Homes, offices, cars, warehouses and industrial applications aren’t the only things that operate with industrial lighting – boats do too. While you may not associate boats and marine equipment with lighting, lights play a big role in many areas on a watercraft.
For starters, all boats are required to have lighting when in operation at night so that they can be observed by other boaters, kind of like a car and its headlights. But boats may also use lights in the cabin, courtesy lights in the cockpits and lighting around the main seating areas. Yes, lights are abundant in boats and marine applications – and not necessarily just for when after the sun goes down. But how do you go about selecting the right industrial lighting products for your marine application? Here’s a quick guide on some need to know information when shopping for marine industrial lighting:
Choosing Marine Industrial Lighting Products
1. What type of light do you want for your boat or oil rig?
There are more options than just traditional incandescent bulbs these days for most lighting applications. Two alternatives are LED (light-emitting diode) lights and halogen lights. While there are benefits of selecting the latter, the former offers arguably the greatest benefit of all the light varieties. While LED lights carry a greater upfront cost than alternatives, LEDs use up to 90 percent less power, which leads to a big cost savings and less strain on the battery. LEDs also last for longer than incandescent bulbs. For instance, if you only use an LED light for 8 hours a day, it would be about 20 years before you would have to replace the bulb. This also presents a long-term savings compared to alternative bulbs, not to mention added convenience. LEDs also don’t generate the heat of incandescent bulbs, which can pay big dividends when it comes to cabin temperature.
2. Don’t just buy from anywhere
Don’t just head up to your local hardware store and browse the lighting section to find the right bulb or fixture – instead, opt to do business with LED lighting suppliers that are specialists in LED lighting. You’ll find that their level of expertise and guidance when it comes to LEDs for your watercraft can trump that of other providers. What’s more is that many outlets that specialize in marine lighting will also offer warranties on their lighting products so you can better rest assured that they’ll stand up in marine environments. ( READ MORE: Find an LED Lighting Specialist – Contact Neutex )
3. Find the right LED Products
In case you don’t have any other option but to buy from an LED supplier that is not experienced in marine lighting, there is one important factor you need to keep in mind – and that’s the type of LED you need. Most of the LED lights that are in use (i.e. in the home, office or automotive applications) are of the ballast resistor variety. We could go into detail explaining the nuts and bolts of this type of LED, but what’s important to note is that the ballast resistor type of light is not suitable for watercraft. The main reason why is because bolt voltage often varies, unlike how it behaves in other applications. For marine applications, the resistor needs to be able to adequately accommodate changing voltages. For this reason, marine LED lights are a bit more advanced – and a bit more expensive too.
4. What to look for in Marine LED Lighting
There are a few things to look for in a marine LED. One of them is constant current circuitry. This is often present on any good LED bulb, and essentially works to maintain the current at the level to deliver quality light. The other big thing to look for is voltage regulation. Marine LED lights are rated at 10-30 volts, essentially meaning that they need a DC-to-DC converter to effectively run off of the boat’s battery. Remember, if you can find an outlet that is experienced in selling lighting to mariners or boaters, then they’ll be able to steer you in the right direction in terms of what lighting will work best for your boat in the scenario that you’re shopping for. But if you have no other option but to order online or brave an outlet that doesn’t particularly specialize in marine lighting, it’s important to know the information we’ve outlined here.
One other note is that LED lighting isn’t something that can be applied to just new, state-of-the-art boats – it can also be applied to older boats as well, and with little to no electrical adjustments necessary. Again, a big part of this is because LEDs use significantly less energy than traditional bulbs, so electrical modifications often are not necessary.
When it comes to marine lighting, LEDs should be top of the mind, for the benefits we’ve listed above. But also keep in mind that when it comes to marine lighting, all LEDs are not created equal. So follow the advice we’ve outlined above to find the right LED for your watercraft or marine application.
READ MORE: LED Magazine Talks LED Lighting