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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We left Jobbie Nooner around 11pm (very dark out) and about 1/4 of the boats anchored off the knee-deep south side had their anchor light on. Is it acceptable to leave the anchor light off at Gull, considering it's anchored in such shallow water, or could you be written up for that? I only have one battery on my boat & I'm reluctant to leave the light on all night. Would a yellow glo-stick suffice? (I don't think they make white glo-sticks). I'd like to hear some marine law enforcement people's opinion because we'd like to camp out there on some 'normal' (no big party) nights before summer is over.

-DNB
 

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Any time that you are anchored you are supposed to have your anchor light on, even in daylight although no one generally does during the day. That's the law as I understand it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the links duce-five, this is from the uscgboating.org page:

"If your vessel is less than 23 feet/7 meters in length, then it is not required to display an anchor light or shape unless it is anchored in or near a narrow channel, fairway or anchorage, or where other vessels normally navigate."

I guess It will be ok if I leave the light off for you, as long as it's not in or near the channels. (I'm less than 23 ft). My only question is whether the beach, lagoon, or the shallows on the south side could be construed as "near" a narrow channel. It's a grey area - nobody travelling in the channel is going to hit a boat anchored in the lagoon or shallows, but it might still be "near".

It also says that during the day, you are not supposed to turn on the anchor light. You are supposed to hang a big black ball up high in the forward half of your boat. How many of you captains (and bass fisherman anchored on the edge of the clinton river channel) out there have and display your big black balls when at anchor during the day? ...Learn something new every day.

-DNB
 

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In another life in a distant galaxy I sailed for about fifteen years. In 1971 my partner and I sailed a vintage 41' Wooden Ketch, built in Maine in 1932 from Mount Clemens up the Canadian side, through Georgian Bay and the North Channel (the one in northern Lake Huron, not Algonac) and through the straights of Mackinac to Traverse Bay. We ended up in Suttons Bay long before the town became gentrified. We anchored off the old coal dock. We were 19 when we bought the boat and worked on it for a year getting it ready to go. We couldn't afford to have the old Grey Marine four banger rebuilt so we mounted an ancient Evinrude off the transom to help get us up the St. Clair River. It crapped out just as we entered Lake Huron and never did run again. We jettisoned it and sailed for the next two months without the benefit of power. When we anchored for the night, we hoisted a Coleman lantern to the top of the mainmast. It served it's purpose and as an added benefit, attracted every winged critter for miles, especially in the remote ancorages of the North Channel. Overnighting in Little Muscamoot about ten years ago, it was close to dusk and the coasties came through and informed us that one of the boats in our raft must display an anchor light if we were going to spend the night. I think you have a better chance of it being enforced on Gull than other places but who knows?
 

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This is a good example of why we need regulations - sometimes people need to be forced into doing what they should know to do on their own.

The anchor light reg is to protect you! Do you want to have a boat run into you at night because it didn't see you? If that happens, whose fault do you think the accident will be?

Carry an extra battery if you must but be a conciensious and safe skipper.
 

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I have anchored overnight many times and have never had a battery go dead from my anchor light. I think it would take more than one night to drain a healthy battery.
 

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A number of years ago I found out that Anchor lights are only to be used when anchored.

We were drifting out in front of Michigan Harbor, enjoying a cigar and a bottle of wine. Since we were just drifting I didn't think we should have the nav lights on, so I put up the anchor light.

Well the USCG was nice enough to inform me that we had improper lighting unless we were anchored. they were also nice enough to board the vessel and do a complete inspection at 1:00 in the morning.

Happy ending though, Passed all inspections!!
 

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Karl 67 you can alos get a drunk drining if your drifting. Unless the boat is moored or anchored you are consider underway. drinkingnboating we have in the past towed boat out of the gull island waters at night for no light. I was the last boat on this year and didn't do so but could have. It could be considered a nav hazard without the lights. Unless your up on shore at gull you need a anchor light on all the boat at night. As said earlier it for your portect and the vessel underway.
 

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if you are worried about your battery look in west marine catalog , i think they have a flash light with suction cup , made to use for that , that runs off d batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
QUOTE(Gary864 @ Jul 22 2003, 07:17 PM)Karl 67 you can alos get a drunk drining if your drifting. Unless the boat is moored or anchored you are consider underway. drinkingnboating we have in the past towed boat out of the gull island waters at night for no light. I was the last boat on this year and didn't do so but could have. It could be considered a nav hazard without the lights. Unless your up on shore at gull you need a anchor light on all the boat at night. As said earlier it for your portect and the vessel underway.
Gary864, to quote the USCG (That's the Coast Guard for those of you who don't know) again:

"If your vessel is less than 23 feet/7 meters in length, then it is not required to display an anchor light or shape unless it is anchored in or near a narrow channel, fairway or anchorage, or where other vessels normally navigate."

Now, if you sheriff deputies want to make up your own different rules and haul boats away at night, then shame on you.

But I'll either beach it or leave the light on just to be safe.
 

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The US Coast Guard has a set of rules but all states and municipalities can make and enforce stricter rules, they just can't create weaker rules.

I'm pretty sure anything on the water at night in Michigan has to be lighted or be prepared to show a light. Even a twelve foot fishing boat with no electrical system needs a flashlight to show their position to an approaching boat at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That's true, the local government can and does have their own additional laws, on top of the USCG regs. But It is ridiculous to tow a boat away for being unlit in water that is only one foot deep.
 
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QUOTE(drinkingnboating @ Jul 22 2003, 04:05 PM)Gary864, to quote the USCG (That's the Coast Guard for those of you who don't know) again:

"If your vessel is less than 23 feet/7 meters in length, then it is not required to display an anchor light or shape unless it is anchored in or near a narrow channel, fairway or anchorage, or where other vessels normally navigate."

Now, if you sheriff deputies want to make up your own different rules and haul boats away at night, then shame on you.

But I'll either beach it or leave the light on just to be safe.
It's obvious to me that the literal text of the USGC regulation is open to some interpretation. "Near a narrow channel" - which do you want, the South Channel or the old South Channel between Gull and Harsens? How would you like them to define "Near"? In an anchorage - are there other boats anchored around there? Does it constitute an anchorage? Unless the USCG has these words strictly defined, they are open to interpretation by whoever reads it.
 
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