June 8, 2009                                                                                                                      Alert 02-09
Washington, DC
Compact Fluorescent Lights
This Safety Alert serves to inform the maritime industry that  energy saving Compact Fluorescent
Lights (CFL) or lighting, sometimes known as radio frequency (RF) lighting devices may interfere with
certain communications equipment. CFLs employ a RF lighting device to excite a gas inside a bulb in
order to produce light. 
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  recognized the need for and adopted rules to
control the harmful interference to radio communications services from these devices. During the
rulemaking process the Coast Guard provided  comments and recommended an advisory label for
CFLs / RF lighting devices warning users about potential interference to communication services and
particularly with respect to devices capable of producing emissions in the 0.45-30 MHz band.  As a
result, the FCC required manufacturers of CFLs to provide an advisory statement, either on the
product packaging or with other user documentation, similar to the following: "This product may cause
interference to radio communications and should not be installed near maritime safety
communications equipment or other critical navigation or communication equipment operating
between 0.45-30 MHz."  
The Coast Guard has learned that CFLs have been installed on the navigation bridges of vessels and
in other places capable of causing radio communications interference.  Marine inspectors, vessel
owners and operators  should be aware of this potential safety hazard and take proper action as
 This safety alert is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or
international safety, operational or material requirement.  Developed by the Office of Domestic Vessel
Activities (CG-5431), United States Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC.  
Office of Investigations and Analysis:  http://marineinvestigations.us

When All Else Fails -- Amateur Radio Prevails