Seattle Area Sea Kayaking Meetup Group Message Board Navigation Q&A Forum › Lights for kayaking at night

Lights for kayaking at night

Redmond, WA
Post #: 2
On the July 4th Fireworks paddle I had my kayak decked out with waterproof LED lights to enable myself to be clearly seen by other members of the group as well as the mad, drunken boaters out there. In this message I'll write down what each light was, some specifications and how to buy them.

Adventure Guardian These are the small dome-shaped lights I had placed on the bow and stern of my kayak. They are dual function, producing a steady light or flashing strobe which can be switched by reversing the battery pack, which consists of two CR-2032 coin cells. They work under water (some people watched me do a roll, and all the lights were still working when I came back up), are impact resistant and have a variety of attachments available. They are available in white, red, green, blue or yellow. They will burn for 100 hours in steady mode, 250 hours in flashing mode.

Adventure Lazer Stik These are essentially a battery-operated replacement for the cyalume chemical lights I was handing out. Like the Guardian they are dual function, available in similar colors but use a battery pack of three LR-44 alkaline cells. They are water resistant and float upright. The burn time is steady-on: 12-20 hrs, flashing: 18-50 hrs.

Information about the Adventure lights is available here:
Lazer Stik

Princeton Tec Impact II This is a flashlight designed for use by scuba divers. It is waterproof to 100m (300ft) and projects a beam of LED light for 28m. It uses 4 AAA alkaline batteries and fits very nicely into a PFD pocket. Its burn time is 75 hours. Useful for scaring off power boaters or for around camp (especially in the rain). More information can be found here: Priceton Tec Impact II

I bought all my LED lights from this on-line merchant: Night-Gear. They are also available from George Gronseth's Kayak Academy

Cyalume Chemical Lights REI sells these in annoying wastefully packaged containers of only three sticks, each of a different color. I bought them in bulk from Nicaboyne Inc.

According to George Gronseth's website, to be meet your legal requirements for lighting, after sunset kayakers "shall have ready at hand a white light which shall be exhibited in time to prevent collision" (from the Navigation Rules, see COMDTINST M16672.2C wherever government charts are sold). In other words you do not need red and green side lights, just a plain white light bright enough to be seen from at least a mile. Just one Guardian light on the front of your kayak will suffice, but I like to at least have two more lights on the paddles to make it clear that it's a kayaker people are looking at. George recommends a second Guardian light attached to your hat and a Priceton Tec Impact II or similar flashlight which can be pulled out of a PFD pocket to warn off boaters in a potential collision situation.
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 58

Thank you for posting links to the sources for the lights. Everyone should keep in mind that the white light is what's important per the coast gaurd regulations for a vessel "powered by oars", the colored lights are required for motorized boats and would indicate that you are a motor boat or a sailing vessel. For more information on the actual regulations see this link to an eralier discussion on these boards. Keep in mind that the regulations are written in English not in American English, so some of the vocabulary may be a stretch for people born here. Earlier Discussion on regulations for kayaks
A former member
Post #: 1
Thought I'd throw my two cents worth in on lights and kayaks.

While the single white "flareup" light to be shown in time to avoid collision is all we are required to show. If I were doing much night paddling in an area with boat traffic I would give serious consideration to showing the optional fixed lights that would also be shown by a sailboat under sail only. As one who has spent time as a commercial boater (tugs) the information given by a full set of lights is very helpful. For one thing the fixed light is always there, not just when a paddle is put down to shine a light in my direction and just as important I can tell which way a boat is oriented and the direction of travel when that boat has both running lights (red and green) and the fixed stern light. Having this information makes it much easier for me to stay clear of another vessel. And less likely to feel the need to illuminate the object flashing a light to see what it really is.

By the way a single white light is also all that is seen from astern on a sailboat or a powerboat.

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