Toms Tips About Bright Light Blindness

By Tom Neale, 5/28/2009

  1. For this and a million other reasons, it’s good to have a partner with you when you’re running a boat—not just soaking up rays or day dreaming, but keeping up with what’s going on so that he or she can step up to help, quickly, if needed. 

  2. Have aboard within immediate reach (should you not be wearing them) a very good pair of polarized sun glasses.
  3. If for some unfortunate reason you don’t have good sunglasses, it sometimes helps to form a light shield with your hand and fingers, making a tiny aperture with your fingers, and peeping through that. If done correctly this tactic can block out most of the light letting you see a little better than you would without doing this. But if your target is directly in the glare, this trick won’t help. And remember that the light getting through can still damage your eyes, and your vision with this method will still be greatly limited.
  4. If you’re concerned about another boat out there in the dark, avoid shining your light on it.  Instead, consider illuminating your own boat in a manner that won’t interfere with the vision of anyone aboard. Sailboaters often shine their spotlight up their mast or on their sails. Or, you could shine the light along your hull (particularly if it is a light color) or on a part of your superstructure where it won’t interfere with anyone’s vision.  On some occasions it may be appropriate to shine the spotlight in the water.
  5. Remember that you want to know what’s up with the other guy, but you also want him to know what’s up with you and to be able to see you.

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