By Andy Adams

Navigation light repairs and replacements you can do yourself.

In researching this article, we spoke to a number of marine industry professionals and started by asking, “Have you ever noticed boats on the water at night with incorrect or missing lights?

“Or none at all!” was the frequent response we got as people laughed out loud about how common it is for navigation lights to be faulty.

It’s not a laughing matter though. This is a serious safety issue and one that is far too often ignored until the lights are needed.

It just makes sense at the beginning of the season to check them to make sure your navigation lights are in good condition and operating correctly.

Lenses seem to get hit and broken, severe wave impact can sometimes blow a lens out and the heat an incandescent bulb generates can cause it to blow if cold water gets in.

To get a knowledgeable professional’s perspective, we contacted Rob Davidson Program Coordinator for the Marine Engine Mechanics Program and Apprenticeship Training at Georgian College in Midland, Ontario who trains many new marine technicians every year. We asked Rob what generally causes the problems in navigation lighting.

He immediately answered that it is most commonly a wiring issue or that the bulb has blown. Wiring can come loose, water intrusion corrodes connections causing resistance, and a voltage drop that causes the circuit to fail ...you get the idea.

Depending on the boat you have, in Canada, all but the smallest power and sailboats come equipped with Coast Guard approved and certified navigation lights, but these standard fixtures are generally of low interest to new boat buyers and the builders sometimes choose cost over quality. Ten years later, the OEM fixtures may fail.

Rob also pointed out that boats more than just a few years old probably have incandescent bulb lighting. He explained that the fixture was originally Coast Guard certified using a particular bulb for power, colour intensity and the required two-mile distance. You can’t just replace the bulb with any 12 volt bulb.

This is also true for the lenses, so although it makes sense to keep the OEM fixtures, that may not be the best answer. He also points out that you can now buy LED replacement bulbs but these may not fit the old fixture and they may not deliver the correct power, beam spread or colour. So, let’s assume you have at least some work to do to have reliable nav’ lights this season.

Luckily, a number of the OEM marine navigation lighting companies have been in the business a very long time and they may still have parts to repair your OEM lighting systems.

These could be [in alphabetical order]:  Aquasignal.com, Attwoodmarine.com, Hellamarine.com, Perko.comsea-dog.com and seasense.com.

If you can’t repair the OEM fixtures, we suggest going with brand-new LED models. LEDs have a lot of advantages. They use about one tenth of the power, last far longer, may be “potted” in a totally waterproof epoxy. LEDs can be very shock-resistant but they are significantly more expensive to buy and you need ones with proper shielding to prevent electromagnetic interference, (EMI).

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are not just a bulb, they often have circuitry built-in and some of that LED switching circuitry can generate electromagnetic interference that causes static on VHF radios and “hash” on fish finder displays. A “CE” mark on the LED indicates that it is shielded to attenuate EMI. Your marine chandlery can verify that.

If you decide to replace your lights yourself, the skill level required isn’t particularly high but this can be a ‘fiddly” job and you will need a number of tools to do the job properly.

You’re going to need a drill (cordless is handy), drill bits and a countersink, screwdrivers, wire cutters, wire strippers, a crimping tool, putty knife, heat gun, acetone, cleanup rags and rubber gloves as well as marine caulking and most importantly, you will need dielectric grease, marine crimp-on butt connectors and heat shrink tubing to make secure connections that don’t corrode or come loose.

We should point out that ABYC, the American Boat and Yacht Council who sets the marine construction standards, recommends that solder not be the sole means of fastening a terminal to wire. Crimping and soldering are quite acceptable but solder alone is not enough.  A properly crimped and sealed connection will last a lifetime.

The reason is that by soldering marine wire causes the wire to become solid like the copper wire that is used in your house.  The reason we do not use solid copper wire in a boat is because vibration will cause the wire to break.  A soldered wire in a boat will eventually break creating an open circuit.

So, with the parts and tools ready, figure out how the original fixture was mounted and remove it carefully pulling the positive and negative wires up and out through the hole to give you some wire to work with and secure them so they don’t slip back down the hole. 

Inspect the old wire for corrosion, chafing or other damage and to be safe, replace it with new marine grade wire for the entire run if you can.

Use your putty knife rubber gloves, solvent and rags to scrape away and clean off any old sealing material on the mounting surface and remove any sharp edges that could scrape insulation off the wire.

It’s critically important to seal the wire connections against moisture and corrosion.

Next, strip the end of each wire, coating them with dielectric grease and then splice the pigtails of the LED lights to the power leads using the crimp-on butt connectors and heat shrink collars. Use your heat gun to seal it tight.

Mark the new mounting holes using the base of the light itself as a template, drill each hole being careful of what’s behind the mounting surface such as wires or cored areas of fiberglass if you are relocating the fixture. Do not drill into cored areas.

User your countersink to slightly bevel each hole to keep the gelcoat from cracking and prepare to install the fixture.

Most new LED navigation lights, are constructed as “potted” solid-state units that are completely waterproof, but you still need to make sure to keep water from seeping underneath and into the boat. Typically, you get a rubber or foam gasket for mounting and you may still need to bed the fixture with marine sealant. There’s usually some kind of chrome or stainless steel cap that completes the installation and you’re ready to see and be seen this summer on the water!

http://www.aquasignal.com.au

http://www.attwoodmarine.com

http://www.hellamarine.com

http://www.perko.com

http://www.sea-dog.com/categories/lighting

http://www.seasense.com

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: This clever bicolor running light pops up when needed, then retracts below deck level to ensure that lines and people’s feet don’t damage it during the day.

Photo 2: Lights in this grouping of 5 and 6 inch high Perko LEDs for big boats give up to a 5 nautical mile range.

Photo 3: The removable running lights are important feature on this Legend fishing boat. The tall poles give them highest night visibility and the 360 degree stern light provides some interior lighting as well.




Related Articles

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 11:52

The addition of bright LED lighting to a boat's interior makes life easier and more comfortable for all aboard. With its superb efficiency and low operating temperature, the Perko Swivel Berth Light...

Friday, 02 August 2013 14:41

Here is a motto to make your cruisin’ lifestyle better; know your boat, know your mechanic and know your butcher! Plan your course and chart your meals. In my younger days, while I was in training...

Thursday, 10 October 2013 12:58

As exotic and exciting as a bareboat yacht charter sounds (and is) it can still be accessible to the yachting novice because the preparations and details are all clearly spelled out and frequently,...

Friday, 03 January 2014 11:51

The brand new Cruisers Yachts 328 Bow Rider is one of a new breed of boats that is redefining our expectations. The emphasis is on living space, entertaining friends and family on board and on going...

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 14:02

Regal is a front runner in the new style of sport coupe cruisers. Instead of the old-style of express cruisers that were essentially open cockpit boats with cabin space below and only canvas above,...

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:52

Hans M. Fogh was born March 8, 1938 and on March 14, 2014, Canada lost a great sailor, while the world of competitive sailing lost a great friend.Many people know that Hans Fogh was an Olympic medal...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Without the optional bow thruster, getting the new Dufour 430 out of the impossibly crowded docks ...
Last September, we had our first encounter with a World Cat 280 DC – X and it was quite impressive! ...
In the February 2020 issue of Canadian Yachting magazine, we featured our review of the Neptunus ...
A luxury sport cruiser like the all new Prestige 420S has it all—lines that are easy on the eyes, a ...
Once again, Cruisers Yachts is leading the market for day boats with their new 42 GLS model that ...
Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride. The expression that came to ...
This is such an exciting time in boating! While we feel very sorry for people whose health and ...
For many, the 2020 sailing year will be one to go down into the books as “different”. With delayed ...
What perfect timing! Beneteau is has just announced their new Antares 11 model for North America ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full-service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

 

 

 

World Cat 280 DC-XBy Andy Adams

Last September, we had our first encounter with a World Cat 280 DC – X and it was quite impressive!

We know of no other comparable Performance Offshore Luxury Catamaran in the Ontario market, but we expect to see more World Cats in the coming seasons. The test boat was supplied by Central Marine Midland, in Midland, Ontario and they report that they are doing quite well with the World Cat line. Built with vacuum-infused hull construction in North Carolina, the World Cat was designed as a big water boat.

Read More

 

 

 

Dufour 430 Grand LargeBy Peter A. Robson

Without the optional bow thruster, getting the new Dufour 430 out of the impossibly crowded docks at Vancouver’s Granville Island was a challenge, but long-time broker Richard Hargreaves got us out without mishap.

Also aboard was Richard Carrier from One4 Yachts. We’d been watching the Windy app for weeks, waiting for enough wind to put the new Dufour 430 through its paces. Finally, today’s winds were forecast at 15 to 20 knots.

 

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
On Friday, April 2 at 7 pm ET on TVO and streaming anytime after that on tvo.org and the TVO ...
Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to ...
Located in Lake Huron, the internationally significant Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater ...
In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were ...
You likely aren’t quite ready to travel yet, but we have our fingers crossed that we can all fly ...
Ontario’s best-kept secret, the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic site holds the key to ...
Located on the sunny south shore of the harbour, the Marina is on pilings over the water, offering ...
The approach to the Chemainus Municipal Dock from Stuart Channel is straightforward and is ...
I leaned my head back into the water and floated easily. Having spent my childhood playing in ...
History: right after gym and just before chemistry class. Fifty minutes of naming the prime ...

View of Ganges HarbourText and Photos by Marianne Scott

Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to do with locally produced food. It started thousands of years ago when the Coast Salish First Nations used the Island as a summer camp, collecting wild foods while also processing the abundant sea food for winter sustenance.

In the 19th century, five main groups settled here and began farming: Northern Europeans—some of whom had abandoned gold rush dreams; Hawaiians brought here by Vancouver Island’s second governor, James Douglas...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Stuart Hendrie, a pro photographer sent along this photo of the pirate ship in Jordan Ontario. Many ...
In my lifetime I have been a member of 5 yacht clubs. There were big differences. The one that I ...
Our photo of the week comes from Europe where Ali ten Hove and Mariah Millen are warming up their ...
Last issue we reported that Theodore Tugboat is moving up to Ontario but HelmBoy of Bedford NS sent ...
Heading to Tokyo soon, our 49erFX team of Ali ten Hove and Mariah Millen are up against it; the ...
As anyone who has been near a familiar - to them - part of the lakeshore can attest, water levels ...
As a life-long marine journalist, it has often occurred to me, that it’s a big ...
Here’s a dramatic photo of the Week from Jansin Ozkur. “Walking along the lake Ontario, noticed the ...
At the end of summer 2020, amid all the restrictions, we were able to shoot our film, Generations ...
Last issue, Mike Wheatstone, our Boat Nerd started a conversation about solar power. While many of ...

National Invasive Species Awareness WeekThis week, Feb. 22-26, is National Invasive Species Awareness Week and the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) released an animated video to raise awareness about the threat Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) pose to the boating industry and what manufacturers can do to limit the spread.

AIS can damage ecosystems and negatively impact fishing and the future of the boating lifestyle. Boat access to many aquatic resources has been limited due to AIS concerns and AIS infestation can result in serious damage to boats and their components. Invasive plant life can foul propellers,

Read More

A Freedom Boat Club StafferAs a life-long marine journalist, it has often occurred to me, that it’s a big leap to lay out the cash, (especially for those with no previous boating experience), to try it out. How does someone even know that they will like boating it if they haven’t tried it? 

Well, joining a boat club, or a yacht club that has boats available for members to use, can get you started without the big financial commitment and with the support of the club’s education and resources. Try before you buy.


Read More

DIY & How to

  • Prev
A Transducer is a device that is installed below the waterline that provides underwater data to a ...
Spring has finally sprung! At least it has weather wise here in Montreal, so it is with great ...
An important, but often overlooked maintenance item on any type of boat is it’s steering system. ...
Insurance may not be exciting but it is important. Check at launch. We all know we need to spend ...
Before you launch: Inspect all around the hose clamps for rust and replace as necessary. Double ...
Slovenian manufacturer, Elan, has introduced the concept of regenerative electrical auxiliary power ...
There is nothing worse than your boat trailer breaking down while on the way to a great weekend. ...
When the boat is in the water, It’s easy to take for granted the parts of the boat that are under ...
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unexpected changes in our lives, impacting everything from ...
Boating boomed in 2020, with scads of first-time boat buyers chasing respite from the pandemic. Now ...

Battery LifeBy John Connell, Vice President of SLI Products Group, Crown Battery Manufacturing

Your family is onboard and eager to cast off. What happens if your battery doesn’t start?

Early battery failure is costly and frustrating enough. But with a short boating season and unpredictable weather... if you lose a weekend, it hurts. Worse, battery problems can leave you stranded on the water -- a safety hazard and a leading cause of tows. Fortunately, anyone can extend their battery life. And it’s easier than you might think.

 

Read More

 

  

TransducerA Transducer is a device that is installed below the waterline that provides underwater data to a display at the helm. This data is usually in the form of depth and speed – but in more advanced systems can also provide sonar, fish-finding and side or forward views.

A Transducer is a device that is installed below the waterline that provides underwater data to a display at the helm. This data is usually in the form of depth and speed – but in more advanced systems can also provide sonar, fish-finding and side or forward views.

 

 

 

Read More

 

  

Marc's Boat AquaholicSpring has finally sprung! At least it has weather wise here in Montreal, so it is with great anticipation and boyish giddiness that I loaded the car with all the “things” I will need for this special day - the first of many pre-launch readiness days!

The club property is abuzz with members who, while social distancing from each other and wearing masks when required, are busy removing the winter blankets off their beloved boats and assessing the needed TLC and projects they hope to accomplish prior to be put in the drink.

 

Read More

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
Most SUVs drive about equal but the Subaru Ascent is just that little bit different or quirky ...
Exchanging business clothes for bare feet, Ann and her husband, Steve Manley, founder of PORTS ...
From streaming a repair video to downloading weather data, there are countless reasons to have ...
With 10 diameters from 11" to 30", there's a Schmitt & Ongaro Marine stainless steel Destroyer ...
The Grengine UltraLite and an ultra-portable folding 80-Watt solar panel. Combine the versatility ...
Have unwanted residue from removing stickers, decals, tapes, labels or adhesives? Release ...
When people think of boats, they imagine clean, white and glistening. Cleaning fiberglass hulls ...
Many boat soaps rely on chemicals so harsh, they end up stripping wax from your boat and are toxic ...
Called the "king of waxes," Carnauba is renowned for its ability to provide a long-lasting shine in ...
For anyone with a limited amount of dash or bulkhead area, but a desire for high-quality sound, ...

News

  • Prev
If your flares have a manufacture date of 2017 or earlier they have or will expire this year. You ...
At the end of May in lovely Ravenna, Italy, the launch ceremony of the new RSY 38m EXP took place ...
You can celebrate the Bluenose for ten cents on a dime or for as much as $1,000+ with the Canadian ...
Let’s make it very clear – everyone is feeling the pain of the never-endemic but the authorities – ...
The CBC reported on May 6th that the top member of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer from New York, ...
MarineMax recently announced the acquisition of American boatbuilder KCS International, Inc., ...
Photographer Tom van Oossanen was on hand to capture the astonishing scenes as Project 817, a ...
Finally after a few years without funding I can talk about why Squadrons should offer Recreational ...
Following the April 9th eruption of the La Soufrière volcano, popular cruising destination St. ...
Mention the name Jeanneau and sleek-looking sailboats immediately come to mind but the Jeanneau ...

Boating RegulationLet’s make it very clear – everyone is feeling the pain of the never-endemic but the authorities – health officers and legislators – should really take another look at boating.  While the rules vary from BC to the Maritimes, basically no-one is allowed to do much with their boats.

If you follow the rules in Ontario right now, you cannot even go see your boat on land, let alone launch it unless there’s an ‘essential’ reason. While big cruisers are obviously only available to some of the population, the same could be said of cottages and chalets; those vacation facilities are full of people. Cottage rentals are booked solid for months. But propose taking your boat for a trip to a remote island and you’re breaking the law.  

Read More

 

 

Thousand Islands BridgePhoto copyright shutterstock

The CBC reported on May 6th that the top member of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer from New York, has written a letter to members of the Biden administration making several demands regarding the border. According to the CBC story, Schumer has asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for four things.

The first is a detailed Canada-U.S. plan — to be released as soon as possible — explaining what rules and health-related benchmarks will guide the return to non-essential travel. 

Read More

 

 

Courtesy Vessel ChecksBy John Gullick, Manager of Government and Special Programs, April 21 2021

Finally after a few years without funding I can talk about why Squadrons should offer Recreational Vessel Courtesy Checks (RVCCs). We have now received funding from Transport Canada for the next three years.

Many Squadron Officers continue to talk about how their Squadron’s course participation, and hence membership, is down and continuing to drop. Well the opportunity is back to be able to talk directly with boaters, especially new boaters who have come o recreational boating in very large numbers over last season and the current season.

Read More