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We received this interesting Email about problems with navigation light installations from Westlawn
alumnus Peter Eikenberry (formerly with the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety) . . .
How are you? I hope all is well with you.
I finally got around to reading the June 2011
on line and had to comment on Dante Casali's article about nav
gation lights. The article is spot on. Over many years of inspecting boats at boat shows and boat manufacturers during
tenure in the USCG Office of Boating Safety, navigation lights violations were one of the most common observations. M
boat manufacturers do not consider this their responsibility. They consider it an owner requirement, and in fact it is, but
the Office of Boating Safety the rule was, if you install them, they have to be installed correctly. The most often seen vio
tions were obstructed lights. Obstructions can be from something installed later, such as a radar dome or a TV dish, or i
can be the boats hull. Many small boat manufacturers still install "bullseye" lights below the gunwale, which is allowed
under Inland Rules but not International Rules, and these are almost always obstructed by the hull. They point downwa
or outward and cannot be seen from dead ahead. They do not meet the cut off angles and vertical and horizontal secto
But now that I have taken the small boat builders to task, in fairness I have to say many large boats also have obstructi
problems. At one houseboat show I lost count of the number of boats with obstructed lights, most commonly installed
der an upper deck overhang, and then the builder hung a canvas fringe from the underside of the deck completely ob-
structing both sidelights. Masthead and all-around lights were often installed on a very short pole and anything on the u
per deck such as radar, satellite dish domes and antennas obstructed the lights. Sternlights were often installed very lo
on the stern and then obstructed by swim platforms and dinghies. But sometimes the violations were far too obvious. I
into the habit of standing at one end of a dealers booth and looking down the row of boat bows and frequently at least
boat would have the red or green installed on the wrong side.
These are things a designer and builder needs to think about when doing the general arrangement of the topsides. Wh
should the lights be so they can be seen by other boats, and comply with the International or Inland Rules, depending o
the boats intended use? I have some photos, and they can be seen on my website at:
Peter D. Eikenberry Sr.
On the subject of
The Yachts and Ships of Jack Hargrave
As always I devoured every article in the most recent
. As an avid boater and engineer, it is always a pleasure
read the articles about new and old designs.
I do have to disagree with a comment made in the article about Jack Hargrave’s book by Marilyn Mower. The article me
tions that Mr. Hargrave created the greatest brand production boatbuilding has ever known; Hatteras Yachts. I’m not di
agreeing that Hatteras is a great brand, but I think the Smith brothers’ Chris-Craft would take the honor for greatest bra
of production boatbuilding, with many more boats built in production fashion and known worldwide.
E-J Ohler, Skipper E-J
S/V “SAILMATES” 1973 Irwin 32 Classic
Dave Gerr Replies:
Well, this is certainly a point you could argue. And what an enjoyable argument. It’s like arguing about who is greater:
Bach or Beethoven; the Beatles or the Beach Boys; L. Francis Herreshoff or Bill Garden; Chris-Caft or Hatteras. How luck
we are to live in a world with such an embarrassment of riches.
Dave Gerr