So after buying my first boat yesterday and waiting for its delivery next week, I'm turning my attention to some of the on-water safety gear.
Although I don't plan on paddling after dusk, I know anything can happen and I could find myself on the water as it gets dark. Most of the deck lights I am seeing have a suction cup for temporary mounting when needed. However, I bought an inflatable and a suction cup won't work.
Do any of you who own an inflatable kayak have an idea on how I could attach a 360° light if needed?
Hey there @Dad_Aint_Hip . Not sure if any of these will work on an inflatable, but I found this article which includes models that list multiple mounting systems, including cable mounting and also using a fishing rod holder.
You are supposed to carry and used a white "flashlight". A 360 light is not required if your boat is not powered and less than 23 feet.
Since this will not be a common occurrence, I'd suggest just wearing a light. A decent waterproof headlamp is probably sufficient.
If you really insist on 360 you can attach something like this to your pfd or your arm or your hat..
Personally I'd probably get one that strobes for emergency use rather than a general light. You can get water activated ones which are good if you capsize.
You can find clip on navigation lights for kayaks which you can probably attach to lashings. Not sure how good they are and if you display such lights you need to pay attention to the rules (eg. briefly 360 white light towards the stern displayed at anchor and under way. The red and green running lights towards the bow should only shine forwards and to their respective sides (112 degrees) and mean you are under way )
There are also waterproof puck lights that you could probably stick on the hull with quality sticky velcro. Again pay attention to the nav light rules.
If you are going out in an ocean/large lake where you could be carried far from shore, carry flares . Otherwise a personal strobe (the linked one doesn't strobe but you can find similar ones that do) and whistle, along with an epirb, beacon or InREACH/satellite messenger and a powerful headlamp (often these can strobe) are probably the kind of things to take. A cell phone of some kind also.
Thanks, @OldGuyot - That looks like a good option. I don't need anything permanently mounted, just in case something unexpected happens and I find myself on the water at dusk.
At this point, my paddling will be limited to rivers and smaller lakes. I am in Northern Illinois and the only large lake I'd worry about is Lake Michigan and don't plan on heading there yet.
Navigation light configurations on marine vessels tell another vessel which direction the vessel is heading and type of vessel. If I see a red, green the other vessel is coming directly towards me. White light means I am coming up behind a vessel going in the same direction or is at anchor. Red w/ 360 white vessel is underway and is approaching me on my right, green w/ 360 white approaching towards me on my left. If you don’t use or don’t know the correct configurations you have a good chance of a collision. Now factor in that probably 50% of boaters are ignorant to the rules and the alcohol a factor. A strobe is a emergency signal and I would not recommend paddling around with it on unless it is an emergency. Red and green should not be on if you are not underway. IMO paddling at night on a Waterway is an accident waiting to happen. A motorized vessel will be on you and through you before the operator even sees you. I worked in the Marine Industry for many years, I could tell you horror stories all day. Be safe. Don’t kayak at night on a Waterway. If there is an accident and your lights are incorrect or no lights you will be at fault and liable.
I hear ya. And I can't think of any scenarios where I'd intentionally be paddling at or after dusk. But after years of riding a motorcycle, I've adopted the "dress for the slide, not the ride" tenet (90° weather? Still wearing a leather jacket, helmet, boots, and gloves) as my mantra for all activities I do. So, even though I have no plans of doing anything other than day paddling, I know things can happen unexpectedly and it be good to have a mountable light in my gear bag.
Light requirements for boats vary my size and type of boat and by state. They vary greatly by state actually. What I recently purchased for use on my kayak and paddleboard (and for a few other things) is a Luci solar powered inflatable light. I can tie it to my kayak and board using existing rigging, water's not going to hurt it, and its easily taken off and on. It should work just as well for an inflatable boat.
But I would check coast guard regs for where you live. In many cases, a headlamp is all you may need.
Enjoy your boat!