New Barge Lighting for 20xx?
July, 2010 Update: Still no new information
on this, but it's interesting reading...
If you've ever
approached the side of a barge at night, you know
how hard it can be to see a series of barges. This
is especially true in a long tow typical of the area
consisting of a 5-long by 3-wide configuration. The
only lighting that will be exhibited by the tow will
be sidelights and two yellow towing lights on the stern,
plus you will see sidelights and a special yellow flashing
light at the front of the barges. There will be several
hundred feet of darkness between these lights along
Closer to the city, the lack of surrounding
lights is your first clue that you may be looking at
the side of a tow. You would think that with all the
advances in technology, there would be a better way
to make barges more visible. Currently, the only lighting
required on the barges themselves would be sidelights
and a "special flashing light" at the most
forward point. Five barges back, you will see the tow
exhibit sidelights and two towing lights astern.
Captain Ron Getter of Cincinnati's
Southern Ohio Marine Trade Association reports that
there is a new system that has been tested on the rivers
and will be introduced into the approval process in
April of 2009. Each barge will be equipped with three
lights along the exterior edge.
What about the mess of wiring these
babies up? They will each be solar-powered and radio-controlled
from the tow. Each will feature an arc of visibility
of 15 degrees, directed toward the beam, so that they
will only be visible as viewed from the side. They
will be sequenced in a racetrack pattern to indicate
the tow's direction of travel (forward or astern).
Sounds great, but why haven't they
turned them on already? The Colregs (Rule 20 D) regarding
vessel lighting prohibit unapproved lighting configurations.
These lights will be required only after they have