HID Spotlights for Versatile Marine Use|
When it comes to the type of lighting to use in marine applications the wide variety of equipment available along with the unusual characteristics of the marine environment can make selecting the right lighting equipment difficult at best. Every boat owner has different preferences and the wildly differing conditions encountered by boaters has resulted in few cut and dried options. It is not enough to simply find the most powerful spotlight that fits within a budget and mount it to a bow railing or bridge and call it done. The nighttime marine environment presents special challenges that must be considered before a spotlight is chosen, and how that light is intended to be used will help define the spotlight characteristics that best fit a given application. Given that conditions and preferences can vary widely, an acceptable starting point would be to consider lighting equipment that is versatile and portable.
When operating in a nighttime marine environment, boaters must deal with certain complications that come with the use of intense lights. Although it would seem simple common sense that a bright light for navigation would be ideal, the reverse is in actuality true. Spotlights and floodlights when used on the open water tend to be less beneficial than one would first assume. In nighttime boating it is essential that the human eye be allowed to adjust itself to low light levels. This is commonly called night vision and is a state where the eye has become sensitive to any light available, which enhances vision in a dark environment. Boaters for the most part must rely on this night vision for nighttime marine navigation. Distant shorelines, buoys, other boats, and onboard operations all become surprisingly easier to see in dark conditions than one would naturally assume given that the eyes are allowed to properly adjust to low light levels.
The problem however is that there is times when bright illumination must be used in order to ensure safety. In situations where navigation has become very hazardous due to close proximity to obstacles or debris, or emergency situations arise such as man overboard or assisting other boaters, a strong light source is necessary. In these and other situations it is important that a light not only be powerful, but versatile as well and have the ability to be operated without having undue negative impact on the ability of boaters to see in the darkness.
A common problem encountered when installing spotlights on a boat is the tendency for the lights to reflect from the surfaces of the boat itself causing glare and cause a loss of night vision, effectively blinding the user if only temporarily. While the area illuminated by the light may be immediately visible, the glare and loss of night vision makes it impossible to view anything outside this area. This temporary loss of night vision can have serious consequences should it occur during a critical moment, such as when approaching another vessel or navigating a difficult passage. Spotlights mounted on the bridge or any point behind the bow can oftentimes spill much of their light on the foredeck or other surfaces, effectively creating a great deal of glare that can blind boaters whose eyes have become adjusted to low light levels. Since mounting options are then limited, it is often preferable to have a portable spotlight available rather than a permanently mounted unit.
With a handheld spotlight it is possible for the operator to avoid the reflection and glare caused from light inadvertently contacting reflective surfaces. Additionally, with the operator positioned behind the light at all times the chances of being accidental blinding are further reduced. The portability of a handheld light means that the light is much more versatile than a permanently mounted unit as well and can be used in a wider variety of applications. An even greater degree of versatility and convenience is realized when portability is combined with a rechargeable power source, which eliminates the need for cords or external power sources. The Larson Electronics 15 Million Candle Power Rechargeable HID Pistol Grip Handheld Spotlight is a good representative of the kind of spotlight that can fulfill all the requirements for use in a marine environment. Ergonomic, powerful, and utilizing a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack this spotlight is an ideal choice for boaters who desire a powerful spotlight yet do not want to compromise with a fixed unit.
An added benefit of this spotlight is its ability to tightly focus the light produced. A common problem with hand held spotlights is their tendency to have a great deal of light spillage. Spillage occurs when light escapes around and past the reflector and causes unwanted illumination of the surrounding area. In marine applications this can be a problem due to the aforementioned concerns with night vision and temporary blinding caused by glare from light reflecting off of the boats surfaces. This spotlight from Larson Electronics tightly focuses the beam it produces, catching over 90% of the light and throwing it as a beam rather than losing it to spillage. This results in a spotlight that puts the light where it is needed both efficiently and safely.
As with any electrical equipment to be used in a marine environment, this spotlight is durable as well and is constructed of materials that are resistant to water, chemicals and UV rays. Since it is a HID lamp equipped spotlight, resistance to damage from impacts and vibration is enhanced as well since HID bulbs have no filament in their design that can be broken by rough handling. Easily stored out of the way until needed, the 35 watt lamp is capable of providing 15 million candlepower of intense light at a moment’s notice wherever it may be needed. The low level of spillage and portability means that interference with night vision is limited while versatility is exceptional and operation is possible from any position or location on a boat.
Although it is preferable to avoid bright lights during the general operation of a boat during nighttime hours, there are times when a bright light will be mandatory. With portable HID spotlights boaters can benefit from all the power of an HID lamp without the need to compromise power, safety, or versatility.