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Ranking the 11 Best Underwater Boat Lights for 2021

Best Overall Choice

Tidal Wake Plug n' Play Underwater Boat Light

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Best Budget Choice

TH Marine High Intensity LED Underwater Boat Light

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Best Premium Choice

Lumitec SeaBlaze X 2 Underwater Boat Light

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Ian Fortey by Ian Fortey Updated on September 2, 2021.

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Underwater boat lights have been gaining in popularity in recent years. And for good reason. LED technology has made them affordable and brighter than ever. They’re also easier to install than you might think on something like a pontoon boat. And they do have practical benefits when it comes to fishing, not to mention safety. If you’ve decided now’s the time for some underwater boat lights, check out the best on the market.

Best Overall Choice

1. Tidal Wake Plug n' Play Underwater Boat Light

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If you’re not 100% sure if underwater boat lights are for you, look here. The Tidal Wake Plug n Play doesn’t require a heavy installation at all. Your hull will suffer no holes whatsoever and that’s pretty cool. Instead, this very cool design makes use of a hole you already have. All you need to do is remove a drain plug from your boat. Then you screw the tidal wake light into its place. So you get a replacement drain plug and you have no worries about leaks. But you also have an underwater light as well. That’s pretty cool.

Tidal Wake offers their light in four different colors. White light is good for attracting fish and being noticed easily. Green light can also attract fish and offers a cool effect. Red light is very intense and is definitely a stylistic choice. Blue light looks relaxing and in the right kind of water makes a very cool effect. Be aware of blue lights, though. In recent years, law enforcement has banned blue lights on boats in some areas. They can be mistaken for law enforcement boats. Check local regulations before boating to be sure.

The LEDs in the light produce a whopping 1800 lumens. They also have 50,000 hours of life in them. That means you won’t need to be replacing your light any time soon. The light fits in a standard ½ inch plug. You can hard wire the light once it’s installed. Or you can plug it into an accessory outlet. Whatever works best for your setup.

Because it’s designed to fit in an already existing hole, installation is very fast. You literally just screw it into the drain plug hole and you’re done. Surface mounted units install quickly in around 20 minutes or so. You can have this up in running in under five minutes. We recommend using a bit of plumber’s tape on the threads as you install, however. That will ensure a perfectly waterproof seal. You don’t want to take a chance that you have even a small leak.

The light itself offers a wide 160 degree beam. That’s more than enough for attracting fish and keeping things illuminated. The company has a three year warranty as well. They even offer a handy storage bag for when you want to take it out and put it away.

Best Budget Choice

2. TH Marine High Intensity LED Underwater Boat Light

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Getting a good quality underwater boat light shouldn’t break the bank. You’ll see some lights can cost hundreds of dollars per light. On a big enough boat, you can invest thousands by the time you’re done. But if you’re new to underwater boat lights, that’s a big commitment.

For many boaters, there’s still a stigma around boat lights. For years, they’ve been considered kind of useless. Or just something that rich boaters used to show off. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can enjoy the benefits of underwater boat lights without going broke. That’s where TH Marine comes into play. Their high intensity LED lights work great and are affordable.

This light offers just six LEDS but remarkable brightness. You’re also looking at 100,000 hours of life, which makes the low cost even more remarkable. You’re saving a lot of money by giving this light a try.

The company doesn’t list the lumens on these, so it’s hard to gauge exact brightness. Based on our observations, they’re not on par with some of the big boys like Lumitec. But they still offer a decent brightness. Again, we’re talking about some very affordable lights. Not 6000 lumens by any means, but they can get the job done. TH Marine sells similar lights on their website that are 180 lumens.

These are surface mounted, which means you just need holes for the wiring and screws. Make sure everything is well sealed after installation. Be careful when you are installing them, though. The housing may crack if you over tighten your screws. If that happens, they’re not going to work at all once you get them in the water. Should that ever happen? No. But these are cheap lights and it’s a risk. As long as you’re careful, it shouldn’t be an issue, though.

Best Premium Choice

3. Lumitec SeaBlaze X 2 Underwater Boat Light

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If you want the best of the best, we recommend going with Lumitec. They make what we think are the best marine lights on the market. They aren’t cheap by any means, but there is a reason for that. These lights look great and perform well. They’re also made from top quality materials.

The housing is naval grade bronze. You’ll notice as we go through our reviews here that almost no one else uses that. That’s because it really is premium stuff. It’s top quality, and it also looks the best. The glass over the lights is heat tempered as well. Make sure you use freshwater and soap to keep it clean. Don’t scrub it with anything abrasive. It should stay looking good for quite a long time.

The SeaBlaze X2 is not joking around. These lights really do blaze. You’re looking at over 6000 lumens for the white lights. That’s going to light the sea up like you have the sun installed on your hull. There’s an internally synchronized cross-fade mode. That’s a cross fade from white to blue if you want to try that. It makes for a cool effect.

Installation is simple with a standard 3 screw mount set up. These are surface mounted lights, so you just need those screw holes and one for the wire.

One of the big selling points for Lumitec is one you can’t see at first. The company has some of the best technical support in the business. Maybe the best. If you have any issues with placement, quality or installation, give them a call. They’ll answer every question you have right away. They’ll also walk you through anything you need help with. That’s something that most companies can’t hope to compete with.

When it comes to top quality across the board, Lumitec is what you want. You’ll pay more, but you’ll find it’s worth it in the long run. If you have a larger boat and can afford it, look into getting these lights. Their reliability is top-notch. The quality in the workmanship is plain to see. And they’re an American company offering the best in customer service. When it comes to premium underwater boat lighting, this is the best.

4. Husuku Soop3 Underwater Boat Light

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Husuku is a company based in China, but the products they make have really stood the test. They offer diversity and good quality for the money. Sometimes when you put money into a product that seems cheaper than similar brands, you get what you pay for. But Husuku’s quality does stand the test in many cases. The company has been around since 2004. Ithas focused specifically on lighting for boats since their inception.

One of the big ways Husuku stands out from the crowd is in sheer variety. Tired of just white, blue or green lights? Husuku adds pink, purple, yellow, and red to the mix.

The SOOP3 underwater boat lights bring a lot to the table. With 60 LEDs in the unit, they produce 2000 lumens. The beam angle is 120 degrees, which is pretty wide. That makes them ideal for almost any application. Fish will be drawn in for sure. But you’ll also have increased safety and visibility. If anyone’s looking for your boat in the dark, they’ll find it.

The unit is sealed with a thick rubber gasket. Metal components are made with 316 stainless steel. That means high resistance to corrosion. The two screw design makes them quick and easy to mount. The company also offers a three-year guarantee. If you have any issues in that time, contact them for a replacement.

With the variety of colors, these lights already offer more than most competitors. Factor in that easy install and the price and you have a solid choice for any boat. The biggest flaw we saw right off the bat with these is that there are no instructions. Now, technically, that’s not a big deal. They’re lights, and they’re pretty self explanatory. But if you’re new to marine lighting and installation, that can be frustrating.

If you need to brighten up a pontoon boat or fishing boat, give them a try.

5. Jiawil Drain Plug Underwater Boat Light

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Jiawil has produced a really high quality light here. This is another drain plug model like the Tidal Wake we recommended earlier. These lights are arguably the easiest to install of all boat lights. That’s because they really are a plug and play sort of technology. Just pop out your drain plug and pop this back in its place. It will maintain a seal like a drain plug should. The added bonus is a very cool light.

The construction of the Jiawil light is top shelf stuff. It’s been freeze tested to endure the harshest conditions. It’s also tested against the corrosive abilities of salt spray. The 316L marine grade stainless steel is tough as nails. Tougher, actually. It’s corrosion and shock resistant. It can handle pretty much whatever gets thrown at it. The company is so confident in their design they have a three year warranty to back it up.

It features an internal driver to boost the power. There’s also overheat protection so you don’t need to worry about it causing problems that way either. And that means you’re free to test it out of the water without fear of heat damage.

The light produced is not the brightest you’re going to find, so keep that in mind. The company doesn’t list the lumens, which we found odd. Instead, they just advertise 27 watts based on 9 LED bulbs, but that doesn’t mean much. Wattage is not a measure of brightness. That said, this is not super bright, but it does a decent job. It really depends on what sort of application you have in mind. This will certainly attract fish and offer a cool glow. But if you want something more dramatic, it may not be the best fit for you.

The power cable included is 1.5 meters long, or about four and a half feet. The lifespan of the bulbs is about 50,000 hours. For the price, and how easy it is to use, this is a great option.

6. Husuku Mini LED Underwater Boat Light

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Husuku is back again with a slightly smaller version of their boat light. This mini LED unit is just 3.7 inches long. They offer a 120 degree angle for the light beam. 27 LED bulbs produce an impressive 1200 lumens. They’re sold in pairs so you can place them evenly around the boat for maximum lighting effect. Also, you have the option of white, green or blue lights. Make sure you check regulations before going with the blue, just in case.

Husuku uses 316 stainless steel. There are typically two kinds of steel out in the world and the other kind is 304. 316 stainless is made with chromium and nickel to make it more resistant to corrosion. While 304 stainless is good, 316 stainless steel is much better.

The lights are waterproof to 20 meters. They’re also sporting a 5000 hour lifespan. That’s not as long as some, but it’s far better than older style light bulbs.

The company offers a 1 month guarantee so you can return them for any reason in that time for a refund or an exchange. If there’s an issue with quality, you have a full three year warranty for an exchange after that.

Installation is very simple. These surface mounted lights really only take minutes to get in place once you’re ready. Drill the appropriate holes for screws and wiring and you’re good. Seal it properly and secure it in place and you’re done.

The housing is well sealed and impact resistant. Clean them with some freshwater and soap to keep off any algae or other mess. Just make sure you use a soft cloth. If you scratch the case, then you may lose brightness as a result.

This is a great choice for your jon boat or other fishing boat.

7. Lumitec SeaBlaze Mini Underwater Boat Light

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Lumitec is synonymous with quality. When you want the best in boat lightning, you go here. Lumitec actually makes the lights for a number of other marine companies. The Lumitec SeaBlaze mini offers the same quality as the X2 but smaller.

Now, keep in mind, it says mini, but this is still a premium light. The price definitely reflects that as well. You can certainly find cheaper lights. But the quality and reliability is what you’re paying for here as well. But, if it helps alleviate the stress of the higher price tag, know that you’re getting two lights in a pack.

The SeaBlaze Mini comes in either blue or white LED lights. The white has a higher lumen output at 890. The housing is marine grade aluminum. It’s been anodized to withstand the harsh saltwater of the ocean for as long as possible. Be careful if you attach it with steel screws, though. That sets up an electrolytic reaction between the different metals.

Installation is pretty easy with these. You’ll need a ½ inch hole for the wiring, and then your screw mounting holes. Make sure you seal everything well. You should be able to hit the water pretty quickly after installation.

You can adapt this to either inboard or outboard motor layouts. Just a pair will suffice for a smaller boat, but larger boats over 16 feet could handle four or five.

Lumitec is an American company so if you want to support local, they’re a great business. They also have responsive customer service to go with quality workmanship.

8. Basiker Surface Mount Underwater Boat Lights

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With a rainbow of colors available, Basiker lights are a cool and fun choice. Plus, they’re sold in a two pack to maximize their use. And the benefits don’t stop there.

The lights have an extremely wide 180 degree beam. If you want to attract fish or have a cool-looking party boat, this is ideal. The 84 LED bulbs give out 3000 lumens of brightness. That’s incredibly bright and will light up even the murkiest water. You can always set your lights up to dim them as well if you find the 3000 lumens to be too intense. Not every day has to be lit up like the 4th of July, after all.

Installation is a breeze for these lights. They’re surface mounted, so you just need to drill a hole for the wiring. Make sure it’s well sealed and you’re good to hit the water.

Inside the waterproof housing there’s a heat sink for safety. The metal parts are 316 stainless steel. That can stand up to saltwater better than most. The back is sealed with waterproof glue and rubber to ensure water is not getting into the housing.

The company offers a full refund for any quality issues in the first month. After that, you have three years of coverage for quality issues. They guarantee it will not leak or cause burns for life.

If the lights don’t seem as bright as you want, make sure to adjust the angle. Remember, you get two in a pack as well, so place them evenly. Or, if you like, keep one in the water and one out to add lighting to your deck. They work in and out of the water.

For the price, the versatility and power of these lights can’t be beat.

9. Five Oceans Underwater LED Boat Lights

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Five Oceans has been around for decades now. They’re known for top quality products and good customer service. You can expect no less from their LED underwater lights as well.

With 645 lumens of brightness, these are greater around small to midsize boats. They feature 9 LED blue light bulbs at a 120 degree output angle. The bulbs have a 50,000 hour lifespan. The stainless steel housing resists corrosion and shock damage.

One thing to keep in mind is that mounting hardware is not included with this light. You’re going to need three stainless steel screws per light to attach them. Make sure you get stainless steel! If you choose another metal, you’ll have some issues with electrolysis and corrosion.

The housing is compact at only 3 ¾ inches across. It stands out from your boat just 11/16 of an inch. That makes it barely noticeable on the surface of your hull.

Installation is quick and simple once you have your screws. A hole for the wires and some screw holes and you’re good to go. There’s a driver included to boost the voltage. It’s external and is housed in a plastic case. You’ll want to make sure it’s secured somewhere, just to be safe.

Overall, Five Oceans has made a powerful light at a reasonable price.

10. West Marine Bay Blaze Underwater Boat Light

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West Marine’s Bay Blaze is a powerful little light. It’s surface mounted so you don’t need to drill a ton of holes. All you really need to worry about is running that wire. That requires just a ¼ inch hole. But once you have it installed, it does a great job.

The lights come with a three year limited warranty. You can also extend that for another two years if you want. West Marine has great customer service and they stand behind their products. Just remember, the warranty covers materials and workmanship. This light will suffer some corrosion in the water and they won’t cover that. It happens to every light.

That aside, the light housing is made to last. It’s anodized aluminum, so it will stand up to some harsh conditions. It’s also only three inches in diameter, so it’s not a massive thing sticking out of your hull looking ugly.

The three tiny LED bulbs are super powerful. You can get it in blue or white light. The white lights produce about 890 lumens in a very compact space.

The glass in the housing is scratch resistant and easy to clean It also only extends a tiny amount off of your hull. Just ⅝ of an inch. That’s barely noticeable at all.

We’d caution you about the screws that are included for mounting. They’re just small #10 stainless steel mounting screws. They don’t seem to be manufactured to the level of the light itself, though. You may want to swap them for more durable marine screws. These ones seem to strip easily.

11. Husuku 90 LED Surface Mount Underwater Boat Light

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If you want to light up the ocean, then this is your underwater boat light. Husuku went all out with this model. Featuring 90 LED lights in the housing, this is blindingly bright. It puts out an astonishing 3600 lumens. It puts the light out at a wide 120 degree angle for large coverage. If you’re looking to get the fish or keep people on board illuminated, here you go. And if those lights seem too bright, don’t worry. They’re dimmable as well.

The housing is designed to handle temperatures from -50 Celsius up to 90 degrees. If the ocean ever hits either one of those extremes, you have bigger problems than your lights. It’s also rated for about 50,000 hours of use. So expect this powerful light to last a long time. All that at 10~36 V.

The housing is just under 7 inches in length and about 3 inches in width. Installed under your boat’s transom, it’s out of the way but incredibly functional. Because it’s a surface mount you won’t be drilling a ton of holes, either.

The brightness and the cost work together to make this a great choice.

Choosing the Best Underwater Boat Lights

Some newcomers to boating question the need for underwater boat lights at all. After all, it’s under the boat. What could be the benefit? Well, there are a few actually. It all depends on what you want to get out of boating, though. Someone having a party on a yacht has different expectations than a kayaker. Not all boating is done for the same reasons.

Underwater boat lights offer boaters a few benefits:

Fishing: Lights are a great way to attract fight. If you’re fishing in murky waters or at night, lights will help pull them in to you. In turn, you’ll also see them better. It’s a win win for fishermen at sea.

White LED lights and green LED lights have a short wavelength. These make them easier to see in the water. They attract fish to the boat and allow you to see them more easily. As an added benefit, white LED light won’t attract insects. Because it produces little heat and emits the wrong wavelength, bugs will avoid it. That’s great for not just fishing but boat parties.

Gatherings: Parties are another great reason to use boat lights. Under the water along the sides of your boat can set up a very cool and casual atmosphere. If you like to entertain on your boat, they’re a great choice.

Safety: They also offer additional safety for when people are on the boat at night. They keep everything visible. If someone goes overboard, they make it that much easier for them to see you and for you to see them.

Visibility: Lastly, underwater boat lights are easy for everyone to see. That means other boaters as well. If you’re moored somewhere at night, you’ll be visible to others more easily than if you just had lights on the deck.

All that said, there’s more to underwater boat lights than just buying a few bulbs. Let’s check out what you need to know to get the most from your underwater boat lights.

The Installation Process

As you can imagine, installing an underwater boat light isn’t a 60 second job. This is much different than putting a new lightbulb in your reading lamp. There are actually a couple of different ways to install underwater boat lights. These all depend on how you want to use the lights, time, money, and so on.

Wireless: Wireless underwater boat lights are the easiest to install. No holes need to be drilled for these. You actually just attach them to the outside of the hull. These can be attached with marine glue or tape. Because LED lights are so small, you can find these in tiny patches or strips that are unobtrusive. They tend to be hard to notice and won’t interfere with how your boat runs or looks.

A problem with these wireless lights is that they run on battery power. That means they won’t ever be as bright as the wired kind. They can still get bright, of course. But wired often look brighter.

Another potential problem is installation. The tape or glue used to hold these in place could come off. That could result in you losing the light.

Finally, because these run on external battery packs, power could fail. The battery could die on you and if you don’t have a replacement, that’s lights out.

Wired: These are a much more permanent type of lighting. You’ll likely be drilling holes in the hull to install this kind of light. That is, unless you have lights set up already. These connect directly to your boat’s battery. If your boat has power, your lights have power. LED lights draw very little power, so these tend to not be a big drain. Plus you can rig solar power to aid in running them.

Getting Underwater Lights Installed

Installing lights in your hull can be precarious. Naturally, no one wants to poke holes in their boat. But it can be done safely and efficiently if you follow the directions. Unfortunately, we can’t walk you through it here because there are too many factors to consider. Your lights should have an installation kit that explains it all. That said, we can walk you through some general steps.

You need to know if you have a solid fiberglass hull or a cored hull. A cored hull boat takes a little more work for the install. That’s because you need to seal the core so no water gets in. Even a tiny leak can build up over time.

Installing lights in coring means you need to seal that coring. Your best bet is to drill a hole in the hull as normal for the light installation. The size depends on what light you have, of course. Then, take out about an inch extra of the coring material. You can use a screwdriver or other tool to dig it out in a ring around the drilled hole.

Once you have the coring material out, clean it well. Use a vacuum to get all the little pieces out. Wipe it down to get it as clean and dry as possible. Then you need to mix up some sealing compound. You’ll want to use the same epoxy you’d use to seal the lights normally. Mix it with some colloidal silica. You want this to be a thick paste when it’s done. Think peanut butter. Pack it into the hole you carved in the coring material until it’s full. The whole circle needs to be filled right to the edge. Once it’s packed in as much as it can be, let it cure for a day.

Once the hole is cured, you can trim it if necessary. After that, you’re good to install the light as normal. That patch in the core should keep it water tight no matter what from now on.

Surface Mounted Lights

These work a little differently than the kind we just described. You don’t need to bore a large hole in your hull to install these. But you still do need to drill holes. In this case, you’ll need holes for the screws that are going to attach the light fixture. Additionally, you’ll need a small hole to allow the wires to pass through. It’s less intrusive than the flush mount kind of lights. But you still need to make sure it’s sealed very well.

Underwater Boat Light for a Drain Plug

This is another kind of light you may want to try. These lights technically don’t require installation. Which is to say you’re not drilling anything to install them. Instead, you’re replacing your drain plug with this new light fixture. It’s still a drain plug, only now it has an LED light in it. You can install a light like this in a matter of minutes. Basically, it’s the same as removing a drain plug and putting a new one in. The only major difference is the power line here. The plug light comes with a line to connect to a power source. Just make sure you have it installed correctly. And, of course, make sure it’s the right size. Nothing’s worse than buying a fixture like this and discovering your drain plug light is the wrong size.

Materials for Underwater LED Lights

Typically, you’re going to be dealing with marine grade plastics here. You need your underwater boat lights to be able to withstand the environment, of course. When it comes to housings and fittings, metal needs to be corrosion resistant.

Marine grade bronze alloy is also popular. This is able to stand up to harsh conditions at sea well. It’s more expensive than plastic but is tougher and looks better.

Stainless steel or other treated metal that can resist rust is key. Be mindful of this if you are a saltwater boater. Obviously, salt water is much harsher on metal than freshwater.

Aluminum stands up to corrosion well, but it’s not as strong as steel. If you need to screw in different parts of the fixture, the metal is more likely to strip or wear out if it’s aluminum. Keep that in mind and be careful.

You also want to make sure you’re getting something that is easy to clean. Or it’s resistant to algae. If a light gets covered in algae, it’s not much use any more.

Corrosion Problems with Underwater Boat Lights

If you boat in saltwater, this is for you. Electrochemical corrosion is out to get pretty much all underwater boat lights. No matter the brand of lights you buy, this is going to happen. You can get corrosion resistant lights, but never corrosion proof. Part of the problem here is in how they are made. If the screws are stainless steel but the fixture is an alloy, you’re in trouble. Saltwater will allow these metals to react and there will be a transfer of electrons. That’s electrolysis, and it happens to every kind of metal in salt water.

Microscopic amounts of one kind of metal will be stripped away and deposited on the other kind of metal. You can’t avoid it unless you use composite materials and not metal.

Knowing this, you can be prepared for what is going to happen to your lights. They will look awesome when you buy them brand new. But, over time, the housing is going to get ugly. If you know that it’s going to happen, it’s less of a problem. Mostly, it’s no big deal at all. If the boat’s in the water, you won’t even see it. But when you have the boat on the trailer, it can be cause for alarm. You might think you got ripped off if you bought pricey, corrosion resistant lights. You get the boat on dry land and they look awful. That’s just chemistry, unfortunately. Every company that sells underwater boat lights mentions this in the warranty info. In fact, installing your lights probably voided your warranty. Feel free to check the wording, but that’s standard. The warranty ensures they get to you in one, functional piece. Once they go in the water, it’s all over.

Preventing corrosion can be time consuming and mostly fruitless. You can slow it down, of course. But not stop it. You probably have anodes on your boat hull. This is to stop electrolysis from damaging your prop and other parts too badly. But this is a stop gap measure. And your lights are too small to have anodes installed.

There are some ways to slow corrosion down, of course. You can use anti-corrosion coatings every time you remove the boat from the water. You can keep them clean as well. Also, things like nylon washers will slow the spread. But don’t concern yourself too badly. It’s going to happen to you just like it happens to everyone else.

Beam Width

Beam width affects how the light is seen. It’s the angle that the light comes out of the fixture and into the water. You can typically get a beam width between 90 degrees and 120 degrees. A narrow beam will travel further and look brighter. But a wider beam will do a better job of attracting fish. Wider is better for larger boats as well.

Beam Brightness

Light bulb brightness is measured in lumens. Some people think the wattage of a bulb is how you tell the brightness. A 100 watt bulb is brighter than a 60 watt. But the wattage is energy consumed. It relates to brightness, but it is not the way to quantify brightness. Plus, when it comes to LED lights, watts is not an efficient way to quantify brightness at all.

Many underwater boat lights produce around 5,000 lumens or more. To put that in some perspective, a 100 watt incandescent light bulb in your house may have 1600 lumens. Navigation lights on a boat should be at least 600 lumens.

Lower lumens are ideal for atmosphere. If you want to have a relaxed and chill evening on the boat, lower lumens are ideal. Higher lumens allow for better visibility and intensity.

Light Colors

We mentioned earlier the benefits of white lights. These can attract fish but not insects. They’re highly visible and bright. Green light is often more visible underwater and provides a cool looking glow. Both of these light colors illuminate small particles or bait in the water. This in turn will attract fish to come and feed. Those small fish will then potentially attract larger fish.

Red lights are an option some boaters choose to go with. This doesn’t have a ton of benefits in the practical sense. That said, they’re extremely noticeable and can look very cool. Also, depending on your motor set up, you can create a bit of a fire wave effect with red lights. Again, not practical at all, but visually stunning.

Blue light is considered calming. It also seems to travel better underwater. But there’s something you need to be aware of.

Nearly every brand of underwater boat lighting offers a blue light option. For many years, blue light has been a popular choice. The glow accents the water and makes it have a relaxing and cool appeal. But it may not be legal.

You’ll need to check regulations in your area to be sure. In some jurisdictions, blue marine lights are not allowed. The reason is that blue lights have typically been used by law enforcement vessels. There’s a potential for confusion if other boats see blue lights coming. Or, if there’s an emergency, they go towards a blue light thinking it’s a law enforcement boat.

In some cases, a blue light is OK if the boat is docked or moored. But if you are underway, you could be subject to a fine. Check the laws where you intend to go boating to know for sure.

Underwater Lights of the Past vs LED

Back in the day, incandescent lights were used in boats. Underwater lighting technology has improved and LED lights are now the standard. If you pick up an older boat, it may still have incandescent bulbs in it. They’re less energy efficient than an LED bulb in pretty much every way. An incandescent bulb offers less brightness overall. They use more energy which is going to drain your battery faster. And, pound for pound, LED is a much better value. An LED bulb can literally last for tens of thousands of hours. Incandescent bulbs typically last 750 hours to a max of 2000 hours. If your LED lasts for 50,000 hours, you can see why it’s a better choice.

LED lights are also very diverse. You can get them in a range of colors. Many high end units allow you to switch through a rainbow of colors. It doesn’t affect how they work, but it’s a cool feature.

HiD lights are also common. HiD stands for high-intensity discharge. Think of these a bit like a souped up version of a traditional household light bulb. Similar, but not the same. HiD lights are very bright and they produce heat. That heat is not necessarily a bad thing, especially underwater. Because the lights get warm, algae won’t grow on them. That means they require less cleaning than an LED fixture would. LEDs are almost completely without heat. The light will promote algae growth as a result.

Underwater Boat Light Care and Maintenance

If you want underwater boat lights to last, then you need to keep them well maintained. We covered a bit about the issues with corrosion and electrolysis already. This is going to happen no matter what, so remember that.

Corrosion X is a chemical compound you can apply to the housing. When you take the boat out and get it on your trailer, you can clean them with freshwater and apply a coat. Follow the directions and you’ll enjoy a longer lifespan.

The corrosion many of these lights endure is a long process. The physical effects are noticeable long before the light is likely to break down. But it does annoy some boaters because they can end up looking pretty ugly.

Make sure you give the light housing a good wash when you can. This will help inhibit not just corrosion but algae and barnacle growth. Your lights won’t do much good if they’re crusted over with sea life.

Freshwater and a mild soap are all that you need. Don’t use anything abrasive to scrub the light. That can make the surface fuzzy and limit the ability to project light.

Make sure your wiring is neat and tidy. This goes for all electronics on a boat. Bundle the wires, keep them straight and flat as much as possible. Keep them out of the way as well.

If you want reliable lights, invest in quality brands. West Marine, Tidal Wake, Lumitec. Sea Blaze and Husuku are some reliable brands. No name lights may be cheaper, but sometimes you get what you pay for. Watch out for unreliable brands that don’t have any guarantees. Pay attention to the underwater boat lights reviews.

The Bottom Line

Some boaters consider underwater boat lights pointless. They don’t make your boat function any better and, if anything, they just use up power. But the fact is they can be a benefit. They can improve safety and fishing. They also just look really cool. And don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not worth investing in something just because it looks cool.

Just remember to use your boat lights according to the directions. Make sure they are properly installed and well maintained. That way, you can enjoy what they offer for many seasons to come. As always, stay safe and have fun.

About Ian

My grandfather first took me fishing when I was too young to actually hold up a rod on my own. As an avid camper, hiker, and nature enthusiast I'm always looking for a new adventure.

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