around masthead light with two-mile visibility normally fulfills this requirement for most pleasure boats, but familiarize yourself with and follow the rule. Wire gauge, length of wiring, connections and battery condition can affect a light's performance. Follow manufacturer's instructions to ensure compliance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. If you have one of the newer LED anchor lights, it may not be as bright as earlier lights. Be sure that the manufacturer specifies in writing that it meets USCG requirement.

Displaying a proper anchor light when anchored at night isn't merely a matter of law. It's a matter of safety for you and others. Even if the boat is in a known or designated anchorage area, dinghies and other boats may be traveling in that area and will need to know the location of your boat. People have been severely injured and killed because a skipper decided that he'd not burn an anchor light.

Following is Rule 30 of the Rules found here .

Rule 30 - Anchored Vessels and Vessels Aground

Anchor Light

(a) A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen:

(i) in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball;

(ii) at or near the stern and at a lower level than the light prescribed in subparagraph (i), an all-round white light.

(b) A vessel of less than 50 meters in length may exhibit an all-round white light where it can best be seen instead of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule.

(c) A vessel at anchor may , and a vessel of 100 meters and more in length shall, also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks.

(d) A vessel aground shall exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule and in addition, if practicable, [Inld] where they can best be seen;

(i) two all-round red lights in a vertical line;

(ii) three balls in a vertical line.

(e) A vessel of less than 7 meters in length, when at anchor not in or near a narrow channel, fairway or where other vessels normally navigate, shall not be required to exhibit the shape prescribed in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule.

(f) A vessel of less than 12 meters in length, when aground, shall not be required to exhibit the lights or shapes prescribed in subparagraphs (d)(i) and (ii) of this Rule.

(g) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length, when at anchor in a special anchorage area designated by the Secretary, shall not be required to exhibit the anchor lights and shapes required by this Rule. [Inld]

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Navigation Lights for Sailboats (And How To Read Them)

Navigation Lights for Sailboats (And How To Read Them) | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Capt Chris German

June 15, 2022

Navigation lights on a sailboat can be confusing. If you understand the reason behind why they are the way they are however, they can make a lot more sense.

At their heart, sailboats are really just a power boat and as such must adhere to all power boat rules such as navigation lights. Other times however, a sailboat is classified in a special category. They have a set of additional lights they CAN show as an option, but are not always required to do so.

That’s about as clear as mud if you ask me and I contend that that is where the confusion about lighting a sailboat begins.

Just because you can show a light to identify yourself in times of low visibility, does not mean you have to and then we add in a little sibling rivalry between power and sail and things get downright adversarial when it comes to navigation and the night.

Table of contents

The USCG says You’re a Power Boat Whether You Like It or Not

Much to the consternation of many a sailor who has earned a commercial license to drive their sailboat, when you received your credential from the USCG it says you are a master of steam and power across the top with no mention of wind as a source of propulsion.

It is not until you read the back pages of your little red book that feels like a passport and looks like a US Sailing credential, that you will see the term “sail auxiliary”. That is because most of the time the U.S. Coast Guard knows that you are primarily reliant on your mechanical power to propel your vessel.

It's a sad thing, but the days of commercially viable sail boats are done and all but the most select few even have sails let alone use them as their primary power source. All sail boats by law are powerboats, but not all powerboats are sailboats.

Navigation Lights for a Power Boat

As a power boat, you are required to show certain lights and have been required to do so before power was even invented. 

In the days of man powered vessels like the viking ships who relied on oars while in close quarters to power their vessels, they needed to show other boats, friend or foe, where they were by showing lanterns in the dark to identify themselves. As you know, it is a time honored rule among all the nations of the world both past and present, that you must avoid a collision at all costs while at sea and even the viking knew that you should not run into things.

By lighting the front and back of your boat, you could warn other boats of your presence as well as identify which way you were heading. As such there is a very specific rule in the Code of Federal Regulations Number 46 (CFR46 by common name) that spells out with detail how many, the color, the luminosity or brightness, the angle of visibility and the location of all of the lights required for navigation on every single boat, seaplane, submarine and other nondescript vessel conceived by man to date that they must show while underway in reduced visibility.

And there is no flexibility in the rules.

As such a power boat, and by extension all sailboats, MUST, without question show one green light on the starboard bow and one red light on the port bow and one all around white light or lights while operating in reduced visibility. These lights should shine at all 360 degrees of visibility with the bow lights shining at an angle of dead ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam and the stern lights shining 225 degrees dead aft. A forward facing masthead light that is white in color shall shine forward to comply with the directive that all vessels must carry an all around white light. For more read here .

As you can see, there isn’t much wiggle room when it comes to lights that must be shown.

Sailboats get a little flexibility with lights

Sailboats however, are a little different when they are in fact sailboats, which is only when you are entirely reliant on the wind for power and in no way reliant on any mechanical or manual means of propulsion. And for good reason.

Back in the day when men were men and sailboats were wooden, fire was a major concern. Sails were coated with wax and other flammable substances and the wood on boats was saturated with oils and grease. Even the ropes were plant materials saturated with oils to keep them pliable and strong.

Add those highly flammable substances to a parching environment like the sea and you had what was essentially a giant floating tinderbox.

Then tell that giant floating tinderbox that they need to identify themselves to the world at large at night using oil lamps with flames because batteries and lights were not invented yet. It didn't take very long or very many ships burning to the water line for the Governments to say to the sailboats, you get to do things a little different.

As such, sailboats are given special dispensation when it comes to lights aloft. They don't have to show an all around white light in their rigging because no one wanted to set their rig on fire with oil lamps 60 feet up in their rig.

However, when a sailboat takes their sails down such as when they are powered or at anchor, they must resume the display of an all around white light or lights aloft. That became a real challenge with aluminum masts and the disappearance of rat lines on the shrouds because there was no easy way to climb the rig and check the bulbs up the mast on a regular basis. 

Red over Green Sailing Machine

I have no idea where the history of this particular light comes from, but if you ever take a deck exam with the USCG, you better remember this mnemonic. An all around red light over an all around green may be displayed on a vessel during times of reduced visibility to indicate that a vessel is operating under sail power alone. 

I won’t even speculate on how or why they came up with this particular light configuration, but if you want to use these lights as a sailing vessel, you can do so, but that means that you will need three all round lights at the top of your mast, an all around white, an all around red and an all around green, just in that order.

The red over green is to be displayed in addition to the running lights or the red and green bow lights with the 225 degree stern light. As always, when the motor comes on, so does the steaming light or the forward facing white light that is also usually about ¾ of the way up on your mast to complete the requirement of an all around white light that indicates a power vessel.

What is a “steaming light” and why are you mentioning it now?

Most sailboat electrical panels will have a switch that is labelled “steaming light” and it will only come on when your anchor light is off. This is probably the most confusing part of sailboat navigation lights so if you are confused about this, you're in good company as most people are. 

A “steaming” light is named thusly, going back to the days of steam powered sailboats where when they fired up their boilers and doused the sails, they became a power boat once again. There aren’t too many steam powered boats, let alone steam powered sailboats, but the name stuck and it is a vestige of a bygone era.

Either way, when you fire up your motor, you turn on your “steaming light” and that locks out the all around white light which is used for anchoring to minimize the number of switches on your panel and reduce the number of wires in your mast. The fewer wires, the less chance of something not working or becoming disconnected.

The steaming light and the anchor light both go up the mast, but you can’t use an all around white light while using the 225 degree stern light at the deck level because to other boaters you would look like you have two white lights from the stern and that would be confusing.

The anchor light is used exclusively for anchoring while the steaming light is used to indicate you are a power vessel while underway.

As to why I am mentioning it now in the article, is because this would have blown your mind if I started with this subject cause it can be really confusing stuff.

Aspect Recognition with Lights

Remember when I said earlier that lights can help you tell others which way you are heading as well as tell you which way other boats are heading? That is called the aspect of the vessel and the USCG tests you on this for your deck exam as well. 

Knowing that the bow lights go 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on both sides or 112.5 degrees on each side, and the stern light faces 225 degrees aft for a total of 360 degrees of visibility, you can tell a lot about where a boat is heading and who has the right of way.

One thing that's easy to remember is red means stop and if you see a vessel's red light, it means stop as you are the give way vessel and approaching the other vessel from his port side. Conversely it works with green as well as that means you are approaching from the other vessel's starboard side and you are the standon vessel.

If you see a red and green light equally low on the horizon, that means your heading dead on into another vessel's path and conversely if all you see is a white light low on the horizon, it means you are overtaking another vessel power or sail, we don’t care because it is an overtaking situation. However, any time you do see a white light aloft in addition to the red and green bow lights, you know you are encountering a power boat.

Then there are angular approaches as well, where you see white and red or white and green light low on the horizon. You know in that case you are seeing a portion of the bow lights and stern lights from the side approaches of a vessel. Based on which direction those lights are heading, you can deduce which way that boat is going in relation to your boat.

So put it all together and you see a green light and a white light low on the horizon with a red over green light aloft, you know that you are approaching a sailboat that is traveling to your port and that might make you the standon vessel. That is of course, if we didn’t concern ourselves with windward and leeward and port tacks and starboard tacks, but that is a discussion for another article. So stay tuned when we talk about sailing rules and the right of way. But for now, do good, have fun and sail far.

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Capt Chris German is a life long sailor and licensed captain who has taught thousands to sail over the last 20 years. In 2007, he founded a US Sailing-based community sailing school in Bridgeport, CT for inner city youth and families. When Hurricane Sandy forced him to abandon those efforts, he moved to North Carolina where he set out to share this love for broadcasting and sailing with a growing web-based television audience through The Charted Life Television Network.

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Navigation Lights for Sailboats (And How To Read Them)

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Yachting Monthly

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Tried and tested: Anchor lights & where they should be fitted

  • Duncan Kent
  • April 26, 2020

Still relying on an old hurricane lamp at anchor? Duncan Kent tests the latest electric anchor lights

Anchor lights

We range-tested the lights from a yacht moored off Calshot in Southampton Water Credit: Colin Work

Anchor lights have changed rapidly over the past few years, partly due to the shift from incandescent filament bulbs to LEDs.

In addition to navigation lights, another area important to all cruising sailors is visibility when anchored.

Some skippers just hoist an old oil-powered hurricane lamp up a halyard, others deploy converted solar garden lamps, but if you really want to avoid being hit in the early hours by a latecomer to the anchorage it’s surely best to ensure your anchor light is clearly visible from a good distance.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Nowadays, the problem of high current drain from your boat’s lights should be in the past.

Modern LED ‘bulbs’ are rapidly overtaking the old, inefficient filament-type bulbs, proving to be equally bright – brighter in many cases – and with a fraction of their power demands.

Being nearly 10 times as power-efficient as standard filament bulbs, as well as considerably more resistant to vibration and impact, they appear to be the ideal solution for all sailing boat lights.

They can be left on without the worry of flattening the ship’s batteries, but also the wiring required to power them can be reduced in size, minimising weight aloft where masthead and steaming lights are situated.

Wiring them up

LEDs are wired in a similar way to filament units. Although they are polarity sensitive, most can be wired up either way and they will still work, thanks to integral diode correction circuitry.

At worst, they simply won’t light if you reverse positive and negative, until you swap the wires over.

It is worth mentioning at this point that if you intend to keep the same wiring and just change the lamp or bulb to a lower power LED type, the circuit protection fuse or breaker must remain the same value as it is there to protect the wiring, not the device.

Reliability and lifespan

Almost as important as low power consumption is reliability.

When a masthead bulb blows, someone has to change it – something few sailors are inclined to do at sea.

Being less vulnerable to the typical jarring the masthead is likely to experience in rough sea states, LEDs are far less likely to blow during a bumpy passage.

In fact, most of the top quality units are quoted as having a 50,000-hour lifespan! F

or this reason it’s not surprising they are currently quite a bit more expensive than the incandescent bulb types, but this is likely to change once LED navlights become the norm.

Changing bulbs to LEDs

Many boat owners have converted their incandescent navigation lights to LED by simply swapping existing filament-type bulbs with the equivalent LED clusters.

Early LEDs were not very powerful and therefore not necessarily visible over the legally required range.

Nowadays, however, with the integration of miniature voltage regulators, most decent-quality LED clusters can accept any voltage between 10v and 30v DC, whilst retaining full brightness, regardless of the battery condition or voltage fluctuation.

Top quality LED clusters are encapsulated in resin to prevent water ingress.

Though more expensive, it makes sense to fit this sort, particularly to a masthead-mounted unit, to avoid the climb to replace it.

Despite the longevity of LEDs, bulb replacement clusters suffer the same problems with dirty or corroded contacts as filament bulbs, so it’s a good idea to grease up their contacts with silicone grease before installing them.

How we tested the anchor lights

A man hanging a light in the fore triangle of a yacht

We hung the anchor lights in the fore triangle, but tested them individually

In this test we took a selection of typical modern anchor lights – a mix of masthead mounting and hoistable types – and tested their visibility from a mile away to see if the new LED types were genuinely as easy to see from a distance as the traditional filament bulb models.

Taking all the anchor lights out on the editor’s boat late one June evening, we picked up a buoy in Calshot Bay and hung the lights in the foretriangle of the yacht, around 2.5m above deck level.

At first we tried lighting five of them at once, to see if we could compare them together, but 150m away the light started to merge into one bright blob, so we reverted to testing each one individually.

Testing current of a light using an ammeter

Testing the current draw of each light using an ammeter

I set off across Southampton Water in our RIB, having set the boat as a mark on my GPS, so that I knew when I was exactly one nautical mile from the yacht.

Then, communicating via VHF radio, we lit each light and judged by eye as to how bright, white and clear to see they were – scoring them out of 10.

We did consider using a spot-beam analyser, but in the end the human eye is by far the most accurate detector of distant lights and, after all, that’s exactly what would happen in real life.

Later, back on land, we powered them up again to check their actual current consumption using an ammeter.

Where should an anchor light be fitted?

A man hanging up an anchor light

On the boom end, masthead or hung in the foretriangle? Colregs say you shouldn’t show more than one

Every time I go off for a week, or even a long weekend, I spend as much time as possible at anchor.

There’s something about being in charge of your own destiny that culminates in a night at anchor.

After a good day’s sail I often end up entering an anchorage after dark, picking my way through a forest of unlit masts and almost imperceptible hull silhouettes.

Most boats are poorly lit – if at all – and the few that are lit have an all-round white light at the top of their mast, which boatbuilders these days like to call an anchor light.

The masthead anchor light came about to make life easy for builders.

Wires have to go up to mast for a tricolour ( de rigueur for today’s small to medium-size cruisers), so why not take one more up for an all-round white ‘anchor’ light?

In the Colregs, Rule 30(b) simply states that for a vessel under 50m LOA ‘an all-round white light should be placed where best seen’.

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Traditionally, this always meant hanging it in the foretriangle. An anchor light at the masthead was never a consideration until a couple of decades ago.

Anyway, the purpose of the anchor light is not to satisfy regulations, but to enable your vessel to be seen by others so that they can take avoiding action.

Being keen to light up my rig or decks to an incoming vessel, rather than show a light 40ft up my mast where it often gets lost in amongst the jumble of shore lights surrounding many anchorages, I often hang mine from the stern end of the boom, raising it to ensure it is visible above the sprayhood.

This also serves as a useful cockpit light when eating al fresco on warm summer evenings.

However, there is a point to the old custom of hanging it in the foretriangle: it gives some indication of where your anchor cable is laid out, so that others can avoid snagging it when they drop their own hook.

This is particularly useful in crowded anchorages, where swinging room can be tight.

Anchor lights tested

Boatlamp portable anchor light .

Boatlamp portable anchor light 

A hoisting ring would have been useful

Most portable anchor/cockpit lights plug into a 12V socket, but this one comes with a choice of LED clusters and has an automatic dawn-to-dusk switch to save power when the sun is up but you’re not.

Boatlamp portable anchor light 

Boatlamp Portable Anchor Light

Both the standard 1.3W (6-LED) and the more power-hungry 3W, 15-LED version worked very well, and even the 1.3W model could be seen clearly from 1nm.

Current draw: 1.3W/46mA; 3W/115mA

Range: 1nm/2nm

Brightness: 5/10; 6/10

Price: From £27.50

Buy it now from eBay (UK)

Buy it now from eBay (US)

Hella Compact NaviLED 360 – Best on test

Hella Compact NaviLED 360

The unit has a five-year warranty

This light is fully sealed and has a heavy-duty, polyamide lens and UV-resistant, high-impact nylon housing designed to provide outstanding resistance to vibration and impact.

It is waterproof to IP67. Its 90mm diameter, round base can be black or white with three holes for mounting flat.

Hella Compact NaviLED 360

Hella Compact NaviLED 360

Prewired with a 1.3m cable, it operates over a wide voltage range, using electronics to ensure consistent brightness.

Its five-year warranty won’t cover faulty LEDs.

Current draw: 110mA

Brightness: 7/10

Price: From £101.70

Buy it now at Amazon (US)

Buy it now at eBay (UK)

Buy it now at eBay (US)

Hella NaviLED 360 pole-mount 

Hella NaviLED 360 pole-mount 

Power draw matched the Compact version

Almost identical to the Compact with the same 1.3m lead, only it comes on a short (155mm high) aluminium pole with a two-hole, screw-down plastic base mount.

Hella NaviLED 360 pole-mount 

Hella NaviLED 360 pole-mount

The info and packaging claims a mere 1W consumption, but it drew exactly the same current as the 2W Compact and appeared to be equally as bright, so my guess is they are the same light just on a different mounting.

Price: From £125.80

Buy it now at Amazon (UK)

Lopolight

Mounts as an anchor light or a steaming light

The virtually bombproof Lopolight’s sophisticated circuitry regulates its output over time.

LEDs dim with age so a monitor counts ‘on’ hours and gradually increases current to compensate.

The Lopolight operates from 10-32v DC and power spikes are absorbed.

It uses top spec, 3mm LEDs in a UV-stable acrylic lens within a rugged, anodised aluminium housing. Electronics are sealed in epoxy.

Anchor lights

Designed to masthead mount with a 750mm cable, it can be wired as a 360deg, a 225deg (steaming) light or both.

Current draw: 202mA

From: £443.02

NASA Supernova – Best value for money

Anchor lights

A membrane equalises pressure on the seals

NASA Marine was one of the first to produce LED navlights, including the Supernova 2nm all-round white anchor light.

It has 32 high-efficiency LEDs to ensure minimal power consumption, which are encased in a tough, waterproof polycarbonate shell.

Anchor lights

NASA Supernova

Each comes with a black-painted steel bracket that is designed to be bent to conform to the correct shape for your boat, which supports a simple clamp that tightens around the short pole supplied with the light.

A 250mm cable enters the unit via a clamp-sealed grommet.

Current draw: 189mA

Brightness: 6/10

Price: From £60.00

Navi Light 360 

Navi Light 360 

Our ‘most useful to have around’ winner

It’s AAA battery-powered, waterproof and floats light-side up. While not designed as a permanent anchor light, it’s a useful emergency all-round light, easy to use and well made.

A magnetic back and detachable panel allows it to be used in many ways, including on the head strap provided.

Navi Light 360  Anchor light

Navi Light 360

Its 16 powerful LEDs can be seen clearly from two miles as a steaming or stern light, or flashing.

We used it as a navlight on the RIB, and it was clearly seen a mile away – even in economy mode with four LEDs lit.

Duration: Full 15hrs; 4-LED 72hrs

Price: From £59.99

Buy it now from Amazon (UK)

Buy it now from Amazon (US)

Aqua Signal Series 40 

Aqua Signal Series 40

A more traditional lamp for filament or LED bulbs

A larger lamp than the other units we tested, Aqua Signal’s Series 40 can be bought as either a masthead mount or a hoistable lamp.

It is supplied with a 10W incandescent bulb as standard, but easily took our bayonet fitting Searolf 30-LED cluster as a simple, direct replacement.

Aqua Signal Series 40

Aqua Signal Series 40

The lamp is robustly made and looks pretty tough, although it doesn’t claim to be completely waterproof.

Current draw: 1.4A

Price: From £82.95

Web: www.marathonleisure.com

Anchor Lights: the results

Every piece of kit Yachting Monthly tests is thoroughly examined against three key criteria

Performance: How well can they be seen over a distance of 1nm? Did they shine with a white or coloured light?

Power efficiency: How much power do they consume? Can you leave them on all night without flattening the batteries?

Value for money: Does the product’s performance justify its price-tag for the average cruising sailor?

All the anchor lights we tested were guaranteed to be visible from at least 2nm – the standard for a yacht up to 20m LOA.

With traditional filament lamps this roughly equates to a 10W filament bulb or a 3W LED cluster.

It’s not necessary to have a really bright light that can be seen for several miles – in fact it can often be misleading for vessels further offshore.

It’s really only when entering an anchorage that you’re interested to see where other boats are.

At no more than 200m a really bright light can be quite distracting to a newcomer to the anchorage on a dark night.

For this reason visibility up to one mile was all we sought.

It would be short-sighted not to choose an LED light for anchor duty, given their meagre power needs.

However, they are generally quite a bit more expensive than standard filament lamps, especially the sealed types.

* Yachting Monthly is not paid by manufacturers for our recommendations. If you click through and buy an item, we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer, at no cost to you. *

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  • The Purpose of Boat Anchor Lights

• 5 years, 6 months ago

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With all of its risks and rewards, boating during the day can be complicated enough, so it follows that boating at night is an even more complex task, as the darkness adds to all the factors present in brighter hours. Anchor lights, the lights that are visible when a boat is anchored at night, are a key factor in making nighttime boating both easier and safer. 

If you only take your boat to a designated mooring and never plan on anchoring, then it is not necessary for you to use an anchor light. However, unexpected things always happen on the ocean, so no matter what your plan is, it is best to be prepared for nearly any possible situation.

Types of Anchor Lights

The term “anchor light” refers only to the state the boat is in when it is being used, and has nothing to do with the physical anchor itself. If you have spent some time on the water, you have undoubtedly seen at least one — many of them look like a light on a stick, to put it plainly. On sailboats, anchor lights are placed at the top of the mast, while anchor lights on a motorboat are placed near the bow or stern.  Lights for this purpose are increasingly in the form of LED lights, which have less of a drain on the battery. If you are concerned about battery drain, another option is to purchase lights that are charged with solar energy so you can power them up during the day and turn them on at night. Make sure that the charge will last through the night, though!

As with anything that involves the safety of boaters, there are regulations surrounding what types of anchor lights are to be used and how they are to be used. 

Regulations and Safety on Anchor Lights

The types and numbers of anchor lights that you must display vary depending on the type of boat that you have. Anchor lights must be all-around white lights, which means that the bulb cannot at any point be restricted. This means that the key to placing an anchor light is to put it where it is visible for 360 degrees. Anchor lights must be placed higher than any other navigational lights, which is the reason that many are placed on a steel pole. 

Vessels under 50 meters must display one white all-around anchor light on the highest point of the boat, which must be visible for two miles when visibility is clear. If your vessel is over 100 meters, you must display the light on the masthead or other highest point, in addition to other lights that illuminate your decks so that the shape and size of your boat can be clearly discerned.

Sailboats with masthead anchor lights may also want to consider an additional cockpit light as a safety measure, as boats that are low to the water may on occasion not have a line of visibility to the masthead and as a result could come into contact with your boat.

Sometimes having an anchor light turned on many seem like an unnecessary waste of power, or if you are in a designated anchorage even perhaps silly. Think of it instead as a liability issue — if anyone crashes into your boat during the night, whether it is a dinghy or a supertanker, you are at fault if you do not have an anchor light. Boats are expensive enough to begin with; you do not want to risk having to pay for damages if someone else caused them.

In some specially designated anchorages, it is not necessary to have an anchor light. These anchorages have been determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security and are not just anchorages maintained by a particular town or club, so never assume that an anchorage will not require you to have an anchor light. 

Whether or not the anchorage you are using requires you to have an anchor light, it is always better to be safe, particularly in an environment as untamed as the ocean. No matter what size or type of boat you have, you should always have an anchor light to use if necessary. As with many other components of your boat, regularly check to make sure the anchor light is approved by the Coast Guard, so you can be sure you are getting the best product. 

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Extra Anchor Lighting

Masthead anchor lights often aren’t enough in crowded anchorages..

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When summer comes, a dozen or more sparkling white lights will adorn every popular anchorage. Visible from miles away, they promise to provide good warning to approaching boats that something is anchored there. In practice, they have manifold shortcomings. They all look alike, distance is impossible to gauge, and they can be difficult to distinguish from stars and shore lights. Fast-moving dinghies and runabouts often overlook them, since they are far above the driver’s sight line.

The basic rules for anchor lights were written in 1846-1850. The United Kingdom led with the Steam Navigation Act of 1846, and the US followed soon after. Electric lamps had not been invented, confusion with background lights was a minor concern, and a single lantern was considered enough. But is it now?

COLREGS states in Rule 5 (long before we get to the description of lights in Rule 30) that we must maintain a watch. There is no exemption for smaller vessels or while at anchor. Since this is impractical for the cruising sailor, and because nighttime harbor collisions are unfortunately common, taking additional steps in the form of supplemental lighting seems prudent.

OBSERVATIONS

When entering a harbor or any area that might have anchored boats, watch out for a relatively bright star that is moving in relation to the others. That’s a mast light indicating a boat. And if you are approaching that boat, the motion will be even less obvious. Once you learn how difficult this can be on a moonless night, you will understand our call for supplemental lighting.

Our opinion is that anchoring in an active harbor requires lighting both high and low. A masthead anchor light can be lost in the cloud of anchor lights and stars. An anchor light placed lower can be lost against the background of street lights and porch lights. So while the lower light could be a second anchor light product—COLREGS 30 (a) says it can be—an area light may better serve the purpose by illuminating the deck and super structure. COLREGS 30 (b) says you may display additional work lights, and we think you should.

A powerful spreader-mounted deck light may be too much, disturbing your neighbors. In principle they are focused downward, but some light up the whole harbor.

Cabin lights generally impart a glow to the whole boat, making the outline clear, but you can’t sleep with them on. Allowing for tinting and curtains, they are generally visible for only ¼- to ½-mile, depending on intensity. Cockpit lights draw mosquitoes to the companionway; if you leave cabin lights or the cockpit light on and go to shore for dinner, you may return to a cabin full of the pests. Put the screens in before you leave. Sometimes we set a light on the pulpit to draw them away from the companionway. Don’t forget radio interference. LEDs require current regulation, which is most often accomplished by a combination of resistors and rapid switching of the power using transistors. If the voltage drop is sufficient, this will cause radio frequency interference. Most interference is contained within the boat’s own power system, where it interferes with your radio and instruments, but it can also radiate a short distance.

Lights that show an FCC or USCG approval have been tested for radio frequency interference (RFI). In our testing, the RFI of low-voltage solar lights, which lack the approval of either agency, are too low to be a problem. At a minimum, scan that full range of VHF frequencies after installing any new lighting.

No flashing or strobe lights, please. This is reserved for signaling distress and can annoy your neighbors.

SOLAR PATHWAY LIGHTS

Designed for lighting footpaths ashore, these cheap lights intrigued us. Most solar pathway lights claim 8-hour run time, but all the ones we have used go dim after 4-6 hours and wink out well before first light. The solar panels are really tiny. Although they require only a few watt-hours to recharge the battery, they need at least 4-6 hours of full sun for best results.

Units we tested in broken shade usually fully recharged, but those in deep shade often winked out hours earlier. Likewise, overcast and rainy days can slightly reduce run time.

Swapping the factory NiCads (0.600 Ah) for lithium rechargeables (2.3 Ah) seemed like a good idea. Fully charged, they kept the lights on for two nights, but then failed to recharge because they require a higher charging voltage than the factory NiCads, more than the solar panel puts out. Also note that not all lithium batteries are rechargeable, and not all lithium rechargeables are 1.5V (some are 3.2V).

Don’t overdo it. Decorative lighting and strips can obscure your functional navigations lights. Observe your boat from all directions with all the lights on. Are the basic navigation lights clearly visible and the course of the boat obvious? Any supplemental or decorative lights that could interfere with clear recognition of your functional navigation lights must be turned off when underway.

Boats on moorings. For moored boats, we’d install enough built-in solar panels to run a conventional masthead anchor light through the main battery system.

Although there are photocell systems that will turn lights off during the day, a low-draw LED anchor light draws little more than the sensing circuit, so you can just leave it on. We don’t fully trust the durability of any of the solar pathway lights, so we would install one additional anchor light down low, with a separate switch.

For anchoring while aboard, or for a short hiatus away from the boat, a few of the Hampton Bay Silver Pathway Lights should make your boat easy to find and will make it more visible.

Technically, anchor lights are not required for boats under 23 feet (7 meters) in length, but to leave your boat unlit at anchor or mooring is risking trouble. Light your boat, even if it’s just a dinghy.

SUPPLEMENTAL LIGHTS

There are literally hundreds of possibilities, so we’ll discuss only a few, highlighting what we do and do not like (see also PS May, 2011 “ Portable LED Rail Lights ” )

MANTUS SNAP ON LIGHT

Initially, we thought this was a bit pricey for a battery-powered light, but over time we realized it filled the roles of several products, a good thing on a smaller boat.

On the high setting, it is as bright as most cockpit lights and will run for 16 hours. Switched to either low or red, it spreads an even light that does not compromise night vision, perfect for reading charts or tidying up underway. Clamped to a high railing, it meets the candela basis of a USCG anchor light; we’ve confirmed this on the water. It makes our F-24 easier to find when return from a mid-night kayak trip.

It makes a good non-glaring bilge worklight; we’ve dropped it in the water enough times to confirm that it’s waterproof. Clamped to the pulpit it makes a bow worklight, though we would use a head lamp for most night deckwork. It even has an SOS flasher setting. Although it does not meet the standard for an eVDSD (Electronic Visual Distress Signal), it will supplement other signaling means (see PS June 2021, “ Distress Flares Go Electric ”).

Finally, it is rechargeable by USB, and now that most of us have a port somewhere on the boat, it will always be charged without lugging around another charger.

Bottom line: Recommended as a small boat supplemental and a non- USCG emergency anchor light.

HAMPTON BAY PATHWAY LIGHTS

Most pathway lights direct the light downwards, toward your feet, with little escaping to the sides. They light up the cockpit a bit, but you can’t see them from a distance. Hampton Bay Silver Pathways lights, on the other hand, direct the light horizontally, perfect for viewing from a distance.

Though not as well focused as an anchor light, the mere 15 lumens output was clearly visible at 1-mile and very nearly meets the 2-mile anchor light visibility standard. The low profile allows them to be slapped on any flat surface with self-adhesive Velcro. We love the price, but unfortunately they only run 4-6 hours, meaning they will protect you from late arrivals and wee hour drunks, but will not stay lit until first light.

Bottom line: This is our Budget Buy for supplemental lighting. Do not expect the light to be on at 2 or 3 a.m. in the morning.

EMERGENCY ANCHOR LIGHTS

Our search for temporary lights took us into the realm of temporary lights designed specifically for anchoring, and claiming to meet one or more marine specification.

DAVIS INSTRUMENTS MEGA LIGHT

Many small boat sailors use this as their primary anchor light, hanging it in the rigging. It is has a 15-foot cord.

The Mega-Light is still available with the original incandescent bulb (0.3 amps), and with that lamp installed, performs the same as it did in prior testing. We measured the bright beam width at +/- 8 degrees, and long distance visibility seemed enough to meet the standard.

However, on the newer LED lights, with a factory-installed LED bulb, the center of the bright beam is about 30 degrees above the horizon if mounted with the base down (and 30 degrees below the horizon if suspended from the base). In the areas outside this narrow bright band of light (within +/- 5 degrees of the horizon), the light is less than 10 percent of the required brightness. Although quite bright, the LED emits upwards instead of radially like the incandescent lamp does.

The LED also sits about 1/4-inch lower in the housing. When tilted 30 degrees, the lamp aligns with the fresnel lens and becomes much brighter. In practice this means that if it is suspended as suggested by the maker, the light is really only visible within 50-100 feet of the boat, with most of the beam being directed skyward.

Our experience offers an important lesson for DIY sailors looking to save some amps by swapping to a different bulb than the one specified. Navigation lights are only approved with the specific lamp that was used for approval testing—no changes allowed.

Another thing that bothers us is the cigarette lighter plug, but it’s not Davis Instrument’s fault that we have such an impractical industry standard. We’re hoping the boating industry moves to a better standard, perhaps the DIN 4165 Powerlet- style (see PS August 2021, “Watertight Connectors”).

Bottom line: The non-LED version is Recommended, but the LED version has a limited beam angle that restricts visibility. There are better low-draw options for deck level lighting.

TECNIQ TOWER LIGHT

Although intended for permanent installation, this USCG-compliant light is tiny, dirt cheap, and could easily be adapted to a rail clamp or other temporary mounting. The diameter is a perfect match for 2-inch PVC pipe, something we learned when installing one on the mast of our F-24. Because it is so low profile, we needed a short vertical extension to clear the wind instrument housing, a short stub of pipe boosted it just enough and gave us a place to hide the splices. Very low power draw and low price make it an outstanding choice for secondary low level anchor light for a boat kept at a mooring.

Bottom Line: Recommended for permanent installation or to make a custom plug-in.

ESAFETY S6LS SOLAR MARINE LANTERN

An improved version of the solar pathway lights, the S6LS has enough battery capacity to last 60 hours, getting you through a stretch of cloudy days. A local marina installed these on the outlying pilings several years ago, and we can see them at 2-miles, just about the same time the USCG fixed lights marking the harbor entrance come into the clear view.

Esafety also makes a slightly version (S8LS, 2-mile vis, 72-hour life, $85), suitable for a boat on a mooring. Too bad neither is USCG approved as an anchor light.

Bottom Line: Recommended for supplemental lighting and as an anchor light for moored boats that lack adequate battery power.

LANAKO SOLAR POSITIONING LIGHT

The solar power has clear advantages for boats that live on a mooring. In addition to the all-around white light, it also can serve as a tricolor light, and an SOS strobe. A wireless remote control determines which mode it will show. The strobe does meet the USCG carriage requirement for a visual distress signal. It has a convenient rail clamp.

Bottom Line: Recommended for moored boats that lack battery power.

HOW BRIGHT?

Supplemental lights don’t need to meet a specific standard, but if you are shopping around it helps to understand the output claims—usually expressed in lumens and candela.

A lumen is a measure of total light output in all directions, without focusing. Candela is the intensity of the light within the focused beam, which can be anything from a hemisphere in the case of an area light, down to a narrowly focused beam. If a light emits evenly in all directions it takes about 12.6 lumens of light emission to create 1 candela of intensity. An anchor light, on the other hand, with a beam focused into 6 degrees vertically and 360 degrees horizontally, can produce as much as 2 candela per lumen if the optics are just right, although the actual output is typically closer to 1 candela per lumen.

The 2-mile visibility requirement requires 4.3 candela. An unfocused area light will require 25-50 lumens to meet this standard. Garden lights are typically focused downwards, so the typical 10-lumen light will be visible for less than a mile. With less than perfectly adjusted night vision, PS testing suggests a few hundred yards is more realistic.

We performed additional visibility evaluation of the Mantus Snap-On Light and Hampton Bay Silver Pathway lights, photographing at distances up to 1-mile, calculating intensity, and measuring run time.

In the June 2021 article on electronic visual distress signalling devices, we reviewed the USCG standard. Four handheld products met the standard. None of the devices in this review meet this requirement. A flashing masthead light is not bright enough and does not have independent power supply that the eVSD

If you are considering an unfocused area light to serve as supplementary or backup anchor light, it should have an output of >50 lumens to approximate the visibility required for anchor lights. Be aware that any blocking or partial interference from cabin top structures will decrease visibility significantly.

SOS beacons, intended to be seen from many miles, require a very bright area light, approaching that of a flare. They are expected to be visible at 5 miles and clearly noticeable at a few miles. A blinking anchor light is not bright enough to meet the visual distress signaling standard and does not have its own power supply, which is required of a true eVSD.

WINCH MOUNT

The high point on our test boat’s superstructure is a cabin-top winch. We built a simple mount to keep a Hampton Bay Silver light level and secure from sliding off. We have a similar homemade winch mount we use for our camera.

The standard octagonal winch handle hole fits a 0.70-inch (17.8 mm) square about 1-inch long, and you can extend it as needed to clear low obstructions; we chose 2.5 inches as a compromise between visibility and stability. Teak is a good material; rot-proof, hard, and easy to work accurately.

The Hampton Bay Silver Pathway light was mounted to a 5-inch circle of ¾-inch wood with a counter sunk hole for the screw that secures it to the square winch adapter. (The camera mount uses the same size wood square, but is topped with the swivel portion of a cheap table-top tripod.) You can repurpose the socket of an old winch handle.

Alternatively, you can just place the light on the highest part of the cabin, secured by Velcro. We still recommend mounting the light to a disk of wood with screws, because this adds compression to the bottom plate and improves the weather sealing.

CONCLUSIONS

When we went ashore from our cruising cat, we’d leave the cockpit light on, and perhaps a few cabin lights. The cockpit light was not blocked by more than a few degrees in any direction and was quite visible, and the glow of cabin lights through the windows made the length and width of the boat obvious. If the anchorage was isolated, we’d turn off all but the anchor light at night, but if we expected late night traffic, we’d leave the cockpit light on for a bit of security. With our F-24, lacking an installed cockpit light or anything overhead to fasten it to, we clip a Mantus Snap-On Light to the stern rail. Both are about as bright as the anchor light, with the advantage of lighting up some portion of the deck as well.

What about emergency anchor lights? A plug-in light will do if the electrical system is still working, and generally it is. Turning on cockpit and cabin lights will work for a single night’s emergency. In the event of general electrical failure, a separate battery powered light also makes good sense. Locate it so that it is visible from all directions.

We’re not saying that supplemental lights are a substitute for a conventional USCG recognized anchor light. Not at all. You need that for compliance, because it is visible above shore lights, and because it is visible at a reliable distance. We’re saying that adding some light down low will make your boat easier to find and reduce the risk of things going bump in the night. Your fellow sailors will also appreciate the improved safety when navigating a crowded harbor at night.

VALUE GUIDE: SUPPLEMENTARY ANCHOR LIGHTS

BRAND MANTUS HAMPTON BAY TECNIQ ESAFETY LIGHTS LONAKO DAVIS 
TYPE Supplemental Supplemental Rechargeable Lithium Emergency Anchor Light Emergency Anchor Light Emergency Anchor Light 
MODEL Snap-On LED Silver Pathway Lights Tower Anchor Light Beacon Light S6LS LNK-PL-RGW Mega Light Utility 
USCG APPROVED No No Yes No No No
LUMENS 7-140 15 N/A N/A N/A N/A 
HORIZONTAL BEAM 1.5-28 cd 3.5 cd 4.5 cd 8 cd 5 cd 5 cd 
VISIBILITY (MILES) 1-3 >2 >2 >2 >2 
VERTICAL ARC (OUT OF 90 DEGREES) +90/-20 degrees +30/-15 degrees +6/-6 degrees +10/-10 degrees -12/+12 degrees -12/+12 degrees 
RUN TIME (HOURS) 16-156 hours 6-8 N/A 60 hours 10-12 N/A 
CURRENT DRAW N/A 200 mA 100 mA N/A N/A 23 mA 
POWER SOURCE Rechargeable via USB Solar Wired Solar Solar Wired or cigarette plug 
DIMENSIONS (W X H) 2.8" x 1.8" (plus clamp) 4.8" x 0.9" 2.5" x 1.2" 6.5" x 6.1 4.5" x 2.8" 1.9" x 2.6" 
PRICE (EACH) $69 $25 (4 pack) $18 $156 $85 $54 

Know the rules to prevent collisions and to avoid liability lawsuits.

All sailors should be familiar with the International COLREGS rule 30, which details the uniform requirements for ship lights. Below are excerpts of the important specifications with some italicized comments from our testers.

(a) A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen:

(i) in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball; and

(ii) at or near the stern and at a lower level than the light prescribed in subparagraph (i), an all-round white light.

(b) A vessel of less than 50 m in length may exhibit an allround white light where it can best be seen instead of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule.

(c) A vessel at anchor may, and a vessel of 100 meters and more in length shall, also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks.

Note that the anchor light does not have to be at the masthead, but rather where it can best be seen. The masthead is generally a good place, free of obstructions. The “where it can best be seen” requirement rules out very low locations, but there is no stipulation that it be placed high in the rigging or at the masthead, where it might be hard to see in a crowded anchorages. Note also that the placement and specifications for deck illumination lights is left open for the captain to decide.

Annex I provides additional detail that sailors are often less aware of:

9. Horizontal sector.

(b) (i) All-round lights shall be so located as not to be obscured by masts, topmasts or structures within angular sectors of more than 6°, except anchor lights prescribed in Rule 30, which need not be placed at an impractical height above the hull.

(ii) If it is impracticable to comply with paragraph

(i) of this section by exhibiting only one all-round light, two all-round lights shall be used suitably positioned or screened so that they appear, as far as practicable, as one light at a distance of one mile.

Practically speaking, this means that if a light is not mounted at the masthead, it must be above the cabin and canvas work, and it must be mounted about

10 times the mast diameter away from the mast to ensure that the mast will not excessively obscure the light. 10. Vertical sector.

(a) The vertical sectors of electric lights as fitted, with the exception of lights on sailing vessels underway, shall ensure that:

(i) at least the required minimum intensity is maintained at all angles from 5° above to 5° below the horizontal;

(ii) at least 60% of the required intensity is maintained from 7.5° above to 7.5° below the horizontal.

(b) In the case of sailing vessels underway the vertical sectors of electric lights as fitted shall ensure that:

(ii) at least 50% of the required minimum intensity is maintained from 25° above to 25° below the horizontal.

Because anchor lights are not used underway, they need not adhere to the sailboat beam angle requirement. Some lights we have tested met only the section (i) requirement of 5 degrees above and below the horizon, yet don’t indicate they are for powerboats only. These are hard to see when you get close to the boat, gradually dimming as you approach within 150-250 feet of the boat and under the focused band. Even sailboat lights with the broader beam angle dim when you get within a few boat lengths.

Additionally, this means that anchor lights that meet only part (a) vertical sector (5 degrees) must be mounted within a few degrees of plumb to avoid black-out zones. Even sailboat lights meeting part (b) appear dim when rigged out of plumb.

EMERGENCY LIGHTS

Cruise long enough and your anchor light will fail. The first night after the failure, anything that lights up the boat will help. Leave on the cockpit light, as well as deck lights and cabin lights, as needed to meet the intent of the rule (that the boat is visible from 2 miles away).

After that, a US Coast Guard approved anchor light is needed, as a matter of practicality and legality. In some areas local law enforcement target boats that lack a bright all-around light. If a boat collides with yours at night, attorneys could cite your inadequate lighting as an easy defense for their clients.

If you still have power, a plug-in emergency light will serve. The Davis Instruments Mega Light is probably the best known, or you can make your own from an inexpensive anchor light and a cord. Don’t string an emergency or supplemental light at an angle to get the required spacing from the mast. Don’t place it in an angled fishing rod holder. And no allowing it to swing free; it will appear to flash.

We’re not fans of cigarette plugs, which are not waterproof (see PS August 2021, “Waterproof Electrical Connectors”). Consider swapping the common cigarette plug for either an SAE 2-pin or DIN 4165 Powerlet-type plug.

To minimize maintenance, you can replace the masthead anchor light with a sealed LED unit. The bulb life is practically forever and corrosion is rarely a problem. Alternatively, you could find a new mounting location closer to the ground.

A dead battery or general electrical failure requires a portable unit, and low-draw LEDs and improvements in battery power have made these possible. The Mantus Snap-on Light is bright enough to meet the USCG requirements, and testers have used the Hampton Bay light on the transom of our kayak as a nighttime running light; it is bright, all around, flat for easy mounting with Velcro, and on the transom is out of the paddlers line-of-sight.

Many of the early solar powered garden lights converted for marine use with the addition of a plastic rail clamp turned out to be duds after a single season (see PS May 2011, “ Portable LED Lights ”). As prices for LEDs have dropped precipitously and the market for robust weatherproof garden lights has exploded, we’re seeing some terrestrial products that seem perfectly suited for use at sea.

Nevertheless, quality is highly variable in this category. This report looks at only a few of the many varieties on the market. We’ve tried several other types, but they weren’t worth the waste of ink. If you’ve found a reliable light that compares to what we have here, we’d be interested in hearing about it.

Extra Anchor Lighting

1. We built our own winch mount using a square wooden plug that fit neatly into the winch handle socket.

Extra Anchor Lighting

2. We also tried leaving it flat on the deck, secured by high strength hook and loop (Velcro) fasteners. This location made the light less visible at closer distances, but the main drawback was the vulnerability to being stepped on.

Extra Anchor Lighting

3. Although the solar charged Hampton Bay light is not specifically designed for marine use, it is meant for use outdoors, and its seals do a good job of keeping moisture at bay in the harsh marine environment.

Extra Anchor Lighting

4. We experimented by replacing the rechargeable NiCad batteries with rechargeable lithium ion batteries. They ran longer, but would not recharge fully on solar power.

MANTUS, www.mantusmarine.com

HAMPTON BAY, www.hamptonbay.com

TECNIQ, www.tecniqinc.com

ESAFETY, www.esafetylights.com

LONAKO, www.lonako.com

DAVIS INSTRUMENTS, www.davisinstruments.com

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I am really surprised that you did not include the Luci light in your choices. It is my go to option hanging on the davit at the back of our boat. It also doubles as a navigation light for the dinghy. It maintains its brightness thru the night and if it falls overboard it floats. Peter Clay

I love Luci lights have owned several but the hanging piece always breaks causing leakage way to quick. I actually sent my last one back after it lasted less then a month. If they fixed this issue I would buy a few of them to keep around.

I’d like to share my version of a supplemental solar powered anchor light. I bought what was back in 2018 listed as “the brightest solar path light” and modified it to hang from my port spreader by adding hanging wires of stainless steel seizing wire and a downhaul, and based on Practical Sailor’s recommendation that anchor lights should be blue to distinguish them from the white lights ashore, I made a cone out of blue plastic film from an art supply online source, and put that inside the clear plastic lens of the light. It shows up nicely from a distance when approaching the boat at night, and is certainly distinctive. The light is bright enough to light up the deck well enough at night to move about safely, although is not bright enough to do tasks. For that I still use a headlamp. Alas, that particular light is no longer being made, but the same idea could be applied to many other currently available lights. I’ve had to install new commonly available AA NiMH batteries twice since I started using it. They eventually poop out.

Hanging it from the spreader seems about ideal – high enough to be easily seen from a distance, but not so high as to blend in with shore lights.

I’d post a photo of the modified light, but your comment section doesn’t appear to allow that.

Another good lighting product is a lantern from luminAID ( https://luminaid.com ). The company makes various sizes of inflatable, floating lanterns which are solar charged. The light intensity can be varied and the shape makes the lantern easy to hang. I hang one from mid-boom and set it to illuminate most of the deck.

Another reason to buy from luminAID is they donate lanterns to people hit by disasters. In fact, you can buy and lantern and donate a lantern.

Mantus Rail light is the only way to go. They are rechargeable and last several days without charge and they go off automatically during daylight hours. Very robust and well made.

Most curious that the article did not include a kerosene lantern as an auxiliary, or primary, anchor light. They are a low tech solution that are utterly reliable. The only downside is the need for a supply of kerosene. My experience is that a few quart fuel bottles lasts an entire sailing season. It is a low tech solution worthy of consideration.

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TRI-COLOR ANCHOR LIGHTS BY ORCA GREEN MARINE Waterproof LED Tri-Color Anchor Lights with optional Photodiode and/or Strobe have quick disconnect plug with mating cable. Five times less power than comparable incandescent Tri-Color lights! Two (2) nautical miles visibility for vessels up to 65 feet (20 meters). Optional Photodiode automatically turns Anchor Light off at daylight, on at dusk. Optional Strobe LED flash once per second (60 strobes per minute). US Coast Guard Approved. For Mounting Bracket and other accessories please visit LED Light Accessories . Made in USA.

  • LED Tri-Color Anchor Light No Options, Base Model #LXTA $329.95
  • LED Tri-Color Anchor Light with Strobe #LXTA-S $359.95
  • LED Tri-Color Anchor Light with Photodiode #LXTA-P $369.95
  • LED Tri-Color Anchor Light with Strobe and Photodiode #LXTA-PS $389.95

: :

All-Around White LED Anchor Light by Orca Green Marine

ALL-AROUND WHITE LED ANCHOR LIGHT BY ORCA GREEN MARINE Rugged, waterproof White LED All-Around Anchor Light with 360° viewable. Two (2) nautical miles visibility for vessels up to 65 feet (20 meters) in accordance with United States Coast Guard Approved (used by USCG and other Military vessels since 2004). Optional Photodiode available. For Mounting Bracket and other accessories please visit LED Light Accessories . Made in USA.

  • Visibility: Two (2) Nautical Miles
  • Application: Sailboats Up to 65 Feet (20 Meters)
  • Voltage Range: 9 to 36 VDC
  • Current Draw: 0.2 Amps at 12 VDC
  • Horizontal Viewing Angle: 360 Degrees
  • Vertical Viewing Angle: +/- 18 Degrees
  • Durability: Waterproof, Submersible, Designed to Exceed IP67
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty
  • Certifications: USCG 2nm, ABYC-A16, COLREGS 72
  • Optional Photodiode : Automatically Turns Off at Daylight, On at Dusk
  • Height: 2.7"
  • Diameter: 2.7"
  • Weight: 9.0 oz.
  • Part Number: LXA 16141 / LXA-P
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LED All-Around Anchor Light

LED All-Around Anchor Light - Black Hsg

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Product Description

NavLight ™ Series 1 USCG-Certified LED Anchor Light.

This elegant, super bright, and efficient 3NM all-around anchor lamp meets the requirements for vessels up to 50 Meters in length.

This lamp is simple to install on the mast-top with the included hardware. It is a super-solid lamp with a tripod footprint, so it can take abuse at the mast-top or in the yard.

Like all Marinebeam products, our LED all-around anchor lights have our integrated internal Constant-Current chipset, so they can operate at voltages from 9-33VDC. This means they are great for both 12VDC and 24VDC applications. This also provides protection from over-voltage conditions, transient surges, and provides for consistent output and safety even at very low battery levels.

Our navigation lamps do not emit RF harmful interference, and are EMC certified to EN55022, EN61547, and EN60945 so they will not interfere with radios, sensitive electronics, or GPS signals. Currently only available in black UV-resistant housing.

Includes three (3) stainless steel mounting screws, and 8' of duplex 18AWG tinned wiring to allow power connection to be made within the mast or below decks, if desirable.

Specifications:

  • Voltage: 9-33VDC
  • Power:  1 Watt (0.09A at 12V)
  • Visibility: 3NM
  • Housing Color: Black
  • Output Color:  Cool White (6,500K)
  • Ingress Protection: IP67 (fully sealed)
  • Approvals: USCG 33CFR183.810, ABYC A-16, EMC EN55022, EN61547 & EN60945

Product Videos

Custom field, product reviews, write a review.

LED All-Around Anchor Light - Black Hsg

4 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

Great light while it works.

Posted by Sergey on 11th Mar 2021

These lights seem to last two years. Replaced first light under warranty. The replacement unit also failed after two years.

Lasted about 2 years

Posted by Captain Jeff Irwin on 3rd Feb 2020

I am disappointed that the first one only lasted 2years and is not serviceable ( sealed unit) hopefully the second one lasts longer. Marinebeam: Jeff - we typically see a much longer lifespan and carry a two year warranty on all products. If you still have the fixture we would like to take a look at it to see how the unit failed.

Extremly bright light

Posted by Robert Gibson on 29th Apr 2016

Light is very bright but the top cap with company logo came off during first trip. The light appears to be sealed well I think the cap was purely cosmetic. For the price I wish it would have been attached better.

Looks good so far..

Posted by Unknown on 29th Jun 2015

Just installed this. Very bright LED. Looks sturdy enough to stay maintenanceless at the top of the mast. Only time will tell if LED does last.

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  4. Stern Navigation/Anchor Light

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  5. LED All-Around Anchor Light for Boats

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  6. 12V LED BLACK NAVIGATION & ANCHOR LIGHT KIT

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VIDEO

  1. ULTRA Anchor (2019-) Review Video

  2. Anchor light installation

  3. The Importance of Having Working Boat Lights

  4. Putting On Our New Sailboat Anchor #sailboat #anchor

  5. How to use a Sea Anchor

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COMMENTS

  1. Anchor Light Requirements

    The Inland Rules have specific requirements as to anchor lights. That rule is quoted below, as is the USCG site reference. A 360-degree white all-around masthead light with two-mile visibility normally fulfills this requirement for most pleasure boats, but familiarize yourself with and follow the rule. Wire gauge, length of wiring, connections ...

  2. Navigation Lights for Sailboats (And How To Read Them)

    As such a power boat, and by extension all sailboats, MUST, without question show one green light on the starboard bow and one red light on the port bow and one all around white light or lights while operating in reduced visibility. These lights should shine at all 360 degrees of visibility with the bow lights shining at an angle of dead ahead ...

  3. Anchor lights test

    Taking all the anchor lights out on the editor's boat late one June evening, we picked up a buoy in Calshot Bay and hung the lights in the foretriangle of the yacht, around 2.5m above deck level. At first we tried lighting five of them at once, to see if we could compare them together, but 150m away the light started to merge into one bright ...

  4. Practical Sailor Tracks Down the Best LED Tri-color Light

    The test field included three LED lanterns and three LED bulbs. From Orca Green Marine (OGM), maker of the top choice among tri-colors in the 2005 Practical Sailor test, we reviewed the latest USCG 2-nautical-mile approved tri-color. The other tested lanterns were self-contained tri-color/anchor light combos from Signal Mate and Lopolight.

  5. Smart LED Tri-Color, Anchor Light, and Strobe

    Your anchor light switch will control the modes, so there are no more wires, switches or fuses to add! This fixture exceeds all of the requirements under COLREG 72 for both All-Around Anchor and Tri-Color use on boats up to 20 Meters. See an independent blog review here. 2NM Visibility; 12V/24V Operation (10-30VDC) 0.10A @ 12V - All-Around ...

  6. LED Anchor Light with Photocell Sensor

    IP67 USCG Certified 3NM Waterproof LED Anchor Navigation Light with Photocell. Toggle menu (843) 885-8644 ... This light is a perfect solution for our boat's electrical system. Our boat uses lithium rechargeables, so its voltage is unusual at about 28.4 volts DC. This light runs flawlessly on 12 volts, 24 volts, and our system at 28.4.

  7. LED Anchor, Mooring & Utility Cockpit Light 12V

    Great boat light and uses no amps at all. Only thing I would change is a better mounting bracket. 5 Utility LED Anchor Light. Posted by Russ Bailas on 4th Jul 2022 I use this light plugged in to a 12 volt socket in my anchor locker, wired to the panel anchor light switch.

  8. The Purpose of Boat Anchor Lights

    Anchor lights, the lights that are visible when a boat is anchored at night, are a key factor in making nighttime boating both easier and safer. If you only take your boat to a designated mooring and never plan on anchoring, then it is not necessary for you to use an anchor light. However, unexpected things always happen on the ocean, so no ...

  9. Ingenuity: a Makeshift Anchor Light

    Sep 14, 2023. Original: Aug 21, 2017. The author found the components of his makeshift anchor light already on board. I was originally drawn to sailing not by the pull of the water but by the pull of land, land beyond my horizon. The idea that one could step aboard a boat, hoist a triangle of canvas like a hitchhiker's thumb and catch a ride ...

  10. Extra Anchor Lighting

    DAVIS INSTRUMENTS MEGA LIGHT. Many small boat sailors use this as their primary anchor light, hanging it in the rigging. It is has a 15-foot cord. The Mega-Light is still available with the original incandescent bulb (0.3 amps), and with that lamp installed, performs the same as it did in prior testing.

  11. Anchor Lights

    exterior lighting. navigation lights. anchor lights. CONTACT WEST MARINE. Live Chat. 1-800-262-8464. Store Locator. Shop the best selection of Anchor Lights from West Marine. Visit for products, prices, deals and more!

  12. SailBoatStuff LED Tri Anchor and All Around Anchor Light by Orca Green

    Made in USA. Select between Model Types in Pull-Down Menu below: LED Tri-Color Anchor Light No Options, Base Model #LXTA $329.95. LED Tri-Color Anchor Light with Strobe #LXTA-S $359.95. LED Tri-Color Anchor Light with Photodiode #LXTA-P $369.95. LED Tri-Color Anchor Light with Strobe and Photodiode #LXTA-PS $389.95.

  13. Where is the Anchor light on a sailboat

    On a sailboat, they are typically at the masthead. In the past, they were simply kerosene lamps hung in the rigging. The mast light breaker would normally supply downward-facing lights on the underside of the lower spreaders, or some other location in the mast where they can illuminate the deck to help you work at night.

  14. Young Marine 3 Nautical Mile Boat All Around LED Anchor 360 Degree

    LYCAEA 6 inch 3 Nautical Mile Boat Anchor Light All Around LED Fixed Mount Navigation Light With Stainless Steel Base and Aluminum Tube, 12-24 VDC. dummy. Young Marine 3 Nautical Mile White LED Fold Down Boat Stern Light Boat Anchor Light for Pontoon and Fishing Boat Navigation Anchor Lights All Round 360° White LED 12-24V (25" with Flag)

  15. LED All-Around Anchor Light for Boats

    An economical 2NM LED All-Around Anchor Light fixture navigation light intended to be mounted on the top of the mast on larger sailboats. It replaces the Aqua Signal Series 40 type anchor lights, as it is of similar size and height. Prefitted with a user-replaceable Marinebeam constant-current 10-30VDC BAY15d high-output LED bulb and 8" of ...

  16. Amazon.com: Boat Anchor Lights

    12 Inches Anchor Light Boat Stern Light Waterproof IP67, White Fold Down Marine Navigation Lights for Boats LED for Pontoon, Jon Boat and Bass Boat (12-24V) 4.5 out of 5 stars. 51. 1K+ bought in past month. $12.67 $ 12. 67. Typical: $17.99 $17.99. FREE delivery Wed, Jun 12 on $35 of items shipped by Amazon.

  17. Amazon.com: Marine Anchor Led Lights For Boats

    Young Marine 20 inch 3 Nautical Mile White LED Fold Down Boat Stern Light Boat Anchor Light for T-TOP Pontoon and Fishing Boat Navigation Anchor Lights All Round 360° White LED 12-24V (20"-2.5W) 42. 100+ bought in past month. $2999. FREE delivery Thu, Apr 25 on $35 of items shipped by Amazon.

  18. LED Navigation Lights

    This bulb converts your ordinary anchor light into a Tri-Color and Anchor Light combination navigation light - read on to see how we do it. ... Bi-Color LED Navigation Light 10-30VDC Horizontal Mount 2NM Our Marinebeam red/green running light is USCG certified for sail or power driven vessels up to 20M (65'). This IP67 LED lamp is fully ...

  19. Amazon.com: Battery Operated Anchor Lights For Boat

    Five Oceans Anchor Light - Stern Lights for Boats, LED Anchor Light and Signal Flashlight Function, 2-Option Base Installation, Stern Light for Inflatable Boat, Small Tender, Canoe, Kayak - FO4690. 5.0 out of 5 stars. 2. $39.00 $ 39. 00. FREE delivery Jun 17 - 18 . Only 9 left in stock - order soon.

  20. IP67 USCG Certified 3NM LED Anchor Navigation Light

    Includes three (3) stainless steel mounting screws, and 8' of duplex 18AWG tinned wiring to allow power connection to be made within the mast or below decks, if desirable. Specifications: Voltage: 9-33VDC. Power: 1 Watt (0.09A at 12V) Visibility: 3NM. Housing Color: Black. Output Color: Cool White (6,500K) Ingress Protection: IP67 (fully sealed)

  21. Amazon.com: Led Anchor Lights For Boats

    12 Inches Anchor Light Boat Stern Light Waterproof IP67, White Fold Down Marine Navigation Lights for Boats LED for Pontoon, Jon Boat and Bass Boat (12-24V) 4.6 out of 5 stars. 44. 1K+ bought in past month. $17.99 $ 17. 99. FREE delivery Sat, Jun 8 on $35 of items shipped by Amazon. Or fastest delivery Fri, Jun 7 .

  22. Stern Light Anchor Light LED Marine Boat Light Pole All Round White

    Five Oceans Anchor Light - Stern Lights for Boats, 2NM USCG, 12V DC, Removable Pole, 24-Inch Fixed Plug-in Mount LED Boat Stern Light for Pontoon, Fishing, Bass Boats - FO1883 dummy Besramtic Boat Stern Light Anchor Light LED Marine Spring Flexible Pole All Round White USCG 2 NM Removable 2 Pin Plug In with Threaded Base 12 Volts 36 Inches ...

  23. Amazon.com: Anchor Lights For Boats

    Young Marine 9 inch 3 Nautical Mile White LED Fold Down Boat Stern Light Boat Anchor Light for Pontoon and Fishing Boat Navigation Anchor Lights All Round 360° White LED 12-24V. 4.6 out of 5 stars 1,789. 300+ bought in past month. $17.77 $ 17. 77. FREE delivery Mon, Nov 20 on $35 of items shipped by Amazon.