Waterlight Safety Advisory

The U.S. Coast Guard recently published a safety advisory listing common problems associated with floating electric waterlights. Waterlights are used by both pleasure and commercial vessels for a variety of tasks, from man overboard position lighting to marking underwater obstructions. U.S. Coast Guard approved waterlights (as per 46 CFR 161.010-2) must meet the requirements of UL 196, which includes float testing and bracket release testing. According to the safety advisory, recently reported waterlight problems include:
  1. Installation of incorrect, heavier replacement batteries, which cause the waterlights to sink upon deployment.
  2. Improperly installed batteries and failure to re-install flotation foam during battery replacement.
  3.  Use of incorrect mounting brackets, which prevent proper deployment.
  4.  Badly deteriorated rope lanyards due to sunlight damage.
  5.  Not using Coast Guard approved waterlights were required.

A list of CG approved waterlights can be found at http://cgmix.uscg.mil/ Equipment/Search/EquipmentSearch.aspx by selecting "Floating Electric Water Light" in the Approval Series field of the search page. Waterlights meeting additional SOLAS requirements are listed under "Floating Electric Water Light (SOLAS)"