Recreational Navigation Lighting

I went to the Annapolis in-water boat show this weekend (sailing) and had a pretty good visit. One of the last vendors I saw and spoke with was “Cruising Solutions”. One of the items they sell are replacement LED light bulbs for navigation lighting. When I showed surprise that they were able to get USCG approval for their products, the owner became very defensive and telling me that there was no such USCG approval process for light bulbs. When I replied “yes there is” he became somewhat irate. He told me to read 33CFR part 2 if I didn’t believe him (33CFR (2) is USCG Jurisdiction) and that he has had many discussions with the USCG about this and his products are approved by the ABYC. (Who really cares about the ABYC, right?)

What was really bothersome is that one of the combined sidelight lanterns on display clearly did not work well with the LED. I doubt that from the bridge of my ship that I’d be able to see this light at all at even a 1/2 mile range.

It disgusts me that this company not only sells replacement un-approved light bulbs for navigational use, but they market them as being perfectly legal for this use. They are going to have some serious legal issues one of these days.


It seems pretty simple to me. There are now Approved LED lights out there, however. Bt you can tell because they are, ya know, marked. The confusion comes from the lack of a q-spec (subchapter Q 46 CFR 160 to…) for navigation lights. The details of light performance are contained in the navrules.