Author Topic: Forward Lighting  (Read 2981 times)

Offline guldam

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Forward Lighting
« on: October 15, 2022, 08:44:20 AM »
I’m getting ready for crabbing and fishing at night on the Shirley Lamar.  Am looking for forward pointing lights to see old crab pot buoys, grass beds etc. It’s likely to be foggy and I want my hands free to safely navigate.

I’ve used a remote spot in a friend’s boat but those are a bit too pricey for my budget. 

I’m thinking wide beam (with built in spot of sorts) amber fog lights might work mounted on the wheel house roof. Then again I can see the cuddy cabin roof getting illuminated and perhaps blinding me.

Anyone wired up with forward lights?

I do have the standard red / green navigation lights and white all around light.

These forward lights would not get used very often and would likely be flipped on here and there while finding an anchoring spot or headed back to dock.

« Last Edit: October 15, 2022, 08:51:50 AM by guldam »

Offline Kobuk

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Re: Forward Lighting
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2022, 02:15:24 PM »
I use a handheld spot that works well, but was very expensive. It does have an accessory bracket that allows it to be mounted hands free, but I haven't installed it, and so far am not inclined to as it doesn't seem very practical for my purposes.  So far, i haven't found any fixed forward looking lights suitable (size/weight/power draw/illumination range) for a small skiff that accomplish much more than ruining your night vision.
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Offline TNeilson

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Re: Forward Lighting
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2022, 06:07:51 AM »
I've used a few different remote and handheld spotlights. Unless I'm moving at speed, which I don't do often at night, I've never really found the handheld spot to be a problem which operating the boat. If your in a pilot house, then that's a whole different matter, since you need to have the light outside the pilot house.

I tend to agree with Kobuk, fixed white lights usually just make it more difficult to see what is going on around you, and often make navigation unsafe for other vessels around you.

There are a number of duck hunters around me that mount lightbars low on the bow of their skiffs - they are often incredibly bright and in clear conditions probably give them some reasonably good visibility ahead of them, but with a light setup like that you will not be able to see anything that is not in your lights, making spatial awareness difficult. They also make it nearly impossible for anyone in front of them to navigate in a safe manner. I've seen them running the lights in the fog too, but it's totally useless (like having your brights on in dense fog on the road) - makes me think they are just afraid of the dark.

My advice would be to avoid mounting any fixed lights, especially wide beam, on your house top unless you intend to use them to illuminate your own boat (deck, foredeck, etc.). A moveable spotlight mounted on the house top can be useful if used sparingly and you don't point it at the deck or block it with a radar dome, but again, in the fog it is probably more of a liability than an asset. If you feel like you really need fixed lights, I would mount them on either side of the bow below the gunwale so that they can't reflect off of any part of your boat with the beams angled down. I have a pair of "docking lights" on a 22' center console mounted like this that were useful for illuminating things in close quarters and didn't behave too badly in the fog, so you may find something along those lines fits your needs. A google search for "docking lights" should bring up a number or options. The ones I have are low-profile LEDs with a forward and down/side beams. they around mounted on a small wedge to set the angle appropriately and to avoid have to recess them into the hull.

If the crab pots are your own, and you don't have too many of them, your could try using a piece of retro reflective tape or reflective paint stripe, which would make it considerably easier to locate them at night.

Offline guldam

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Re: Forward Lighting
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2022, 04:01:35 AM »
I ended up not mounting any forward lights. We ended up launching and retrieving in daylight so no need.

While we were anchored another boat was setting gear and holy hell they had bright bow lights on that blinded us.

The deck light I installed was bright and made it possible to rig gear, catch crab 🦀 and make us mighty easy to see. It could be higher up, and a second light on the other side of the deck would help with the shadows. We both ended up using head lamps also.

Great overnight excursion! Limits of Dungeness and bunch of rock crab 🦀.

Love my Tolman.