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Old 11-08-2017, 07:09 AM   #1
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Underwater lights

It seems like more & more boats are installing underwater lighting nowadays. I'm wondering if there any regrets by those that have them because it's just one more thing to add to the maintenance list of either jumping overboard or grabing a brush & scrub the darn things at least weekly.
One evening a couple of weeks ago my wife saw a sportfish with the transom underwater lights on in the not-so-clear to downright cloudy waters of the lower Chesapeake & said she liked them & asked if we could put them on our boat. I quickly shot down her want with a "heck no they're a waste of time" answer. In the early '80's we would install "underwater lighting" (lawntractor headlights!) aimed at the propeller blades to help raise marlin (the same theory as the shiny freshwater spinner baits). I can't say that it helped raise fish but I can say it involved hiring a diver often to keep the lens clear of growth.
IMHO there too many lights on the water already with everybody lighting up their docks & houses (a HUGE peeve of mine but that's a rant for another thread). When we anchor out for the evening we try to find a spot with no invasive lights so as to enjoy the natural evening light that nature provides.
Was I too quick with my negative answer to my lovely life? Maybe I should let her pick a set of lights the color of her choice & be done with it but I hate to spend hundreds & then find we don't/can't use them because I skipped scrubbing the things a couple of times.
I could always use a couple of extra "look what my sweet husband did for me" bonus points, though...
Thoughts?
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:45 AM   #2
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Soooo, When you install your new lights, follow manufacturers directions to the T. Happy wife....
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:47 AM   #3
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I have always wanted them on our boats. They are an interesting way to see the water and the sea life they attract. However, the Neuse River (NC) and the surrounding tributaries are too gloomy to make it worth the effort. But to your point, I would put them on to not only make your wife happy, but you may actually like them. In addition, they come equipped with a great feature in case you don’t... and OFF switch. :-)

As a side note: there are surface mount lights now that don’t require a large hull hole... or lights that only need a hole the size of the wire. So there are options to avoid the “I don’t wanna put another diddly-dang hole in my boat fer nuttin’” crowd. And there are plenty of those.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:25 AM   #4
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We had UW lights on our past two boats that were drilled through the transom..Express cruisers.

First boat, problems and they lasted two years.

Second boat, better, no problems.

The current generation of UW lights are solid but it's best to purchase the $ ones because you get what you pay for. No just my opinion because I asked around a lot and did the research with owners on other forums. Much less prone to water intrusion and failure.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:38 AM   #5
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Boomerang, there was another thread about this recently. I like them, but didn’t want all the hassles you mention. I bought portables from Amazon for $20 or so. I like the light being 360* instead of straight out, the only go in during use, so stay clean, multiple colors to choice from, etc. might be worth a try for a season to see how much you actually use them.

https://www.amazon.com/Lightingsky-L...ter+fish+light
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fletcher500 View Post
The current generation of UW lights are solid but it's best to purchase the $ ones because you get what you pay for. No just my opinion because I asked around a lot and did the research with owners on other forums. Much less prone to water intrusion and failure.
I'll bet you knew this was coming...what are the ones you now have? Where did you get them. How were they installed? How much?

Thanks
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:40 PM   #7
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I don't know, if I'm going to put the things on I'd want them permanently mounted so I'll have to go with one on each side so as to be able to reach them from the boarding platform for maintenance rather than one in the middle. Then kick in the extra $$ for the multi colored ones. It's looking like over $1000 for colored water. Ouch.
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:29 PM   #8
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I'll bet you knew this was coming...what are the ones you now have? Where did you get them. How were they installed? How much?Thanks
Lumishore SMX52.


These will turn blue and white with the adjustable switch.


These are surface mount, but you still need to drill a small hole in the transom to run the wire.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:37 PM   #9
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Hell yeah Under Water Lights!



i can't wait till I haul in the spring for my first bottom job on this boat...Guy up the dock from put in blue underwater lights and they are soooo cool!

And there is a guy in the neighboring marina with a fishing boat with color changing lights!

I want mine to pulse/color change with my music...Baller!

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Old 11-08-2017, 09:43 PM   #10
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I'd never cut into a perfectly good hull to add UW lights.
If I was shopping for a boat that had UW lights cut into the hull I'd probably pass on the buy, or at least discount the price for what it's going to cost to remove them and re-seal the hull and insure no moisture ingress, especially a cored hull.
Also, very few of these boats operate in the crystal clear waters of Bahamas or Carib. Hold a flashlight under some brown water with things floating by and tell me what that looks like.
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:50 PM   #11
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Greetings,
I too have been impressed by the "aquarium" that gathers around underwater illumination at night. I can fully appreciate the points made thus far (additional holes, albeit small ones, necessity of cleaning, and possibilities of early demise of less expensive devices...) BUT, what about mounting the lights on a flip down bracket on the swim platform whereby the lights can be deployed when desired and "stored" against the underside of the swim platform out of the water when idle?

Our swim platform is about 3' wide and 1' or so above the water level so such a bracket might allow flip down lights to operate 2' under the surface....Hmmmmm....

Further...IF one could join the leads in a waterproof fashion there would only be one small hole (above the water line) necessary in the transom meaning one could mount as many as one liked ...3, 5 but maybe more than 10 would be excessive...

Mr. BR. Agreed, the clarity of one's cruising waters would most definitely be the deciding factor if considering such an installation.
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:09 PM   #12
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...very few of these boats operate in the crystal clear waters of Bahamas or Carib. Hold a flashlight under some brown water with things floating by and tell me what that looks like.
Our boat is currently on the Missouri River. My favorite local description is "too thin to plow, too muddy to drink." It's certainly not the Bahamas, but our underwater light is still nice to have. Yes, you get a diffuse glow instead of an aquarium view, but you can still see fish gathering. It helps us see the dingy mooring clips when we come back after dark, and I like to think it attracts bugs into the water for a wet death where they're eaten by fish rather than flying around the aft deck lights. Happily ours has been zero maintenance so far. I did want to replace the bulb with an led, but decided to leave it sealed and not invite trouble until it burns out.
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Old 11-09-2017, 01:50 AM   #13
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I had UW lights on the last boat. I have them on the current boat and I will have them on the next boat. White light is better than colored but better if you can do both. Water clarity is a changing thing but even murky water is clearer than you think when back light.

My boat has so many thru hull fittings already, four more for lights adds no significant risk to the hull. Plus with today’s LED UW lights we are talking four 1/8” holes.

It is utterly amazing what shows up when you leave the UW lights on, both above and below the water.
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Old 11-09-2017, 02:02 AM   #14
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Waters here have too much solids (nutrient rich), making underwater lights worthless. Nice not to have a need for spending $$$.
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Old 11-09-2017, 05:08 AM   #15
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Having useless underwater holes in a boat might be a tiny concern....but those that do something whether major or not, but are necessary for that function, done correctly, shouldnt be given snother thought.
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Old 11-09-2017, 05:33 AM   #16
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Agreed, Psneeld. I'm not too much worried about the hole part ,especially in a solid glass layup hull , because I plan on plugging them with a light thats been sealed with gobs of polyether sealant but the fear of disappointment & $$ wasted is what gets me. For the next couple of years, until we retire, the boat is going to reside in murky waters of the Chesapeake & Carolina sounds. When our cruising kicks into hi gear we'll most likely be in another boat anyway.
Mr Firefly you have a valid idea but by the time I engineered a bracket for deployment & retraction of the things I could have probably just as easily installed them in the transom. Then there's the issue of somebody knocking into the on switch while they're out of the water...
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Old 11-09-2017, 05:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Our boat is currently on the Missouri River. My favorite local description is "too thin to plow, too muddy to drink." It's certainly not the Bahamas, but our underwater light is still nice to have. Yes, you get a diffuse glow instead of an aquarium view, but you can still see fish gathering. It helps us see the dingy mooring clips when we come back after dark, and I like to think it attracts bugs into the water for a wet death where they're eaten by fish rather than flying around the aft deck lights. Happily ours has been zero maintenance so far. I did want to replace the bulb with an led, but decided to leave it sealed and not invite trouble until it burns out.
Well now there's a couple of reason's (besides for making my wife happy) I haven't considered. I'm all for keeping the bugs away from the inside of the boat & I like the use for night boarding/securing of the dink rather than direct light from above. I'm all about function. Fashion...not so much (or we wouldn't have an old Mainship! )
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Old 11-09-2017, 05:49 AM   #18
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Absolutely, you should install an underwater light. we installed UW Lights. And there is no problem.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:00 AM   #19
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How about mounting a set of waterproof lights pointing down on the underside of the swim platform? Mine is about 8" above the water line so wiring can be run through or over the transom easily.
Anyone tried this?
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:12 AM   #20
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Steve, I did that on my pier. Too much glare, UW definitely better
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