sailboat naviagtion lights, sailboat navigation lights, sailboat lights, boat lights

Top 7 Essential Navigation Lights For Sailboating

Steps to install underwater lights:

Essentially you are making a hole in your boat below the water line, so we first suggest professionally installed. However, if you are relentless in wanting to do everything yourself then here are the steps. Installing on transom:

  1. Measure and mark the tentative positions for each of the lights (we want to be at least 8 inches below the water line).
  2. Measure the locations position from reference points that could be located inside the hull to confirm clearance. Then check these reference point locations in the Bilge to ensure the required holes would clear stringers and vital items mounted on the transom.
  3. Back off the boat final measurements to laterally locate the lights were made and marked.
  4. Tape the supply drilling templates in position. When drilling the mounting screw holes, extra care is taken to size correctly for the soft bronze screws.
  5. Once the correct size is identified, Drill all mounting holes and pilot holes for wiring, then the 1/2 inch center holes for the wiring.
  6. Remove template and use a 5200 sealant for below the water line application, is applied to the mounting hole and the wiring hole. Make sure you use a generous amount of sealant. Also use a good amount of sealant on the backside of the light as well.
    sealant 5200, adhesive sealant, marine sealant, boat sealant, sailboat sealant, bilge sealant

    Picture: 3m sealant (5200)

  7. Feed the wiring into the transom and the light is pressed into place. Tighten the mounting screws down and make sure the sealant is evenly squeezed out to ensure a watertight bond.
  8. Inside the bilge, first slide the rubber strain relief onto the wire and then apply marine sealant to the tips of the screws and the wiring hole and press the strain relief into place
  9. So the point here is to mount the terminal blocker or busbar in a central dry location where all three lights could be wired into it
  10. strip the positive and negative wires from each light and apply ring terminals by crimping and shrink tubing heated.
  11. Secure the negative and positive wires to the busbar
  12. Then prep the power supply with the ring terminals and shrink tubing as well
  13. Once complete the negative and positive wires get secured to the bus and make sure all wiring is cleaned up and secured before leaving the bilge area. If you have to, just use zip ties
  14. Once you run your power wires and you are ready to mount  switch plates to the wall, first mark out and cut out a hole to hold an electrical box to hold the basic switch. Strip the positive leads from the panel and busbar. Ring terminals crimped on , and secure the switch plates. The ends of the positive and negative wires are stripped for ring terminals
  15. Create a jumper wire to run from the fuse black to the spare breaker.
  16. The positive wire to the switch and the jumper wire were connected to the fuse block , then insert the correct fuse. Make sure to get a block for multi fused circuits so you can add more LED lights over time.
  17. Finally, connect the positive to the breaker and secure the negative to the negative bus bar and you wait to launch to see if you did it right!

This should not take you more than 1 day to install. In fact it should take you about 4-5 hours.

Below are reviews based on 4 factors: Quality, Price, Use and Ease

If  you are planning to sail at night, fog/spot lights are very important to install on deck for docking and seeing up ahead of you and all around you when it gets dark. This Ottonavi Cree LED has been tested on our Mcgregor and really illuminates as if it were secondary moonlight! This model in particular fits on off road vehicles as well. Security on board means everything so do not hesitate to mount one of these bow-side starboard, port and stern-side. The unit comes packed with 10 LED’s  to give you about 70′ of clear vision in whichever direction it is pointing. When fog is real bad and you only have 10-20 yards of visibility, the lights really work to give you a little extra visibility. 
Improvements: The mount magnet doesn’t seem strong enough  when the tides get rough so you will need to screw this piece in but it is easily done. Mounting plate can be a little bit better in quality and the cables should be longer but you can manage. 
Conclusion: If you are looking for decking lights or secondary lights/fog lights we would not hesistate with the Ottonavi. The price is well worth it and we would pick up a few of them to install on the bow and stern (for docking) 
Overall Rating: 4.2/5
There will be times when you need to signal to others in your vicinity that there went a crewman overboard! Or atleast having it on board is important in cases like this. They don’t happen frequently but depending on what kind of sailing you are doing and what the conditions are, this ACR SM-2 model will come in handy. It is compliant with SOLAS and is USCG approved. We have tested these and man does the Xenon strobe brighten up the night. It is a true 360 ° marker with roughly 3.1 miles of visibility . Automatically activates as it hits the water given a high impact rating. It is UV resistant so it can stay roped up on board. It is also resistant to extreme temperatures and chemical contact. It weighs about 2 lbs without a battery and only 1.5kg with. Measures about 13.8×4.8
Comes with a mounting bracket that works well. It is an upgrade from their previous model allowing for brighter light in all directions. The polycarbonate blend case is a real nice touch and just feels like quality. After a couple of uses we feel confident that this product is super durable and can withstand vigorous use.
Best Use: Any kind of sailboat besides dinghies. Great for commercial vessels too.
Improvements: Would have liked to have seen it come with batteries and would have liked it to be of the spring type terminal and not screw type.
Conclusion: We are really happy with this COB light. You get pretty much all the accessories you will need including a bulkhead bracket, Top Cap/Pole assembly, Lifeline Bracket, Battery Adapter and Repair kit. we recommend  something that is omni- directional so get the ACR-SM2
Overall Rating: 4.2/5

These spotlights have an IP rating of 6+7, which means you will not have dust intrustion and you can under water up to 3 ft for an hour! This is a stamped topped cast base 3-16 heavy duty with excellent quality.

How to mount: run the power to the base itself then get a phone cord rg-11 (get at any home store) . It comes with 15ft but if you need more you can get more. It will plug and unplug The joystick can be mountable to any station you may have to run a distance (how far you want it to go fore and aft) its got 55 degrees verticle transfer and 350 degrees around. The remote is very useful so do not skimp on a remote. At 72,000 Candlepower you are getting great visibility with your spot beam and for flood it is about 30,000. This takes a 12 V battery, dual station option and is 316 stainless via base and 304 via head.

Improvements: You may have issues with the pins inserted into the connectors (holes are too small for pass through and when you pull the pins they may not snap back . Easy fix though.  You will need to drill 2 2.5” holes instead of the 1.5 ” they instruct you to makingAlso we wish you were able to mount this upside down but because of water ingress it is probably not the best idea. Its’s possible but not recommended.

Conclusion: These do a really good job on boats 20ft or larger and they do well spotting buoys. Very powerful and very good looking.

Overall Rating: 4.3/5

    One of the more popular options being installed on all kinds of boats are underwater lights. However, we feel like these also work well with sailboats. Installing 2-3 3 across the transom will really illuminate the boat near the back and through the water for visual help and aesthetics.  If you have a day sailor 10ft or bigger we recommend just 2 of these. You won’t need 3 across the transom unless you start getting into the 20-25ft boats.

    This Lumitec SeaBlazex is one of the leaders in underwater lighting. The lights emit up to 4000 Lumens 12-24V. The housing is marine grade bronze alloy and this unit in particular comes in 4 colors along with strobe and cross fade modes. The through holes are 1/2″ on these. We found these to be really well made, and you can tell once you see them right out of the box that you are dealing with quality. We’ve actually installed 2 of these on our Mcgregor near the steps of the hull and several feet away from the transom. The idea was that we wanted them to be way lower in the water and less effected by the engines. Great for fish watching and fun!

    We found that the larger (in lumens) the better they work . Do not waste your time in buying separate smaller lights.  You will not be as happy and they will not work as well. The great thing about LED is that you can run 10 of the lights on one circuit and you will be fine. LED  lights consume very little power. We love these SeaBlazeX underwater lights for the fun factor as well as for the light aid for fishing.

    Improvements: We found that after 1 year of use the cones of the light start to diminish but we think it has to do a little with where we installed them. The wiring is not complex ( only an on-off switch)

    Overall Rating: 4.7/5

    1| Genuine Marine LED Signal Lights

    When in doubt always go with LED. The bulbs last forever practically and you are using very little electricity to power them on.  After testing out these Genuine Marines we are very pleased with the overall performance. The housing was made with detail and precision in mind. The PMMA lens radiation angle peaks at 225° which makes 3 nautical miles of visibility.
    Genunie Marine has put out an excellent and affordable line of signal lamps for safe sailing. These are USCG certicice and CE certified.
    Improvements: You can’t stow away during the day and you may trip over them or get dock lines stuck on them. We would like if there was a stainless steel option
    Conclusion: These lights are perfect for installing them in compact areas and GM gives you 2.3M of extension so you many not have to get extensions. These are ideal for sailboats over 30ft but will work on any sailboat . These are marine grade and wonderful. You will need these to signal so save some money and go with Genuine Marine.
    Overall Rating: 4.7

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