Lighting Regulations for Drawbridges over Navigable Waters in the US

Highly congested docks and waterways are filled with drawbridges that connect various land-based locations around the region. US lighting regulations under 33 CFR 118.1, requires such structures to be illuminated during operation.

This article dives into specific lighting guidelines for bridges over bodies of water where marine operations are conducted on a regular basis.

Types of Lights for Marine-based Bridges

The type of lighting systems applied to drawbridges depends on the classification of the structure. For single-opening drawbridges, every draw span of the structure must be illuminated with two lanterns.

When the bridge is closed, it showcases two red lights; and when open, the bridge displays two green luminaries. During installation, both types of bridge lamps should be mounted at least 15 feet from the roadway (above the bridge). Yellow lights are utilized when illuminating a floating swing bridge.

Signaling Drawbridge Operators with Lights

When a vessel approaches a commercial bridge, the boat operator is required to signal its presence to the drawtender (operator of the drawspan, which can be a trained crew member).

This action is emphasized using boat spotlights. Specifically, 33 CFR 117.15 indicates that a fixed or flashing light is suitable for signaling (white, amber or green). The lighting signal is designed to acknowledge the request from the boat operator and to verify that the bridge will be raised for the safe passage of the vessel.

When the bridge cannot be opened, due to obstructions or busy operations on land, the drawtender must also signal the boat. The lighting signal used for this type of action is a fixed or flashing light (red). Moreover, this signal should be deployed within 30 seconds after the visualization of the boat’s opening signal.

The same signaling protocol is used when the bridge is open and must be closed immediately due to an emergency.

Improving Safety in Industrial Shipyards with Portable LED Lights

A recently published post on EHS Today highlighted a disturbing fact about the dangers of shipyard operations in marine environments. According to the report, confined space injury in industrial shipyards occur twice as often, compared to general construction projects. Why is this happening and how can workers boost safety in shipyards with portable LED lights? Find out below.

Dangers of Shipyard Operations

Shipyards are flammable work sites, due to the presence of combustible fuel, paint and chemicals. Such substances are used during repair, maintenance and construction of large vessels. The main issue with shipyards is their confined nature. The workplace is filled with enclosed and confined spaces, such as tanks, storage rooms, hulls and connecting pipes.

Without proper ventilation, deadly fumes and vapors can accumulate in tight spaces inside the ship. This is also why Class I, Divisions 1 & 2 explosion proof lights must be used at the work site.

Portable LED Lights and Wireless Gas Monitoring

Chambers and enclosed spaces inside shipyards are not usually illuminated or equipped with permanent lighting systems. Workers must bring their own temporary light to the site. This is where safety can be improved; by using reliable LED lamps.

LED droplights, headlamps and cart lights are examples of luminaries that are suitable for confined spaces in shipyards and marine locations. For increased safety, the units can be low voltage. Moreover, it is crucial for the lamps to be explosion proof.

Another device that is useful for shipyard operators is a wireless gas sensor. These devices detect the presence of combustible gas through active monitoring and real-time notifications.

When used together (portable LED lights and a wireless gas sensor), workers can increase the accuracy of readings on gas sensors, as well as reaction times to the presence of flammable substances pooling in the area.

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Keep Industrial Buildings and Work Sites Safe with Infrared LED Illuminators

Security cameras are effective monitoring tools for large, industrial facilities. The devices allow operators to view targets from safe distances, with minimal direct contact. In some cases, a set of security cameras connected to a single network can be deployed to streamline monitoring of tanks, main pipelines or valves. In order to extend the functionality of security devices for nighttime applications, it would be worth considering the use of powerful infrared LED illuminators.

Extending Range and Visibility

Nighttime security cameras rely on infrared LEDs as a primary light source to capture images in the dark. The non-visible beams can help monitoring devices ‘see’ objects hundreds of feet away. Additionally, saturated beam angles may also boost visibility in locations that experience a lot of haze or smoke. This is particularly useful when checking for gas leaks on external surfaces of tanks and large compartments.

Compared to using a standard, visible light source, infrared LEDs are more discreet and applicable to facilities in high-activity or urban locations. Because the beams are non-visible, operators do not need to worry about light spillage on roads, nearby buildings and sidewalks.

Extreme Design

Infrared LED illuminators incorporate rugged designs, due to their extreme applications. The units provide 50,000+ hours of continuous illumination. This lifespan can be extended using photocells or timers that only turn the light on when it is needed. High-quality infrared LED units offer extended operation, beyond the lamp’s expected lifespan, at reduced intensities (retention). The can be used as stationary or portable work lights.

During illumination, the lamps do not use infrared filters to generate infrared beams – as commonly seen in incandescent infrared light sources. Instead, the units incorporate diodes that generate the specific non-visible band. This not only improves the quality of the light, but also decreases maintenance, since there is no longer a need to install a separate filter on the LED illuminator.