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Underwater Boat Lights

Underwater Boat Lights (Buying Guide 2021)

on July 09, 2021

The best underwater lights will make your boat visible and enhance its appearance. They also make diving safer. Easy mounting is possible for most products. Manufacturers also offer waterproof housings for LED light bulbs.

This article will help you choose the right underwater light; let's start!

Different Types of Underwater Boat Lights

It is best to categorize boat lights based on their primary material and technology.
  1. HID (High-Intensity Drainage): This is the classic choice for underwater lighting. They are famous for their extraordinary brightness. You can also use their heat to keep away algae and other light-related problems.
  2. LED (Light Emitting Diode: LED bulbs have higher efficiency. They produce less heat. The LED bulbs produce the same amount of light as HID but use less energy. LED offers customization, which allows you to change the colors of your lights.


Installing the lights can also help you distinguish between them.

  1. Wireless Lights: There are no drilling holes to make with wireless boat lights. They can be attached with marine glue or double-sided adhesive tape. They can also be battery-powered, which can reduce light output.
  2. Wired Lights: Underwater lights are maybe wired to connect the bulbs with the power source.

Even more, the mounting options for underwater lighting can affect the type and style of lighting.

  1. Surface Mount: This mount is best for small boats or sailboats. This requires drilling small holes to allow for running the wire and mounting the screws.
  2. Flush Mount: This mount requires flushing.
  3. Drain Plug: This plug is connected to drain the boat. You can drain the boat's water by releasing the plug.


Pros of Underwater Lights

  • Enhance your boat's aesthetics: Your boat will look great in the dark, regardless of whether the lights are white, green, or blue. Even at night, it will be a focal point and draw attention to your boat.
  • Ensure Safety: It is dangerous to boat at night. Collisions can occur when another boat is not easily seen. Installing lights can improve visibility. This is a signal to other people that you are present.
  • Bright underwater LED lights are essential for attracting baitfish: The lights make it easier to attract fish near your location. For this purpose, white and green lights are best.
  • You can improve water clarity by using a marine-grade light when the sun goes down, and you are looking to take a dip. It will be easier to see underwater when there is good lighting. It is not only safer, but it allows you to appreciate the beauty of the underwater world.


Cons of Underwater Lights

Although underwater lighting can have many benefits, there are also some drawbacks.

  • Drilling holes are required: Sometimes, lighting installation requires drilling holes. The number of holes required will depend on the size of the light. If you're not careful, these holes could allow water to enter the boat.
  • Cost: There are many options for underwater boat lighting. Many high-quality lights can be costly. Fortunately, there are also many affordable options. You can check some of these best options in our store.

What Factors Should You Look for While Buying Underwater Lights?

It isn't easy to find the right brand and model for underwater lighting. However, below are the key details to narrow down your options.


Beyond aesthetics, color selection is crucial. Choose a color that is compatible with your particular situation and application. Marine-grade lighting can be single or multicolored. You can change the colors manually by using a handy switch or a mobile app.
The most popular colors are red, green, blue, and white. The portside or left light indicates that another vessel is approaching. Green is for the port side. White repels bugs and is ideal for sandy bottoms and shallow waters. Both white and green are suitable for fishing. Blue light is relaxing, however.



Professional installation of marine-grade lighting is not necessary. You can do it yourself, provided you select the right product. They are easy to install and take little time. A light that doesn't require much drilling is a good choice. In most cases, you only need a small hole to mount the screws and mounting bracket.


Lumen Brightness

It is used to indicate the output of lighting. The lumen rating is the most important. A higher lumen rating indicates a brighter lamp. Lights with smaller lumens have lower lumens. At least 600 lumens are required for navigation. You can also choose a lower rating if you are looking to create a dramatic or calming effect.

Beam Width

This is the angle from which the lighting is viewed. In larger boats, you will need more lighting, especially in darker environments. It can be anywhere between 90 and 120 degrees. So, to choose the correct beam width, decide if the light should be narrower or broader. To attract more fish, you will need a wider beam for underwater lights.

Different Modes and levels

Red Light Mode:

A Red light mode is another standard mode found in modern video lights. Red light can be used to focus aid beams. The camera can detect it quickly and use it for focus. However, marine life is not affected by it since it's outside their visible spectrum. In addition, it is too weak to be visible in most photos, so it will not affect your overall lighting.

Blue Light Mode:

The new excellent mode UV or Blue Light is a recent addition. This is similar in appearance to the black lights used at underground parties in the '90s. It's an ultraviolet light that excites bio-luminescent organisms underwater. When paired with a yellow filter, it creates a unique glowing effect that looks amazing on photos and videos.

SOS Mode:

SOS, or Emergency, is another mode that is available on certain lights. The light will flash randomly with white light, indicating a problem or that you are lost. This is very helpful in emergencies but can also be annoying if one diver accidentally sets it off and cannot figure out how to turn it off.

Power Levels:

Most lights have power levels that can be controlled in some manner. Some lights can be controlled in one unit (FIX Neo), while others have multiple modes. The majority of lights can run for approximately 1 hour at full power. However, you can use the light for many dives by using it on a lower power setting.

More modes and levels are generally better! However, this can affect the ease of using the light. For example, if you only have one button to control multiple levels or modes, you might find yourself scrolling between them while the Hammerhead, once curious, now bored, swims away to the deep blue.


The housing construction is critical to ensure that the light lasts. Materials are available in a variety of materials, including aluminum and marine-grade bronze alloy. All of the products that I reviewed have stainless steel housing. To ensure longevity, corrosion and rust resistance are essential.

Energy Efficiency

Lights that consume minimal power without compromising on performance are the best. You won't drain your battery too quickly with energy-efficient lighting. This lighting does not consume a lot of power. If efficiency is important to you, LED lighting is the best choice.

Check Different Type of Filters


Sometimes, lights can be mounted with filters. You can choose from a variety of filters that create different effects.

Yellow Filter:

This is a common feature with Big Blue lights. It helps to warm up the light, creating an even better quality light. The camera also adjusts the WB according to the light's temperature.

UV Filter:

Some lights can be fitted to a UV filter to produce the fluorescence effect. In this instance, you will need to use a yellow filter on your camera and mask.

Red Filter:

This is used to change your light to a night red, so you can use it to focus.

Blue Filter:

Also known as an ambient light filter. This latest trend was made famous by "Behind The Mask." You mount a red filter to the camera, port, or lights. The combination corrects the ambient light, but the video doesn't turn out red without the filter. Both filters cancel one another.

Numerous Bulbs

More bulbs equal more light. The number of bulbs in high-quality underwater lights can range from 10-30. Smaller lights may only require three bulbs. To determine the number of bulbs, you will need, consider the dimensions of your boat and the desired brightness.




As you want to be very close to your subjects, light coverage is essential. We prefer to use macro lenses on small subjects and wide-angle lenses on everything else. So we can keep the subject at a very close distance. A strobe that has a horizontal illumination angle of at least 80 degrees is required if you are using a wide-angle lens with an area of 80 degrees horizontally. Wide-angle work is best done with strobes that have a coverage angle greater than 100 degrees. A diffuser can be used over the strobe to diffuse the light and provide soft, even light. The diffuser will blend the strobe light and the available light.


Select a marine-grade lamp that is the same size as your boat. A small light is best for small boats. For small boats, three to four inches should suffice. For larger boats, however, we recommend going up a bit to ten inches.


Durable Design

When choosing the best underwater boat lights, consider professional waterproofing, overheating protection, company warranties, shockproofing, and corrosion resistance. Many underwater lights are also made with corrosion-resistant metal alloys to prolong their life expectancy.

Constant Light

An electronic device that can emit constant light for minutes or hours. It is often based on LED technology. Unfortunately, the topside industry calls it "Strobe," which is not correct for underwater photography.


The more powerful and extended-lasting bulbs make dive lights more expensive. However, dive lights can be a very worthwhile investment as they provide safety underwater. In addition, LED lights are beautiful because they last longer than HIDs while providing more power than Xenons.
However, even inexpensive lights can cost more if you need multiple pieces and a rig for putting them together. This is often the case with videography and photography. Cheap disposable batteries can also lead to higher long-term costs than buying rechargeable batteries.
You need to recognize when you can and should not compromise so you don't overspend on gear you don't use or on equipment that is of poor quality that will need replacement sooner than you need.

How to Properly Care and Maintain Underwater Lights?

Marine life can cause underwater lights to be damaged, including barnacles and algae. In addition, if the light is not made of marine-grade aluminum, bronze, or marine-grade stainless steel, it will rust faster than other similar materials. Here are the top things you can do to ensure the light performs at its best.
  • Regularly inspect your lights for damage. The quicker you react, the earlier you can see the problem. This helps to prevent the problem from getting worse.
  • Make sure the installation is done correctly. You must ensure that the lighting is tight and secure to stop water from getting in.
  • To clean the lighting, wash the boat with mild soap and water. This will clean the boat of saltwater and any other elements that could cause long-term damage.
  • The light wires should be kept clean. Please put them in the boat. If it's exposed, it can cause damage.
  • Make sure you choose a suitable cleaning material. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives. To prevent scratches on the surface, use mild soap.
  • Keep your underwater lights safe if you use them for boating. Many come with a protective bag that protects them from dirt and dust.

Check Controlling System

Manufacturers have developed a variety of controls for underwater lighting over the years. Each has its pros and cons.

1. Twist method: This is a simple method. Twisting the light head in all the way will turn it off. Unscrewing it slightly will turn the bulb on. This method is easy for the manufacturer and significantly lowers the price of the light. However, this method can lead to corrosion of the O rings over time. It also increases the chance of flooding and human error. For example, you could accidentally unscrew it too far below the water level without realizing it, thereby effectively destroying your light. Therefore, this method is rarely used by manufacturers today.

2. Push Buttons: This is the most popular method for controlling video lights. You can use 1 or 2 buttons to turn the light on/off and switch between modes. This is safe and reliable. While a 1-button light is more cost-effective than a 2-button light, it will still be easier to use. One button can be used for two types of pressing - short, which switches between modes, and long, which is used to turn on/off. A 2-button light will give you more options, such as one for mode switching and another for switching output levels. This makes the experience much easier and quicker.

3. Remote Control: This new method was developed by Nauticam for their FIX Neo light systems and Kraken for their Hydra series. A single master remote controller that connects fiber optic cables can control multiple lights simultaneously. This makes it easier and quicker to set each light individually.

How to Install Underwater Boat Lights?

It doesn't matter if you have a flush-mount, surface mount, drain plug, or another type of boat light. The installation steps will vary. Here's how you complete the installation.
  • Place the boat in an area that is dry or where you can comfortably work.
  • Find the best location to mount the boat light. After drilling, mark the exact location and ensure that nothing is damaged.
  • Drill. Connect the power supply to the hole by running the wires through it. For wiring underwater boat lights, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • The power box should be placed in the best possible position. It would be best if you chose a dry area with adequate ventilation.
  • Check the light. If the light doesn't turn on, check that all connections are correct.


The best underwater lights are great investments because they offer safety and aesthetic benefits. When deciding which product to purchase, don't just focus on price!
There are many options, but that does not mean all underwater lights can be the same. In addition, you should consider brightness output, marine-grade construction, power consumption, and ease of use.

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