Originally Posted by Polwart
...are your nav lights visible through the correct range of angles there?
Funny you should say that cos this evening I had two experiences regarding nav lights. Returning from Aberdour to Post Seton, bit bumpy sea with some swell through it from NE. Not quite dark but almost. A hundred meters or so off to port at about 45° suddenly a red nav light showed up, nothing on radar. As we closed it turned out to be a rib, profile looked like a Delta, then suddenly a white top light showed. As it passed beam on it showed two white top lights rather than an allround white. A very well lit boat, so why didn't I see them? The side lights too low down and mostly hidden by waves and the crew blocked out the forward facing light so it wasn't visible until somewhere about 50-60°.
It was too dark to see the crew individually but the lights looked to be on a frame but below head level when the boat was cruising bow up. The boat wasn't on the radar, even beam on at close range.
Lesson, get those nav lights high up and if you think your A-frame will show on radar, your jokin....
Next one. This has happened to me once before. Not too far from the above incident there was a solid target on the radar but nothing to be seen, slightly darker now and against the shore lights. Gave it a bit of space and kept looking, suddenly a xmas tree of lights! A fishing boat! Was its lighting completely matching the shore lights or, as I've experienced before in the same area, illegal fishing?
On the previous occasion there were a number of invisible targets which suddenly switched on their nav lights. Much later I was involved in a conversation where it turned out I wasn't popular that night cos a number of boats were fishing illegally and they thought I might be an official boat sneakin up in the dark.
I'd put money on tonight's boat doing the same.
It occurred to me that the rib invisible by light or on radar to the fishing boat passed close by the fishing boat invisible to the rib. Eeekk....
I suppose the rib could have had radar but it wusnae a very big rib so likely not.
Lesson, take care out there you never know what's in front of you.