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Just a word of caution for those individuals who've decided to take their boat (or other floating device!) out on the water to watch one of the Christmas light parades:

THE TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF LIGHT GENERATED BY A HIGHLY DECORATED VESSEL OFTEN MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE OPERATOR OF THAT VESSEL TO SEE SMALLER "UNLIT" CRAFT. CONSIDER ALSO THAT THE RUNNING LIGHTS OF SMALLER CRAFT OFTEN ARE LOST IN THE BACKGROUND OR ARE OBSCURED BY STANDING PASSENGERS.

During the past two weeks I've seen two near-accidents. One involved an unlit kayak, the other a small tin boat that was out hooping. The contributing factors common to each event were general ignorance of CG regs, inadequate or non-existent running lights, and poor judgement.

Both non-participating craft cut directly in front of parade participants without a clue that they were "burdened vessels". Add to this poor judgement the difficulty in seeing smaller poorly lit craft and you and you have all the ingredients for a tragedy.

Last evening all that saved 3 individuals in an 18' boat was a skipper who put his larger, decorated sportfisher in full reverse when the smaller vessel crossed directly in the larger vessel's path. From my vantage point I could see the smaller boat's passengers standing which almost totally obscured their running lights. When the Parade vessel tried to tell the operator of the smaller boat that his vessel was difficult to see he was told to #%@! off; Must have been a tough night hooping!

IMO this isn't a "yacht" vs "trailer boat" issue as I'm sure that some of the parade boat operators are equally ignorant or have enjoyed one egg nog too many. It is a "safety thing" as I'd rather be alive than "dead right".

If you take family or friends out on the water to enjoy the season, take a moment to make sure that your running lights are working and easily visible; that you have some source of deck lighting to turn on when highly decorated vessels are present and anchor in an established anchorage clear of the parade route.

Keep the season safe,

John
 
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