Bow Head Lights


Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Searchlights were not normally carried by merchant ships in 1912. They are a mixed blessing. They light up a limited area ahead of the ship, while ruining the night vision of lookouts trying to keep an allround watch. They also earn curses from other ships whose lookouts are blinded.

I don't know about modern freighters, but modern passenger ships carry searchlights, usually below the bridge and remotely controlled from the bridge. They are reserved for emergencies, such as searching for somebody overboard or for a small craft in distress.
 
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Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
Boxhall ha a lo to say on the subgect e.r.
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. (interrupting)
In discerning objects at sea, for instance, I will give a case in point. If you were coming up on a schooner, you can not see her distinctly. She shows no light; around about Nantucket and in along Long Island, I mean. They may have a light burning, and it may be invisible, being screened by their sail or something like that. That ship may be standing right across your bows, and you may not be able to distinguish immediately which way she is heading, in the dusk or in the dark. If you had a searchlight then to put right straight on that ship, instantly you would be guided as to which way to put your helm.

As it is, if you can not show any light there is nothing to guide you; and you are fairly close to her, and you have to alter your helm, and give the ship you are in plenty of helm in case you should happen to be crossing her bows. Of course we always go around a vessel's stern when we can see her stern.
 
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Sep 7, 2020
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Searchlights were not normally carried by merchant ships in 1912. They are a mixed blessing. They light up a limited area ahead of the ship, while ruining the night vision of lookouts trying to keep an allround watch. They also earn curses from other ships whose lookouts are blinded.

I don't know about modern freighters, but modern passenger ships carry searchlights, usually below the bridge and remotely controlled from the bridge. They are reserved for emergencies, such as searching for somebody overboard or for a small craft in distress.
Thank you for the clearly stated information.
 

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