LED nav-light

if anyone is in doubt as to what to carry at night paddling near boats get one of these. Other folks will really appreciate it and it won’t mess with your night vision if the cover is on right.


I have the West Marine version with suction cup mounts, and friends say they can see me from a half mile or more away at night. They also stay on even if you roll.

Long battery life, good visibility (Maybe even better than in the daytime, because now you look like a powerboat), doesn’t get any better.


paddling by moored boats
one fellow yells out “hey that’s great,where’d you get it?”.

Which is a lot better than 8yrs ago in the SF Bay when a group of paddlers returned to the marina wearing all manner of ACR 360degree 2AA lights and other yellowing incandescent flashlights and the fisherman screamed out “you mother f***** are going to get run over,I can’t see you from 50’ away, dumb ass f******s are going to get run over and it won’t be my fault I can’t see you!” Kinda left an impression.

Paddlers Supply Company – how about?
How about this one?


And Wayne, can you supply a prodcut name or URL for the West Marine product?

Thanks. --David.

red/green ok?
I thought I heard that kayaks were not supposed to show red/green lights, just white. Somehow red/green confuses boaters, but I forget how. Anybody know?

But the stern light linked there looks like what’s offered at REI, minus the bungee cord and plus $3.



West Marine Lights

– Last Updated: Sep-11-05 4:45 PM EST –

Here's the link:


As far as lights go, technically, all craft operating at night are supposed to display red/green bow lights and a white stern light when under way. There is an exception granted to human powered boats that says we can get away with a single white light.

I did a canoe & kayak safety and rescue demo for the state of CT this past march, and the USCG boating safety officer there said that not only were the lights I use legal, they were actually preferred because power boaters are looking for just that pattern at night. I'm probably more visible at night with regulation navigation lights than I am in the daytime with my bright yellow hat & PFD, because nobody's looking for kayaks.


wayne, my understanding is that one either uses red/green/white nav.lights or NOTHING with a white light/torch to shine in case of need to prevent collision. Once you turn that white flashlight on all the time it’s a running light and a single white flashlight is NOT a running light. Is that correct?

this has been well researched
I wish I had the link but there’s a club somewhere arund NY that did a test with various lighting set-ups. The best was red/green/white stern light. It’s on their website and is about five years old.

The problem here is that kayak shops pretty much have just the ACR 360 degree white light or strobes.

Without a submersible bright setup like the LED one from Tecktite most kayak consumers go with what the shop has,a 2AA ACR light that really isn’t adequate.

The thing with running lights is that they work all the time,you really can’t use weak, dimming incandescent bulbs or flashlights that require you to stop paddling and shine “to prevent collision” if a boat doesn’t see you a flashlight isn’t going to slow them down. You want to be seen ALL THE TIME so they can fix your position while they’re under way. You shouldn’t have to put a bigger boat into the position of having to suddenly change course when they’re going many multiples of your speed.

GEEZ I hate it when you post those

– Last Updated: Sep-11-05 7:30 PM EST –

long links.....

Say you're a power boat on a dark night. You do not see five kayaks with dim or no lights. Then when you get close one manages to turn on a flashlight and shines it right in your eyes. You swerve and maybe take out two other unlit kayaks.

LEDs do not throw much light but are incredibly visible at distance, the best thing going.

White light
That’s where it gets a little fuzzy…if you look in some state boater’s guides, like in my state, they say you can have it on all the time, or off & used to avoid collision.

According to most boating authorities I’ve talked to, the rule of thumb is anything other than a strobe is OK if it keeps you safe.

I personally use the red/green bow lights, a white stern light, and an LED headlamp that I only turn on if I need it. Seems to work very well.





Princeton tec LED flashlights
may not be the best white stern light but the 4AAA LED lights or the 4AA LED flashlight make an adequate stern light. I’ve used the smaller one facing aft as a white light with the red/green in front for nav lights and the 4AA one as my “shine it at the boat and the photons will slow the cruiser down”

The problem with the little ACR 360 incandescent lights is that they run down in a few hours with the narrow 360 yellow beam providing a dim flickering effect. I was paddling with friends and they had one of those on their back deck in a suction mount,barely visible at 100’ and I’m down low where the narrow beam is most visible.

What really brought this home was paddling from Red Rock island in the SF bay back to the shore at night. What I thought was a small slow moving boat on the horizon turned out to be a fast catamaran ferry,so I’m paddling like crazy,and turn on the BRIGHT 4c cell dive light shining forward and the ferry cruises right on by at 25mph without changing it’s course.

In other words turning on a white light at the last second to prevent collision is not as effective as having constant runnning lights so that you are VISIBLE as long as possible for the other boats to get a fix.

Will the suction cup stick to poly?
I have a plastic sea kayak. Will the suction hold on plastic?

A lot of poly boats, like my Scupper Pro, have a “pebbley” surface to which suction cups will not stick.

That is correct Lee