7. No detailed description should be internationally adopted for the construction of the lamp or lantern, so that a fair chance may be given to inventors to produce serviceable articles.

8. The side lights should be so screened as to prevent the most con. vergent rays of the lights being seen across the bows more than half a point.

9. The side lights should be placed in steam-vessels not forward of the mast head light.

10. To meet the number of complaints as to the absence of proper lights on sailing vessels the attention of the powers is called to the better enforcement of the regulations in that behalf.

11. All steam-whistles, sirens, fog-horns, and bells should be thoroughly tested as to their efficiency, and should be capable of being heard at a stated minimum distance, and should be so regulated that the tones of whistles and sirens should be as distinct as possible from the sound of fog-horns.

12. Steam.vessels should be provided, if possible, with means of blowing off surplus steam when the engines are stopped, in such a manner as to occasion as little noise as possible.

13. In clear weather at sea no vessel should attempt to cross the bows of the leaders of any squadron of three or more ships of war in regular formation, nor unnecessarily to pass through the lines of such squadrun.

14. In every case of collision between two vessels it should be the duty of the master or person in charge of each vessel, if and so far as he can do so without serious danger to his own vessel, crew, and passengers (if any), to stay by the other vessel until he has ascertained that she has no need of further assistance, and to render to the other vessel, her master, crew, and passengers (if any), such assistance as may be practicable and as may be necessary in order to save them from any danger caused by the collision, and also to give to the master or person in charge of the other vessel the name of his own vessel and her port of registry, or the port or place to which she belongs, and also the name of the ports and places from which and to which she is bound.


[Accompanied by an appendix and three plates.)


Resolved, That the Chair appoint two committees, each to consist of seven delegates, to be known as the Committee on Lights and the Committee on Sound Signals, whose present duty it shall be to examine and report to the Conference the literature on these two subjects which is in the possession of the Conference.

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WASHINGTON, November 4, 1889. To Rear-Admiral S. R. FRANKLIN, U. S. Navy,

President of the International Marine Conference, etc. : SIR: The Committee on Lights, pursuant to the resolution adopted by the International Marine Conference on the 17th ultimo, instructing the said committee to examine and report on the literature on lights in possession of this Conference, have agreed upon a report, which they have the honor to respectfully submit:

The literature submitted to the consideration of the Conference consists of papers, most of which offer certain distinct proposals. All these bear witness of the great interest the work of the Conference has excited, and a number of them show evident marks of the deep thought and great ingenuity brought to bear on the subject by the authors. Nevertheless, the committee have not thought it advisable to single out any special system for adoption, but content themselves with reporting in general terms upon such as are typical of their class. The committee, however, take this opportunity to express their sense of appreciation of the interest taken in the work, the sincerity of effort, and the ingenuity of which nearly every proposal bears evidence.


Before entering into a more detailed discussion of the proposals submitted to the Conference regarding lights the committee feel it their duty to say that it is absolutely necessary to be as conservative in re. gard to the existing rales concerning lights as possible. It has to be borne in mind that these rules, after being nearly forty years in force, bave become as familiar to every seaman as if they were cast in iron letters and so impressed on their minds. Every change, therefore, has to be considered most seriously before its adoption, and this should be done only when considered absolutely necessary. Otherwise such an adoption may lead to confusion, and this probably would beget serious danger to life and property at sea, for the better protection of which this Conference is assembled.

Bearing this in mind, the committee beg leave to state that, although they have no direct evidence of the insufficiency of the present system of lights, they nevertheless are of the opinion that the regulations actually in force are insufficient to make the presence of a sailing vessel known to a fast steamer approaching her, soon enough to give the latter ample time to keep out of the way.

For, if a steam-vessel has to keep out of the way of a sailing vessel, then it is clearly the duty of the latter to make her presence known soon enough to make it possible for the steam-vessel to comply with the regulations.

In this respect the side lights at present shown by sailing vessels (Articles 6 and 7) and the white or the flare-up lights exhibited astern (Article 11) are not satisfactory. It is considered, therefore, desirable that some plan be found by which the presence of a sailing-vessel should be indicated at a greater distance than under the present regalations.

The proposals which have been submitted to the consideration of this committee aim to supply this want :

A. By introducing a white light to be carried a considerable distance above the side lights and to be visible at a greater distance than these, say 4 or 5 miles.

B. By increasing the power of the side lights.

Both these systems would increase the cost of fitting out vessels—a matter worth consideration.

(A) The introduction of a white light, such as is carried by steamers under way, according to the present rules, would, in the opinion of the committee, indicate the whereabouts of a sailing vessel in a simple and efficient way, and at such a distance that even the fastest steamers would have ample time for maneuvering in order to keep clear.

But the white light on sailing vessels would complicate the system of carrying lights on all classes of ships, since it would, as a matter of course, necessitate an increased number of lights to be carried by steam. ers also.

The adoption of such a light would moreover give to a sailing vessel in the future the same system of lights carried at present by a steamvessel. This would bring about a radical change in the regulations, which should, if possible, be avoided.

The committee are fully aware also of the difficulty of placing a white light on board of a sailing vessel in such a manner as never to be obscured by the sails, particularly the head-sails.

There seem to be but the following places in which these lights might be carried:

(1) On the end of the bowsprit.
(2) Under the foretop.
(3) Under the foretopmast cross-trees.
(4) At the truck of a mast.

But none of these positions can be especially recommended to the consideration of the Conference.

(B) It appears very difficult, if at all possible, to increase the power of a ship's side lights from the present range of 2 miles to that of 3, as proposed, without at the same time increasing the size of the lantern in a manner which would make it too cumbersome and expensive for use on board ship where the conditions are such as to make the construction of lanterns particularly difficult. The range of a light increases only in the ratio of the square root of its power,

and it would be pecessary to increase the latter in the ratio of 4 to 9 or 1 to 2.25 in order to get the desired range mentioned above.

The committee had no exact data before them on which they could safely base a more detailed investigation of this important and difficult question, and they therefore took the liberty to suggest that a number of experiments be carried out by the Light-House Board of the United States in order to furnish the material necessary for further discussion.

Probably the construction of a more powerful light would necessitate the use of a wick of much larger diameter than that used at present, if not of a second wick, and this addition would again make it much more difficult to screen the lights properly. An electric light, on account of its smaller diameter, could no doubt be more easily arranged in such a manner as to meet the difficulty, but, in the opinion of the committee, such a light can not be made compulsory at the present day.

The committee, therefore come to the conclusion that though they can not but consider an increase in the power of the side lights most de. sirable, they do not find themselves at the present moment in a position to recommend any means by the adoption of which the desired end could with certainty be attained. This, however, may, as they hope, result from the experiments now undertaken by the Light-House Board of the United States.

Résumé : The committee, while fully aware of the great desirability of making the presence of a sailing vessel known at a greater distance than

at present, are unable to recommend any of the systems submitted to their consideration as being free from all reasonable objections.

Much of the uncertainty at present felt on this account could, how. ever, be avoided were the regulations properly enforced. And since among the papers submitted there are many complaints of the absence of proper lights on board sailing vessels, they believe that the attention of the different Governments should be called to the necessity of better enforcing the regulations in the future.


Among other proposals submitted to the Conference, those which aim at a better indication of the direction of a ship's keel are the most important. They may be classed as follows:

A. Those in which range-lights are made use of, i. e., lights placed at à considerable horizontal distance from each other, and placed in the same vertical plane with the keel.

B. Those in which two or more side-lights are used on the same side of the sbip.

C. Those in which it is proposed to give to the side-lights a certain relative position in regard to the white masthead-light of a steam-vessel.


Range-lights were proposed a long time ago. They have been in use on board vessels navigating the inland waters of the United States of America for a considerable period, and have been made compulsory for such vessels by the rules approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, Circular No. 14, of March 1, 1883, rule 7.

The claim of originality for any of the systems submitted to the Conference can for this reason be entertained only in so far as the original system has been changed in one way or the other.

A list of the systems proposed will be found in Appendix A.

The committee regret that they could not report on other proposals regarding such lights, which have been made in different countries during a considerable number of years, and they beg to state that in their opinion a number of these are not inferior to many of the systems under discussion.

The system proposed by Lieut. F. F. Fletcher, U. S. Navy, has been explained to the committee by Commander Chadwick, U.S. Navy, whose “ Report of trials on running-lights and sound-signals” by the United States war vessels Yorktown, Despatch, and Triana, has been officially brought to the notice of the Conference. This report speaks favorably of that system, and the committee have selected it therefore as a representative one of this class, and one well suited to be commented upon.

This has been done in order to be able to discuss the important ques

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