Underwater LED Lighting: Popular for a Reason|
What started out as something of a novelty has quickly grown into a popular and effective addition to almost any boat that is used for spending evening hours out on the open water. Anglers have known for a long time the benefits of using lights to attract game-fish and pleasure boaters have often enjoyed the ambiance and intrigue created by installing underwater lights on the hull of their craft. It can be an absolutely fascinating experience for guests and party goers when a skipper turns on the hull lights after dark and the sea comes to life before their eyes. When anchored at a prime location a good set of hull lights can attract an incredible array or marine life to the water surrounding the boat, providing a bounty for both casual observers and fishermen alike.
Equipping a boat with this kind of lighting however can be a challenge. The marine environment is one of the harshest extremes that electrical equipment can be made to endure. The corrosive nature of sea water alone can make short work of unprotected metals and vulnerable circuitry and the oftentimes unpredictable nature of marine weather patterns can subject lighting equipment to heavy battering from jarring impacts of occasionally surprising violence. As well as the conditions that this lighting must endure, it is oftentimes also difficult to install. Creating a solid mounting point on positions that will be continually below the waterline and running electrical connections to these positions poses some serious concerns that must be properly addressed if the installation is to be successful.
Further compounding the problem for boaters wishing to install underwater illumination on their craft is the type of lighting equipment to be used in these applications. There are several different options available and some have unusual requirements that if not correctly addressed, can result in a short lived and expensive experiment in failure. Some halogen hull lights for instance cannot be left turned on while a boat is on a plane or is not in the water because overheating or cracking can occur and destroy the light. Other lights can only be installed by drilling large holes and require special care and attention to detail during installation to insure that no problems will arise from leaks or compromise of the vessels hull.
Despite these considerations, underwater lighting has continued to gain in popularity. Continual improvements in lighting technology have resulted in the available array of underwater lighting options increasing dramatically. Perhaps nowhere is this increase more evident than in the entry of light emitting diodes into the underwater lighting market. LEDs have been making an increasingly notable impact in all aspects of lighting technology in the last ten years as they continue to increase in power and efficiency and now rival or even surpass many more traditional forms of lighting. Boaters find LEDs attractive because their small size and very low power requirements mean that they can be fitted unobtrusively to their crafts and are an excellent way to create quality lighting while at the same time greatly reducing the power drain on their electrical systems that lighting usually represents.
Because of their inherent durability, LEDs are a natural choice for underwater applications. They produce very little heat and so are not prone to damage from contact with cold water while in operation and are easily sealed against intrusion from salt water that can corrode sensitive electrical connections. Their small size means they can be installed with limited alteration to a boats hull and will be less affected by the passage of water created when a vessel is underway. Underwater LED boat lights like the Larson Electronics LEDUL8-2C Underwater LED light offer an unsurpassed ability to provide underwater lighting that is both safe and powerful while drawing very little energy from a boats electrical system. Compared to a halogen underwater light, this light puts out a comparable amount of light while using only a fraction the amount of electrical energy. This means that you can run several of these lights without worrying that you’ll have to expend extra fuel just to keep batteries charged. The mounting process is simple and the holes required for installation are very small. The entire lights profile is minimal as well, reducing concerns for the effects of turbulence on the lights while the vessel is underway. An added feature of these Larson Electronics underwater LEDs is their ability to produce multiple colors. This light can either be purchased in a single color, or ordered with the ability to create both blue and white light either independently or in combination. Simply toggling the power switch controls color selection and operation. It can even be switched to a fade mode. The small size and efficient nature of these lights also allows boaters to mount several of them in series to create interesting lighting effects in the water. Several can be mounted to the rear of a boat to create a bright glow around the rear of the boat which is useful for night fishing, or they can be mounted around the boats hull to produce an interesting halo effect that encircles the entire craft.
Underwater LEDs benefit from a rugged design that lends itself to underwater operation quite well. Modern LEDs are typically encased in clear epoxy or sealed housings that are water tight. When designed for use in marine environments, housings are usually cast aluminum or stainless steel as with the Larson Electronics LEDs to prevent damage from corrosion. Wiring is designed to pass through the vessels hull without any exposure to water and lenses are solid polycarbonate or plastic composites to resist damage from impacts or vibrations. LEDs have no filaments in their construction so they are inherently rugged and can withstand vibration and shocks that would destroy traditional filament based bulbs very quickly. This is very important in underwater marine applications where there is a great deal of turbulence and vibration encountered when a vessel is underway and at high speed.
It’s only natural that as underwater lighting becomes more popular among boaters that LEDs become the light of choice for these applications. Their long life means they will not need replacing for many years after installation and their energy efficient operation is a natural fit for marine uses where power management is a critical concern. Although it takes some work and planning to fit any light to a boats hull, LEDs add the benefits of simplified mounting and low profiles to help simplify the process. For what amounts to an afternoon or two’s worth of work, boaters can have an underwater LED lighting system that will be the target of envy from other boaters and the wonder of guests and passengers for years after installation.