Adding low voltage, energy-efficient blue LED lights, LED rope lighting or underwater lights is an easy upgrade on a boat

blue LED boat lightsUpgrading our cockpit lighting with blue LED lights was one of the most dramatic –  yet simple – updates we have made to our boat.

Not only are LED lights energy-efficient, but they give your boat a definite “cool factor” at night on the dock. With the new trend of blue LED replacement lights readily available on the marine market, you’ll likely see more cool blue illuminated boat cockpits on your dock soon too.

This cool glowing effect can be achieved by installing simple replacement LED light bulbs or rope lights… or taken to the next level by installing blue LED underwater boat lighting systems.



Low Voltage Replacement LED Light Bulbs

blue lights radar archFor our Sea Ray, we opted to simply replace the exterior light bulbs on our radar arch with blue LED light bulbs. It was as simple as changing a light bulb. We decided to only replace the light bulbs on our radar arch so that we would still have white lights in our lower courtesy lights. Having blue lights in the arch and white lights near the floor gives us the option of having the blue glowing lights while relaxing on deck, or using the white lights when we need better visibility in the cockpit.

Why LED lights? Well, low voltage LED lights save energy on a boat… which has its advantages if you spend a lot of time on the hook. We got the idea from one of our slip neighbors that spends many nights out on the hook. They decided to replace all of their exterior lights on their Silverton Sport Bridge (including the lights along the stairs going up to the bridge). Their boat looks very dramatic at night with the blue LED lights, and they save energy while on their batteries for extended hours. In fact, they are so convinced of the energy savings that they are talking about replacing all of their interior cabin lights with LED light bulbs too.

Another advantage of LED lights is that they emit less heat than regular halogen or incandescent light bulbs. I have been told that the LED lights attract less bugs at night. So far the jury is out on that one.

Blue LED Rope Lights for a Boat

Rope lights have been a popular addition to boat cockpits and decks for years. They are easy to install on boats because they are flexible and can be nicely fitted around the curves and bends of a radar arch or interior sides of a boat cockpit.

Today’s LED rope lights are especially useful for boats because they emit high intensity light while drawing less current. Buying marine grade or outdoor rope lighting will last longer in a harsh boating environment.

Installing LED rope lights that have a power cord but are also 12V compatible are most convenient for boaters. Then, you can have the boat lit up whether you are tied up at the dock with shore power or if you are anchored out overnight on the water.

When choosing LED rope lights, keep in mind that you’ll probably need a lot more feet of rope than a standard 10 feet if the roping is going to be wrapped around the interior of a boat. You’ll either need to purchase a longer line of LED lighting or group together several sets to create the right length of lighting.

With that much lighting surrounding you in the cockpit, choosing blue LED rope lighting is the way to go. The calming blue illumination will be better on the eyes because it won’t be as bright as white lights.

Blue Underwater LED Lights for Boats

For the ultimate night time cool glowing effect, blue underwater LED lights are sure to make heads turn on the dock.

The latest underwater LED lights are made of specially formulated polymer so they are corrosion proof and resistant to chemicals. This means they will require little maintenance after installed – no zinc anodes are even needed. But obviously, this is one upgrade that is easier to accomplish when the boat is out of the water in the spring or fall.

How do you choose underwater LED lights? Depends on how much light you want and what size boat you have.

Here’s a simple guide:

Series 1 – Has one light beam and draws less than .5 of an amp per light @ 12 volts – designed for boats up to 28′
Series 3 – Has three light beams and draws less than .5 amps @ 12 volts or less than .3 amps @ 24 volts
Series 6 – Has six light beams and draws less than 1 amp @ 12 volts or less than .5 amps @ 24 volts.

6-Series Led Underwater Lights often have several colors that can rotate between the colors. Talk about an underwater light show!

Adding low-voltage LED lights to your boat is an easy upgrade that makes a dramatic impact for minimal effort. Now if only all boat upgrade projects were that simple, right?

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Diane Seltzer

Founder & Editor at My Boat Life
Diane is the founder of MyBoatLife.com as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids BoaterKids.com. She is also active in the boating industry, serving as the marketing director for a marine sunshade product, SureShade, and founder of Marine Marketing Tools, a collaborative site for sharing marine marketing best practices. Diane is also the author of the children's book The Amazing Adventures of Boat Girl.

5 Comments

  1. Your article shows me another usage for LED lighting – for your boat. I work with Sharp and have been doing research on LED lighting. I am discovering that they are great for homes, inside and outside, businesses, art, aquariums, toys, bicycles…the list just goes on. Creating better, cooler, beautiful light seems to be limited only by one’s own imagination. I think they are the lighting of the future.

  2. Voltage spikes can cause cheap LED lights, that are wired into your boats electrical system, to burn out quickly. Make sure the LED lights you buy use internal digital switching also known as constant-current protection.

  3. I just bought a 39′ 2005 Searay aft cabin. I want to find blue light bulbs for the cockpit lights. I just sold a 37′ Searay Aft Cabin and I had someone change out those light bulbs for blue ones, but he’s no longer around. Where can I find the light bulbs I need? Thank You

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