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Running wires for LED navigation lights #13995852 05/13/21 12:33 PM
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I am thinking about installing some LED strips on the bow. I am trying to figure out how to run the wires. I thought about drilling a hole under or through the bottom of the rub rail. How have others done this?


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Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Stump jumper] #13995947 05/13/21 01:43 PM
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I removed the rub rail insert and drilled a hole that would be behind it when I put it back in. Put the LED strip on wedged the wires under the top of the strip and then through the hole. Once I put the rub rail insert back in you can't really see anything but the strip. Hope that makes sense.

Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: MikeW07] #13996321 05/13/21 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeW07
I removed the rub rail insert and drilled a hole that would be behind it when I put it back in. Put the LED strip on wedged the wires under the top of the strip and then through the hole. Once I put the rub rail insert back in you can't really see anything but the strip. Hope that makes sense.

Is your rub rail strip rope or plastic? Not sure the LED strips I want will work well on my boat. I don't have enough flat surface above the rub rail and too much angle below.


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Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Stump jumper] #13996516 05/13/21 08:36 PM
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Can you tap into the current bow light wiring?


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Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Stump jumper] #13996572 05/13/21 09:25 PM
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The insert is actually stainless steel. Above the rail does taper back some but from water level they are still very bright.

Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Stump jumper] #13996889 05/14/21 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Stump jumper
I am thinking about installing some LED strips on the bow. I am trying to figure out how to run the wires. I thought about drilling a hole under or through the bottom of the rub rail. How have others done this?

They're illegal, if that's a factor for you at all. Confirmed with boating enforcement at TPWD.

Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Flippin-Out] #13997690 05/14/21 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Flippin-Out
Originally Posted by Stump jumper
I am thinking about installing some LED strips on the bow. I am trying to figure out how to run the wires. I thought about drilling a hole under or through the bottom of the rub rail. How have others done this?

They're illegal, if that's a factor for you at all. Confirmed with boating enforcement at TPWD.

True. But still see them on a regular basis.


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Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Stump jumper] #13997788 05/14/21 07:26 PM
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So, an analogy would be it is OK to run red lights because I see others do it too?
Keep in mind that anything illegal can become a factor with respect to liability in the event of an accident/incident. If your boat's lighting confuses others (and it can due to the legal requirements of viewing angle limitations), and that confusion results in an accident, YOU may be held responsible because of the illegal alterations that contributed to the occurrence of the accident. Another example would be the level of intensity; there are legal limits for low and high lumens, so having fixtures not "within code" can make you liable as well.

When I spoke with TPWD about this, they indicated they were seeing this more. When it was uncommon, it wasn't so bad, but it's "getting out of hand, and they may have to start doing something about it" kinda response is what I was given.

Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Flippin-Out] #13998145 05/15/21 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Flippin-Out
Originally Posted by Stump jumper
I am thinking about installing some LED strips on the bow. I am trying to figure out how to run the wires. I thought about drilling a hole under or through the bottom of the rub rail. How have others done this?

They're illegal, if that's a factor for you at all. Confirmed with boating enforcement at TPWD.

Yep, I believe the angle of the light is what makes them not USCG approved. I have blue leds on the front deck and white leds on lower console. I believe you are suppose to turn those off when running.


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Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Flippin-Out] #14003937 05/20/21 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Flippin-Out
So, an analogy would be it is OK to run red lights because I see others do it too?
Keep in mind that anything illegal can become a factor with respect to liability in the event of an accident/incident. If your boat's lighting confuses others (and it can due to the legal requirements of viewing angle limitations), and that confusion results in an accident, YOU may be held responsible because of the illegal alterations that contributed to the occurrence of the accident. Another example would be the level of intensity; there are legal limits for low and high lumens, so having fixtures not "within code" can make you liable as well.

When I spoke with TPWD about this, they indicated they were seeing this more. When it was uncommon, it wasn't so bad, but it's "getting out of hand, and they may have to start doing something about it" kinda response is what I was given.




"your honor, this ticket is invalid as I exceeded the uscg regs with the lights I have on my boat"

if I do better than the regs. call for I will go that route any time, compare my led nav to the standard 192 bulb lights, which can you see better/farther?
as far as I know no one has ever had to pay a ticket for having leds and I have had mine for well over 12 yrs. on 2 different boats.

my anchor light is led, is that gonna be illegal as well? it is just the bulb and it is always over the min. of 36" so no ticket there except for the type of bulb.




§ 25.10-3 Navigation light certification requirements.
(a) Except as provided by paragraph (b) of this section, each navigation light must -

(1) Meet the technical standards of the applicable Navigation Rules;

(2) Be certified by a laboratory listed by the Coast Guard to the standards of ABYC A-16 (incorporated by reference, see § 25.01-3), or equivalent, although portable battery-powered lights need only meet the requirements of the standard applicable to them; and

(3) Bear a permanent and indelible label stating the following:

(i) “USCG Approval 33 CFR 183.810”

(ii) “MEETS __.” (Insert the identification name or number of the standard under paragraph (a)(2) of this section, to which the light was type-tested.)

(iii) “TESTED BY __.” (Insert the name or registered certification-mark of the laboratory listed by the Coast Guard that tested the fixture to the standard under paragraph (a)(2) of this section.)

(iv) Name of Manufacturer.

(v) Number of Model.

(vi) Visibility of the light in nautical miles (nm).

(vii) Date on which the light was type-tested.

(viii) Identification of bulb used in the compliance test.

(b) If a light is too small to attach the required label -

(1) Place the information from the label in or on the package that contains the light; and

(2) Mark each light “USCG” followed by the certified range of visibility in nautical miles, for example, “USCG 2nm.” Once installed, this mark must be visible without removing the light.


with that one part I can beat this in any court, leds are much more powerful than a flashlight meant for nav lights.

Navigation Lights for Powerboats
Power driven vessels underway shall exhibit a masthead light forward, sidelights and a stern light. Vessels less than 12 meters in length may exhibit an all around white light and side lights. Power driven boats on the Great Lakes may carry an all around white light in stead of a second masthead light and stern light combination.

Sidelights - Colored lights - red on port and green on starboard - showing an unbroken arc of the horizon of 112.5 degrees, from dead ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on each side.

Combination lights - Sidelights may be combined in a single fixture carried at the centerline of the vessel.

Stern light - A white light showing over an unbroken arc of the horizon of 135 degrees, centered on dead astern.


[Linked Image]


I also had (and am going to have again soon) white strip lights on the outside, 16' ea. side that I used for anchor lights/fishing lights when in coves etc. even on main lake a couple of times, never a word spoken and I know for a fact the wardens have seen me at least 3 times on fork.

if you do the strips, drill 1/8" hole at top edge of rubrail, fold wire under lights about 1/4" and stick the strip over the hole to cover. mount them on the top edge of rubrail and they are more than what uscg requires for distance, just be sure to cover the forward angle of 112.5* (easy to do).


I switched to these, like them a lot better.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


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Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Stump jumper] #14004007 05/20/21 01:32 AM
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hopalong,

You are misunderstanding about "exceeding" regulations. For instance, if you go dig into the technical detail, it is possible for lighting to be TOO BRIGHT. Why? Because it blinds the night vision of other captains on the water.
There are even specifications for the nanometer wavelength of the color of the light - if you did into the technical detail behind the USCG regs. This isn't controlled in what you might buy and slap on your boat.

The sidelights have specific angles of view (a 135 degree arc). This is to offer a predictable comprehension of a vessel's relative angle and projection of track with respect to your viewing location. "Exceeding" 135 degrees is NOT a positive thing. The viewing angle is supposed to be no more and no less than 135 degrees. Each navigation light (the red & green) must NOT be viewable past dead ahead of the vessel if the viewing captain is on the other side of the centerline of the boat. I can readily see that each of those fixtures you have placed on the curve of your bow ARE visible across the centerline of the boat. If you were oncoming to one side of my position, I should see only ONE light color. The way your boat is rigged, if I'm to the OTHER side, I will see the WRONG color light for a period of time, and I may or may not ever see the color light I SHOULD see. Yes, you've put more lights on your boat, but in this case, because you do not seem to understand what they are SUPPOSED to do, you have really f'ed it up.

The fixtures you used might even be USCG approved. But, there's a catch; they must be correctly installed. On a large vessel with a cabin like I used to operate, such lights would be placed on the outer cabin wall of the boat facing forward parallel to the centerline of the hull, but on opposite sides of the cabin. This arrangement would prevent the wrong color light ever being viewed from the wrong side of the vessel. It looks like the shade shields on those fixtures are designed to provide the 135 degree when the fixture is attached to the vertical side of a hull. Your posted illustrations have a view of a vessel that might correctly use the fixtures incorrectly installed on your hull. You've got each of them at an angle because of the curved area of the hull where you placed them. They are also not parallel to the centerline of the hull because of the bow's curvature at the mounting point. They clearly shoot a beam of light across the bow's centerline to the other side of the vessel where that color should only be seen if the boat were going in the OPPOSITE direction.

Vessel equipment rules/regulation is probably one of the weakest areas of knowledge for officers in the field. Personally, I wouldn't expect them to come close at all to saying what's OK and not OK. A USCG Auxiliary chapter would probably be more reliable than what I hear members here (such as you) saying how the wardens on the water are "just fine with it." If they are, it's out of ignorance, plain and simple. Your boat is almost certainly in violation based on what I see. Example: Notice how the illustration never allows the green light to be visible to a vessel on the port side. Your positioning of the green fixture (on the starboard side) aims it across the centerline to the port side of your vessel. Another vessel in front of you off your port bow will be able to see the green light for a period of time, but NEVER should.

Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Flippin-Out] #14004186 05/20/21 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Flippin-Out
hopalong,

You are misunderstanding about "exceeding" regulations. For instance, if you go dig into the technical detail, it is possible for lighting to be TOO BRIGHT. Why? Because it blinds the night vision of other captains on the water.
There are even specifications for the nanometer wavelength of the color of the light - if you did into the technical detail behind the USCG regs. This isn't controlled in what you might buy and slap on your boat.

The sidelights have specific angles of view (a 135 degree arc). This is to offer a predictable comprehension of a vessel's relative angle and projection of track with respect to your viewing location. "Exceeding" 135 degrees is NOT a positive thing. The viewing angle is supposed to be no more and no less than 135 degrees. Each navigation light (the red & green) must NOT be viewable past dead ahead of the vessel if the viewing captain is on the other side of the centerline of the boat. I can readily see that each of those fixtures you have placed on the curve of your bow ARE visible across the centerline of the boat. If you were oncoming to one side of my position, I should see only ONE light color. The way your boat is rigged, if I'm to the OTHER side, I will see the WRONG color light for a period of time, and I may or may not ever see the color light I SHOULD see. Yes, you've put more lights on your boat, but in this case, because you do not seem to understand what they are SUPPOSED to do, you have really f'ed it up.

The fixtures you used might even be USCG approved. But, there's a catch; they must be correctly installed. On a large vessel with a cabin like I used to operate, such lights would be placed on the outer cabin wall of the boat facing forward parallel to the centerline of the hull, but on opposite sides of the cabin. This arrangement would prevent the wrong color light ever being viewed from the wrong side of the vessel. It looks like the shade shields on those fixtures are designed to provide the 135 degree when the fixture is attached to the vertical side of a hull. Your posted illustrations have a view of a vessel that might correctly use the fixtures incorrectly installed on your hull. You've got each of them at an angle because of the curved area of the hull where you placed them. They are also not parallel to the centerline of the hull because of the bow's curvature at the mounting point. They clearly shoot a beam of light across the bow's centerline to the other side of the vessel where that color should only be seen if the boat were going in the OPPOSITE direction. those illustrations are right from the uscg, note this as well, Sidelights - Colored lights - red on port and green on starboard - showing an unbroken arc of the horizon of 112.5 degrees, from dead ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on each side. mine are positioned properly and fit within the parameters. I will keep them and take my chances. lol

Vessel equipment rules/regulation is probably one of the weakest areas of knowledge for officers in the field. Personally, I wouldn't expect them to come close at all to saying what's OK and not OK. A USCG Auxiliary chapter would probably be more reliable than what I hear members here (such as you) saying how the wardens on the water are "just fine with it." If they are, it's out of ignorance, plain and simple. Your boat is almost certainly in violation based on what I see. Example: Notice how the illustration never allows the green light to be visible to a vessel on the port side. Your positioning of the green fixture (on the starboard side) aims it across the centerline to the port side of your vessel. Another vessel in front of you off your port bow will be able to see the green light for a period of time, but NEVER should.


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Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Flippin-Out] #14041339 06/23/21 09:59 PM
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They're illegal???

What number, or office did you use to contact the TPWD? I am not denying that you did, I just want to verify for myself.
I again checked with the Texas Parks and WildLife Department, and left a message for a call back from the coast Guard Auxilary (469-893-0510) to see if the regulations have changed.

I had previously contacted TPWD at
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744
(512) 389-4800 | (800) 792-1112

I have again called TPWD, and was transferred to hunting and fishing regulations at TPWD 512-389-4820 (they did not know)
and they transferred me over to Boating regulations and registrations 512-389-4829


I went through this several years ago when I was strongly considering have led strip Red and Green running lights (convenient and out of the way, as well as easy to see) on my boat. I had previously contacted the office of the TPWD. I couldn't find an officer anywhere to say anything about these lights being illegal, just as long as you are using Red & Green running lights when running at night/morning. There are battery powered lights, and even chemical Red and Green lights (used in an emergency) that are available. However, Today, as was the case several years ago, I was also frequently asked to talk to another department and officer at the TPWD. Today they again indicated that from a Texas State law perspective, there is nothing illegal about using these LED Red and Green strip running lights, as long as it doesn't interfere with the visibility of the other lights. I assume that you can't use spot lights, or vehicle lights on the front of your boat, as you then would remove the ability of other boaters to view your Red and Green running lights. However, they also indicated that these regulations are set at a Federal level by the United States Coast Guard. I was asked to contact them. I tried to use the number for the U.S. Coast Guard that TPWD gave me and I reached the National Documentation center and was getting 2 options, one for information on the national documentation center, press #2 to leave a message 1-800 799-8362


I finally found a number for the U.S. Coast Guard in Washing, D.C. 202-372-2100. That was more of a command center "Catch All " number for the Coast Guard. I spoke to an officer and he indicated that this question can be addressed by any office/officers with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. I frequently have my boat inspected by the coast Guard Auxiliary, as they are all to happy to give your boat a Free Boat inspection. I only failed once many years ago, when my battery terminals. They have an extensive list and go into many compartments, but didn't check the trolling motor batteries (only starting) where not covered. I recall you only need to have one terminal properly covered to prevent accidental shorting and a fire. This inspection was at "Dave's Ski and Tackle" near the Texoma Dam, and all I had to do was go into the store and purchase the silicone/rubber boots to cover the terminals. I get the inspections whenever I see them being offered, as they give you a sticker that confirms you were inspected, and this greatly decreases the possibility of being boarded and inspected while out on the water by either the Coast Guard or your local Law enforcement agencies.

Previously, I managed to contact an office/officer in Garland/ Rockwall area. Right now I see that Flotilla 5-10 can be contacted at 469-893-0510 (I left a message). Last time, the officer confirmed that as long as these lights do not interfere with the visibility of the other lights, they are good (there is no issue with the extended length of the LED. However, what they do have issues with is the utilization of the viewing lights installed underwater through the transom of the boat. Not only do many boaters use these in place of the REQUIRED white "all around light" while anchored, they can actually cause a visibility issue with other lights in the area. These are to be used only at the dock!! I will update this post after I get a call back from an officer with the auxiliary. It seems that the coast Guard's phones are unavailable shortly afte 4pm Central time.


Last edited by mstewart; 06/23/21 10:04 PM.
Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Stump jumper] #14041365 06/23/21 10:31 PM
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The boating enforcement division (is who you need to ask to speak with) at TPWD in Austin. They had no qualms in clearly stating specifically that owner-installed LED navigation lighting kits are illegal. I was speaking with someone who asserted that they were they top official in charge of boating enforcement on state waters. The material itself (the LED strips) are not USCG approved. (They weren't aware of any that are.) Then there's the installation. That's where a big issue gets introduced. The regulations are very specific on the angle range through which the light will be viewable. For instance, if you put the same red or green LED strip on the bow of a bullet pointed boat vs. a skiff, the angle the lights are visible is vastly different in min. or maximum angular range. It's possible for an LED lamp to be USCG approved as it's not the "LED" adjective that is anything that specifically an issue. However, the deep dive of the CG regs specifies even the nanometer frequency range of "red" and "green". Not just anything someone thinks is red or green will do. The lumens are also controlled - it's just as wrong to have a light that is too bright as too dim. All of this is why USCG certification is required for navigation lighting.

The Aux. groups do a lot of good, but I am confident in saying that not all of them are 100% accurate in what's legal or isn't. Just like TPWD officers in the field. Many of them really don't know. Austin essentially admitted this by saying they were working on education/training for field officers. Many have assumed that "more lights has got to be better, so I'll leave them alone" but that doesn't mean it's legal. Many boat owners think the same way, and that's just as wrong.

Last edited by Flippin-Out; 06/23/21 10:33 PM.
Re: Running wires for LED navigation lights [Re: Stump jumper] #14041856 06/24/21 02:18 PM
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Hop,
I've thought about doing my boat like you have yours.
Did you position your port/starboard lights further back from the nose so that the beam of the lights didn't cross?

What's the math to use in figuring out placement of light?


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