Strobe light

I’d like to find a quality strobe light for the back should lash tab of my MsFit PFD on night paddles. Does anyone have any suggestions for a waterPROOF strobe that is visible for @ least 1-2 miles and can be securely mounted to a PFD lash tab. (I hope to just leave the strobe mounted to my PFD at all times so I always have it when I need it).

I’ve looked at the ACR C-strobe and Firefly Plus and the Princeton Tec Aqua Strobe and Eco Flare. Not sure which one seems best.

Don’t do it
A strobe is a distress signal. Please review the USCG Colregs, specifically Rule 25 which pertains to lighting. Carry by all means, and utilize if you require help. Do NOT use as a means to be seen.

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So then
I suppose the “Strobe lash tab” will not be used for a strobe in my case. What does one do then to follow guidelines? Do you use a continuous beam light or paddle unlit? If paddling unlit, do you need to have immediate access to a light in case of oncoming traffic?

as an emergency beacon only

– Last Updated: Mar-29-07 6:02 AM EST –

i like the princeton tec strobes. everything else (particularly the acr stuff) i've never had any luck in keeping from rotting away almost immediately...and surely now someone will post about rinsing and cleaning and blah-blah-blah but nevertheless, the pt lights aren't too bad.

as far as lighting at night and making yourself visible...each state will vary in it's laws (nh requires a 360 vis white light) but on the sea it's the uscg that trumps all and given the class of vessel we're in they only require us to have a light that we can use to avoid while you may want to rig something else, the only uscg requirement is that you have a headlamp or flashlight that you can use to flash another vessel with to avoid don't even need to have it on all the time with the uscg reg...only that you have it available to avoid collision.

the strobe is only an emergency if you were to flash the strobe to avoid collision mariners would see that and come running under the impression that there was an emergency when in truth all you might want to do is flash a white light and avoid collission.

personally i run as little light as possible to try to save what meagre night vision i have and use small, dull lights to find my way along the chart.

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I believe using lights @ nite are
regulated by each state. You should check your state regulations to define the guidelines.

Don’t think so

I carry a strobe attached to my PFD
for emergency use only, I have never needed it and hope I don’t. From what I remember the regs just call for a light such as a flashlight to shine when a boat is oncoming. But check the USCG regs to be sure and your state regs if inland.

Paddlers Supply Company
LED light with a suction cup. I like it much better than the C-light.

Also, to disagree with one of the posts above, a 360 degree light should not be attached to your PFD (which renders it a 180 degree light), but to your kayak. Especially if paddling with others at night, place it as far towards the stern as possible.


Jotron AQ4 or AQ5
never skimp on safety gear…

LED Headlamps…
But I wear them around my neck so I can flip it over my shoulder if I hear something coming behind me.

The LEDs are very visible from a distance but don’t throw a lot of light on the boat helping with night blindness. I have one that switches from white to red for reading charts.

Also carry at least one really good flashlight where I can get at it quickly.

I’m usually not out at night except around a full moon and that helps visibility and unless there’s traffic you can see much more if your lights are off.

big topic

– Last Updated: Mar-29-07 8:25 AM EST –

the ACR light mentioned above has been standard for years but it's totally inadequate on many levels. Light output is insufficient, battery life is low after a few hours. Doesn't meet regs as a running light. I've paddled 100yds behind someone wearing one of those and could barely see its yellow glow. On a club paddle at night in the S.F Bay I had a commercial captain scream holy murder at us because we were invisible and most of the paddlers wore the 2AA cell ACR 360 light with a candle light yellow glow on the back of their pfd.

I'd suggest two things, a strobe ONLY for emergency reasons, ie. to find your body/boat, since you are paddling at night. Tectite makes a nice small 1AA cell strobe,

it's smaller than most of them. But it's NOT to be seen, it's only for emergencies. Putting yourself into traffic and resorting to the strobe is not appropriate use.

A BRIGHT waterproof LED flashlight to be used as needed. It's NOT a running light to be left on all the time but it's bright, waterproof, and has long battery life. Princeton Tec has a 4AA cell 1 watt version for $35.

Underwater Kintetics has a 3watt 4c cell version for about $50.

Both dive lights and both good for direct signalling. Both have lanyards that can be attached to the forward bungies.
At this point I'd recommend a 4AAA PrincetonTec flashlight ($20)

to be tucked/tied to your whistle or pfd. It's barely bright enough but if you're doing things at night having a flashlight with 100hrs battery life is a useful item.

ok,,running light. So you're SEEN providing bigger boats with information about your position and heading. This works much better than hoping photons from a flashlight will overcome the momentum of a boat bearing down on you. Speaking from experience I've never found that fumbling for a flashlight at the last second is a sufficient way to slow down heavy objects moving towards me. Those photons just don't do it. If they did car headlights would be pushing cars all over the place.

this works better than any suction attachment LED light. It's bright and stays on. A little fiddling with the black nylon cover will keep direct light from the lens shining back in your eyes.

There are all kinds of nice high powered 1-3 watt LED headlamps but honestly they are NOT running lights. While they could provide the same function as a flashlight the same story of using a flashlight as a running light isn't valid.

Seatle Sports Hydrostar Multistrobe
Been thinking of getting one of these for a while. The Seatle Sports Hydrostar Multistrobe seems to cover all the bases. It is an LED flashlight, red/green running light, and an emergency strobe with multiple atachment methods. Has anyone tried one of these units?

VIP Light
Essential Gear VIP 5 LED light.

Warning: not cheap.

Machined brass body covered with abs plastic shell, mil. spec. I think. Has 3 settings; Steady On (good flashlight as well, SOS flashing & strobing. Takes a CR123 battery and lasts quite a long time depending on the mode it’s used in. 5km range & 200 hour flashing lifespan. Stainless clip on the back hooks nicely into the typical lash tab.

The regular cost on this widget is $120, hence the warning.

See you on the water,


Got a Hydrostar from REI a while back since it was about the same price as the Paddler’s Supply light (I think the Paddler’s Supply has since come down in price) and offers more versatility. Have used it on couple evening paddles mainly as a stern light. Seems reasonably sturdy, the LEDs are quite bright (for 5mm LEDs) and it works as advertised. It uses 4 AAA batteries, and I haven’t checked runtime. Not sure if I’ll even use the red/green running light mode (unless I get a stern light), but at least it’s there if it’s ever needed (or required). Not a bad emergency light to leave in the car, too.

Whatever you buy…
turn it on once in a while to see if it still works, perhaps as often as you paddle.


lyngo you keep it attached to your yak

– Last Updated: Mar-29-07 10:01 PM EST –

I keep my strobe (which is what was asked about) on me because it is me that needs it not the yak. If I get seperated from my yak I still have my strobe! If I need to to be 360 I can take it off but I still have it with me. I also carry my VHF on me not attached to the yak for the exact same reason, SAFETY!!!!!!

ARC light

– Last Updated: Mar-29-07 8:08 PM EST –

is legal, fully waterproof and Coast Guard approved. You are correct that it is not a blinding light, it is not meant to be. And if you think about it no navigation lights are very bright. Spot lights are bright but they are not navigation lights. Nothing would be more confusing to a power boater than someone bobbing around in a kayak with a super bright headlamp or flash light.

You do not need any running light on a paddle craft.

You only need a light that can be turned on in time to prevent a collision.

Around here many people night paddling us a simple cyalume stick....perfectly legal.

VIP Single Led
I was able to find the single led VIP for $50 at my local shop.

Nice durable light with three modes, (on, strobe, and flashing SOS)

"in time to prevent a collision"
yes that’s a minimum requirement. You paddle unlit until you’re about to be run over and turning on your “torch” alerts the other boat to alter it’s course.

The problem is the assumption that turning on your light “in time” will prevent a collision, especially a flickering 2AA cell Arc light (as the narrow 360 beam oscillates with movement). If the light is meant to provide emergency notice to a boat on a collision course you don’t want a dim flickering light, you want something BRIGHT, you want their ATTENTION because you don’t want to die or cause an accident with a last minute correction that sends the other boat into another boat or fixed obstruction.

A club in NY did a test of various light setups and came to the conclusion that the best thing to notify other boats of your position was regular running lights if you are going to be in traffic. I could see paddling without a light where boats don’t travel near shore and having the flashlight to signal ones presence as necessary.

I crossed a channel at night with a BRIGHT dive light on the deck. Of course it was off because it’s not a running light, it’s there to be turn on “in time to prevent a collision”. As I was crossing I saw a red/green light to my left way off in the distance, as I was halfway across I realized that it wasn’t way off in the distance it was a fast moving catamaran ferry. I turned the light on and paddled like a mofo for two hundred yards.

And the ferry did not change course one bit. I was about 100yds past his line but it was a pretty clear message. Big fast moving boats won’t see you let alone stop “in time to prevent collision” if you turn on a little bobbing light.

That’s what the captain of a fishing boat was yelling holy murder at me and my buddies another time. It was a big club paddle, about a dozen people. He was livid saying he couldn’t see us worth sht and didn’t want to be responsible for running us over because we were too fcking stupid to have adequate running lights.

Last time I went night paddling with three friends they had ARC lights, two were on the aft deck, and one on pfds, only visible if not blocked by their torso. Two were yellow dim and not differentiated from shore light reflection off the waves from 100yds. I had two LED lights, one 1watt on my back deck pointing straight at my back and the other on the front bungies pointing forward lighting the deck and anything directily forward. My friends said they had absolutely no problem seeing me. It wasn’t legal but it was visible.

not all decks can take it
if a paddle hits it and it slides off dangling by it’s tether is that something you’d like to deal with in an emergency? Ditto a rescue situation. As a retail item they sell well, “it’s got everything” As a kayak specific item I’d like something that isn’t affected by everything that happens on a sea kayak. That’s why the Tectite running lights are so good, it lays flat on the deck but has the right orientation. I paddled by people in anchored boats who said they wanted one for their inflatable because it was so much brighter than the standard one used on dinghies.

One thing I noticed about the Seattle Sports light is that the red/green aren’t seperated well using the same circular lens. One of the colors is noticably brighter than the other. It’s a great idea but the style of vertical red/green running light with suction bottom is derived from the type used on dinghies/inflatables. It’s not exactly an ideal design for a kayak where the boat can get turned over, stepped over or paddles placed next to it. Also not all foredecks can accept a suction cup.