Nav light^

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PlymouthDamo
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Nav light^

Post by PlymouthDamo » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:12 am

I have to have nav lights on my boat after dark as my regular paddle takes me across a busy river mouth under the gaze of the harbour-master and police boats. Up until now I've been using the Guardian Adventure Lights (little button-sized LED things) but I found them to a be a bit fragile, flooded easily and the manufacturer isn't interested in customer service. I therefore recently sought out an alternative, but didn't find a perfect solution. Most of the ones marketed as kayak nav lights seemed a bit Mickey Mouse to me, and would probably get broken or knocked off on the first outing. I settled for the 'Navi Light sport hunter edition' which is a waterproof all-round LED jobbie, but not particularly cheap and not designed with attachment to a sea kayak (or the top of your head) in mind.

As is often the way, shortly after settling for this non-ideal solution, I stumbled across something much better, and cheaper. It comes under various names - 'rotaflare', 'maxflare' 'megaflare' - google any of these to find it. It's main market is as a yellow flashing light for builders' vans, but is waterproof to 100m and apparently comes in a white variant. (They also make red and green ones, and I reckon these would make good emergency nav lights for bigger vessels.) A mate of mine recently got one and I was impressed with the brightness. It's got an extremely strong magnetic mount, so you could easily rig something up to deck-mount it. However, when I really need to be seen in a kayak, I prefer to use a head-mount. We rigged my mate's one up this way as a joke (to use whilst waiting to get served at the bar in our local on new year's eve) which was easily done with a bit of elastic. They can be bought for as little as a tenner. I only found the amber ones on sale on UK websites, but it should be possible to track down the white one.

Having spent many hours searching for a decent battery-powered nav light, and drawing a blank on all of the boating forums, I thought this one was worth sharing.

R3V
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Re: Nav light

Post by R3V » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:22 am

helpful suggestion for light.
However on another note my understanding is that a sea kayak would classify as "a vessel under oars" and as such the only necessary light to have is either an torch or lantern to show a white light when necessary to be seen and avoid collision.
The vessel may (but is not required too) show the same navigation lights of a similar sized sailing vessel

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Nav light

Post by PlymouthDamo » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:08 am

Yep, I've never managed to find one definitive source for the rules and regs on nav lights on kayaks. My current understanding is that you just have to have a white light that can be seen all round, and this means you could probably get away with a simple torch on the basis that this can be pointed in any direction.

However, for the few minutes I spend crossing the River Tamar on my evening paddles, I'm not worried about the legal aspects so much as avoiding being turned to mincemeat by a fast boat. Therefore, I'm looking for something that's waterproof, very bright all round and can easily by attached to the top of my head which, whilst making me look a prat, is the place where it's most likely to be seen.

Jimski89
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Re: Nav light

Post by Jimski89 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:16 pm

Have you tried a product called 'Navisafe'? I have one and think it is very useful and versatile.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Nav light

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:02 pm

Image
I like the Kayalite.

Douglas

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PeterG
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Re: Nav light

Post by PeterG » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:22 pm

We use the Tectite dive marker 4 LED which is what the Kayalite is based around. The AA batteries means they last for ages probably an entire winter, and the twist on and off is foolproof. We've done a lot of nocturnal rolling and they are watertight.

They fit very nicely into a length of nominal 1" plastic pipe about a metre long and can be tied in place using the slots on the light and a hole in the pipe. We melt slots in the pipe for straps so they can be attached to the rear of our BAs. The light is then above head height so 'all round' and does not dazzle other paddlers if they look in your direction.

The local RNLI were very impressed at the difference the extra height made to visibility over the same lights mounted in holders on the boat and the way they are not obscured by waves. Large shipping in the Solent can see us at about 1.5nm and earlier in calm weather or if we are in a group. Although they are mystified by the 'group of small vessels off my port bow' until we give them a call on the VHF.

The light gives a glow like bright moonlight over the deck to help with chart or compass reading and looks ever so nice shining through the water if you try some nocturnal rolling.

The Port of London Authority has good tips on lighting, but their suggestions are overkill for darker stretches of water. My URL for their pdf document is out of date, you will have to search the PLA website

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Nav light

Post by PlymouthDamo » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:31 pm

Jimski - the light that I eventually bought (which I refer to as the 'navi light sport hunter edition' in my first post above) is by Navisafe. It's basically a more compact version of the light you've probably seen, which also comes with a strap to allow you to mount it to your upper arm. I've got two problems with the Navisafe lights. Firstly, they're quite expensive, and secondly they don't lend themselves to head-mounting. In order to get mine head mounted, I've had to attach it to a neoprene peaked cap which I used to wear when surfing in winter.

Douglas - I did check out either the Kayaklight (or some clone of it) in my local chandlers. I had three problems with them. Firstly, they're not bright enough. Secondly, the mounting arrangement looked like it would get knocked off or broken - I use a short surf boat and anything on the deck is likely to get a paddle-bashing. Thirdly, deck-mounted lights can be obscured by your body. (My requirements are probably different to most recreational paddlers due to the running-across-a-motorway nature of a Tamar crossing - I really need to maximise the chances that I'm seen.)

Peter - your home-made necklace light sounds brilliant. I'll see how I get on with my new head-mounted contraption, but may end up asking you for more details so I can knock one up myself.

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MYSSAK
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Re: Nav light

Post by MYSSAK » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:36 pm

Port of London recommendation is basically waterproof torch with diffuser made from plastic bottle. I found quite handy to have one attached permanently on back of my BA.
Here is one example costing less than a tenner.

Image

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Nav light

Post by PlymouthDamo » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:17 am

Thanks for posting that Myssak. I've got some extremely powerful lights I use for diving, and I reckon they'd be very effective with one of these home-made diffusers on the end.

But the main thing your post has given me is an idea about mounting these things... I've got a large pocket in the back of my BA which I currently use to hold a camel-back. I've also got a collapsible flag pole which I take diving to wave at the dive boat in case they haven't spotted me when I resurface. Attach a light to the top of the pole, stand it in my rear BA pocket and voila - a high nav light which can't get hit by your paddle because it turns around when you do. I'm off to the shed...

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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Nav light

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:40 pm

PLA:
https://www.pla.co.uk/Safety/Canoes-and ... ion-Advice

THCC Article:
http://towerhamletscanoeclub.co.uk/wiki ... es_Tideway

I use a TekTite 4-LED wand, mounted on plumbing pipe, attached to the BA.
XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / Kodiak / My Videos

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PeterG
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Re: Nav light

Post by PeterG » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:40 pm

This will give you an idea of how they look. The bright patch part way down is reflective tape, belt and braces. However, I wouldn't recommend getting this close to large shipping at night without agreeing the respective intentions and courses on the VHF.
http://paddleswithananasacuta.blogspot. ... night.html

jeremyturff
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Re: Nav light

Post by jeremyturff » Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:09 am

I am coming rather late to this discussion so forgive me if you have all found this - but Tektite now do two post mounted versions of the dive marker for kayaks and other small boats.

One is with a suction cap for temporary attachment, the other with an aluminium tube for permanent fixing

http://www.tek-tite.co.uk/acatalog/MarkerLights.html

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Nav light

Post by PlymouthDamo » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:29 am

Here's an update on the 'Navisafe NaviLight Sport Hunter edition' which I mentioned in the first post. I used it since the time I started the thread, but some time around December this year, it flooded and stopped working. The thing had just been attached to my BA but only actually used twice. On examination, the waterproofing is Mickey Mouse: an o-ring the thickness of a human hair, sitting in a very long groove around the casing. I contacted Navisafe, but got no reply. Whilst looking at their website, I notice their latest product is a fluorescent tube which you can attach to the underside of your paddle board or similar to light up the fishies. Completely pointless and obviously going to get smashed on the first outing. I don't think I'll bother with their kit again.

On reflection, I realise I need a very robust solution for nav-lights, as they may well be hanging round being bashed-up for months or years before being needed in anger. I'll now go down the dive torch and diffuser route as mentioned my MYSSAK above.

ruralweb
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Re: Nav light^

Post by ruralweb » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:44 pm

I've had a Navisafe light for years - it has magnets on the base and comes with a plate to sew into the inside of a hat so you can wear it on your head. It's very bright and I've never had a problem with it.
Mal

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