Red Light Reflected

Report Text:

To enhance my boats’ visibility to other vessels radar systems I purchased a radar enhancer. The product was installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions by a reputable rigging company.   The unit was fitted on the manufacturer’s supplied bracket at the top of the mast on the port side.

Before sailing I fully tested the operation of the unit and all was satisfactory within the limitations of the test.  I also tested all the navigation lights.  I noticed that the unit was brightly illuminated by the tricolour sector red light, with the red reflected light highly visible in the green and white sectors. I was therefore unable to use the tricolour at night and had to revert to using side lights to avoid any confusion to other vessels which could easily have resulted in other vessels taking incorrect actions.  Near misses and/or collision could easily have occurred.

In subsequent discussion with the rigging company I decided to cover the whole of the white unit in black self amalgamating tape which would absorb the red light rather than reflect it.

At the time I also contacted the company and the MCA to highlight my concerns. However, the unit was still being produced in highly reflective white plastic after my concerns were raised.

CHIRP Comment:

We thank the reporter for having shared this issue and the remedy that was adopted. We have been advised by the manufacturer that the unit is now supplied with a grey non-reflective casing, rather than the previous white reflective material.