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#11722112 - 07/14/16 09:14 AM Are L.E.D. lights legal?
CCBIRDDOGMAN Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 09/05/07
Posts: 5270
Loc: Cedar Creek Lake
I am fixing to install L.E.D.'s on my Pontoon boat and was wondering, are these legal while moving? Or can I only have them on while stopped? I'm running three 16' strips attached to the bottom, one down each side and one in the middle. The lights are green. can't find anything that says yes or no.
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#11722222 - 07/14/16 09:50 AM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
Capt Craig Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 1045
Loc: Richland-Chambers
Yes, it is fine to have additional lights, as long as you are running the required lights and they are visible. You must have an all around white light on and your front red and green navs have to be on when "underway". They make a set of USCG approved LED nav lights, or you can run the standard that the boat was equipped with when built. Just putting any LED nav lights on is not approved as they are required to be visible at certain distinct angles. Additional lighting or illumination is fine as long as it does not interfere with required lighting. When stopped at anchor your front navs should be turned off and your white all around light left on. If you are drifting or driving at night, your front navs should be on to show that you are not at anchor and are moving.

The legal term for drifting is - "underway with no way on" or "underway not making way".
The legal term form using a motor is - "underway making way".

Both require the nav lights and the white all around light on.
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Capt. Craig Copeland

2013 Nautic Star 2110 Shallow Bay Boat

Nautic Star Boats Pro Staff (nauticstarboats.com)
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#11722588 - 07/14/16 01:32 PM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: Capt Craig]
psycho0819 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 1258
Loc: Kaufman
Originally Posted By: Capt Craig
Yes, it is fine to have additional lights, as long as you are running the required lights and they are visible. You must have an all around white light on and your front red and green navs have to be on when "underway". They make a set of USCG approved LED nav lights, or you can run the standard that the boat was equipped with when built. Just putting any LED nav lights on is not approved as they are required to be visible at certain distinct angles. Additional lighting or illumination is fine as long as it does not interfere with required lighting. When stopped at anchor your front navs should be turned off and your white all around light left on. If you are drifting or driving at night, your front navs should be on to show that you are not at anchor and are moving.

The legal term for drifting is - "underway with no way on" or "underway not making way".
The legal term form using a motor is - "underway making way".

Both require the nav lights and the white all around light on.


This is exactly as it was explained to me by a GW on Tawakoni just a couple months ago. They never even mentioned the legality of them, just complemented me on them, then I asked. They said as long as they don't overpower or otherwise obstruct other boaters from seeing the legal nav lights, then they are fine. We spoke a bit more, and the ones they don't seem to like are mounted on the sides of boats, aiming outward where people are seeing the LED lights themselves. It seems as long as they are pointing downward where only the glow is visible at a distance, there shouldn't be an issue. Mine are mounted on the underside of the gunnels, pointed downward.

One clarification they did make was, this was that pair of warden's point of view, and another GW might not be of the same opinion. So yes, there is a gray area.


Edited by psycho0819 (07/14/16 01:35 PM)
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#11722839 - 07/14/16 03:44 PM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
Capt Craig Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 1045
Loc: Richland-Chambers
No gray area really. There is no law prohibiting LEDs. Many boats run them. Only conflict would be inference with required lighting.
_________________________
Capt. Craig Copeland

2013 Nautic Star 2110 Shallow Bay Boat

Nautic Star Boats Pro Staff (nauticstarboats.com)
Redneck Fish'n Jigs Pro Staff (redneckfishn.com)

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#11725307 - 07/15/16 08:36 PM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: Capt Craig]
psycho0819 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 1258
Loc: Kaufman
Originally Posted By: Capt Craig
No gray area really. There is no law prohibiting LEDs. Many boats run them. Only conflict would be inference with required lighting.


And different wardens might see that differently. The one I encountered told me as much.
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#11725680 - 07/16/16 05:54 AM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
Bobby Milam Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/13/14
Posts: 1799
Loc: Arlington
That's true for any law. An officer can interpret any of them differently but all they do is cite you if they think it is against the law. The courts are who determines it.

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#11727245 - 07/17/16 10:05 AM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
Capt Craig Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 1045
Loc: Richland-Chambers
As an officer for many years I can tell you yes there is some interpretation in certain instances of a law. There are no laws prohibiting LEDs on boats. So there no law to interpret.
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Capt. Craig Copeland

2013 Nautic Star 2110 Shallow Bay Boat

Nautic Star Boats Pro Staff (nauticstarboats.com)
Redneck Fish'n Jigs Pro Staff (redneckfishn.com)

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#11727402 - 07/17/16 12:40 PM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
ChuChu1 Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/08/10
Posts: 2705
Loc: Gonzales, Tx
Better check the Coast Guard regulations. There are laws.
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#11727556 - 07/17/16 02:44 PM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
Capt Craig Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 1045
Loc: Richland-Chambers
Ok I will post the law. As a USCG Captain, we went over this in detail in school. There are numerous boats operating in fresh and salt that run hull lights, deck and bow lights, and arch lights.

The most important parts of the law being, nav lights should remain unobstructed. LED nav lights, must be USCG approved and not a strip of colored LED stuck on the boat. Approved LED nav lights must be installed so that correct angles of visualization are maintained as required.

There is no USCG law that dictates the use of LEDS or how they may be used, as long as, they do not interfere with other craft being able to see the legally required nav lights and white all around.

46 CFR 111.75-17

(d) Navigation lights. Each navigation light must meet the following:
(1) Meet the technical details of the applicable navigation rules.
(2) Be certified by an independent laboratory to the requirements of UL 1104 (incorporated by reference; see 46 CFR 110.10-1) or an equivalent standard under 46 CFR 110.20-1. Portable battery powered lights need meet only the requirements of the standard applicable to those lights.
(3) Be labeled with a label stating the following:
(i) “MEETS _____.” (Insert the identification name or number of the standard under paragraph (d)(2) of this section to which the light was type-tested.)
(ii) “TESTED BY _____.” (Insert the name or registered certification mark of the independent laboratory that tested the fixture to the standard under paragraph (d)(2) of this section).
(iii) Manufacturer's name.
(iv) Model number.
(v) Visibility of the light in nautical miles.
(vi) Date on which the fixture was type-tested.
(vii) Identification of bulb used in the compliance test.
(4) If it is a flashing light, have its intensity determined by the formula:
Ie=G/(0.2 t2−t1)
Where
Ie=Luminous Intensity.
G=Integral of Idt evaluated between the limits of t1 and t2.
t1=Time in seconds of the beginning of the flash.
t2=Time in seconds of the end of the flash.
I=Instantaneous intensity during the flash.
Note:
The limits, t1 and t2, are to be chosen so as to maximize Ie.
(e) Installation of navigation lights. Each navigation light must:
(1) Be installed so that its location and its angle of visibility meet the applicable navigation rules;
(2) Except as permitted by the applicable navigation rules, be arranged so that light from a navigation light is not obstructed by any part of; the vessel's structure or rigging;
(3) Be wired by a short length of heavy-duty, flexible cable to a watertight receptacle outlet next to the light or, for permanently mounted fixtures, by direct run of fixed cable; and
(4) If it is a double-lens, two-lamp type, have each lamp connected to its branch circuit conductors either by an individual flexible cable and watertight receptacle plug or, for permanently mounted fixtures, by an individual direct run of fixed cable.
[CGD 74-125A, 47 FR 15236, Apr. 8, 1982, as amended by CGD 94-108, 61 FR 28282, June 4, 1996; 61 FR 33045, June 26, 1996; 62 FR 23909, May 1, 1997; USCG-2003-16630, 73 FR 65199, Oct. 31, 2008]
_________________________
Capt. Craig Copeland

2013 Nautic Star 2110 Shallow Bay Boat

Nautic Star Boats Pro Staff (nauticstarboats.com)
Redneck Fish'n Jigs Pro Staff (redneckfishn.com)

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#11728191 - 07/17/16 11:36 PM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
2 Bee'z Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/23/15
Posts: 4380
Loc: Lake Texoma, TX
We run blue underwaters and cockpit lights occasionally. I am not sure what the local game warden is doing now but he used to say it was impersonating an officer even though there is no flash and all nav lights are clear.

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#11728499 - 07/18/16 09:37 AM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
Capt Craig Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 1045
Loc: Richland-Chambers
Blue cockpit lights were really popular for a while. Sometimes red and the always available white. I used to see blue and/or white underwaters on some of the larger crusier boats. Most of the fisherman tend to prefer green underwater.

The wardens should run a single blue flasher. Impersonation of an officer is a very serious and specific law and mere possession of a colored light is far from a violation. Even private vehicle may have a flashing light on top and not be in violation. It is often based on how the light is used. Rural mail vehicles use a flashing amber light or strobe. Now if you had a blue flasher and actually attempted to get other boats to stop for you on the water, then that would fit an officers interpretation of the statute which I listed below.

Honestly there are sooo many laws and as they are written, they can be difficult to understand even for officers. That adds to some of the misunderstandings when they quote something as being illegal. That is when attorneys are so helpful. It may not prevent a ticket though that will get dismissed later.

For years silencers were written in the books as being illegal along with machine guns. IN reality, they were never illegal and simply required a Federal Tax Stamp.

CHAPTER 37. PERJURY AND OTHER FALSIFICATION

§ 37.11. IMPERSONATING PUBLIC SERVANT.
(a) A person commits an offense if he:
(1) impersonates a public servant with intent to induce another to submit to his pretended official authority or to rely on his pretended official acts; or
(2) knowingly purports to exercise any function of a public servant or of a public office, including that of a judge and court, and the position or office through which he purports to exercise a function of a public servant or public office has no lawful existence under the constitution or laws of this state or of the United States.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.
_________________________
Capt. Craig Copeland

2013 Nautic Star 2110 Shallow Bay Boat

Nautic Star Boats Pro Staff (nauticstarboats.com)
Redneck Fish'n Jigs Pro Staff (redneckfishn.com)

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#11728829 - 07/18/16 12:25 PM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
psycho0819 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 1258
Loc: Kaufman
Well, I'm not going to argue with anyone about this. All I know is what the GW told me, and since Capt Craig won't be there to recite the laws, then I guess I'll take the ticket if that's what they want to do.
_________________________
If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space!

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#11729471 - 07/18/16 07:49 PM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
Bobby Milam Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/13/14
Posts: 1799
Loc: Arlington
If you are warned by a gamewarden that covers a particular lake, it is usually prudent to heed the warning and not use them there. Not necessarily because they are correct but it is a PIA to go to court and fight a ticket and you might still lose depending on the judge.

I came across a boat running green LEDs down the entire side of the boat the other night. It was really frustrating. I couldn't tell if he was anchored or moving and if he was moving, I had no idea which way he was going. Made me go way out of my way just to be safe.

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#11729931 - 07/19/16 06:59 AM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
hopalong Online   content
Super Freak

Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 72976
Loc: formerly of guthrie oklahoma
Originally Posted By: CCBIRDDOGMAN
I am fixing to install L.E.D.'s on my Pontoon boat and was wondering, are these legal while moving? Or can I only have them on while stopped? I'm running three 16' strips attached to the bottom, one down each side and one in the middle. The lights are green. can't find anything that says yes or no.



install them just don't use them while underway and you are fine. green being the starboard color you will confuse other boaters when under power and even at anchor some will not be sure.

be sure to leave your white all round on when anchored too, law says to.
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#11731053 - 07/19/16 03:58 PM Re: Are L.E.D. lights legal? [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
psycho0819 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 1258
Loc: Kaufman
I agree. I think more is being made of this than is necessary. But yes, if you use them while underway, be aware that a GW could write a ticket and say they interfered with their ability to interpret your navigation lights. The GW I encountered on tawakoni told me that mine did not interfere with my Nav lights, but they qualified that by saying that another GW might not see it the same way. Thus the "gray area" I cited earlier in this thread. And that could also apply even if anchored. If someone cannot see your anchor light because the LED's are too bright or otherwise interfere with it, then that would not be legal.

The easy solution to this is to not run them while underway, but also to have them where the actual diode (light emitting "diode") is not directly visible to other boaters. If installed in this manner, then they would likely not overpower or otherwise obstruct the legal navigation or anchor lights required by law.
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