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Old 03-06-2021, 03:23 PM   #1
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Fixed Spotlights

Looking at a boat that has no fixed spotlight, and would like one. It's hard to get good reviews, they have similar specs, widely various prices and reviews say they are all pretty good... from the $100 ones on up. Also, seems like one guys lumens and candlepower are not the same as the next guys.



So, what's REALLY good. Has to be LED. I have the old ACR RCL-100D halogen, which was fine in it time (still not horrible), but even the lesser expensive hand helds are about as good.



As speaking of handhelds, will always have a back up one... not the Walmart special, but the Fenix, Surefire or Streamline... in the $200 to $400 range.


Thoughts?


(PS, need one that's simply on/off... no high or low beam, absolutely no blinking beams)
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Old 03-06-2021, 05:12 PM   #2
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Hi SeeVee, My boat has a fixed Jabsco 61040 Series spotlight that I can control it's pointing direction from my upper and lower helm, but honestly I prefer a handheld LED spotlight. So much easier to aim when seas are a little rough. And a replacement 7" bulb for the Jabsco is $118. The handheld I have is on Amazon for $40.98. It worked fine for locating channel markers when entering an unfamiliar marina one night. But I guess it depends on how you are going to use it.
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Old 03-06-2021, 05:14 PM   #3
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Just my opinion but I have been big boating for 35 years so I have learned something.

Understand first off that I don't like boating at night and will avoid it if possible.

I have a nice remote controlled spotlight on my Albin. I have NEVER turned it on in 6 years. I also have a blindingly bright handheld light that I have never used in ernest.

My old Chris Craft had a fixed spotlight that I loved but never used.

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Old 03-06-2021, 05:34 PM   #4
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Give these folks a call and discuss your needs. Very knowledgeable and reliable and based right here in the USA in SC. I've come to trust them implicitly.

https://store.marinebeam.com/exterior-led-fixtures/

I also avoided night time cruising as much as possible, but did use our big funky old Jabsco Rayline a lot when we did, sometimes to positively ID markers (eventually switched to a handheld Marinebeam for that purpose) but mostly to light up the foredeck when anchoring, which was very helpful.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:12 PM   #5
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I have done hundreds of night boating excursions, mostly on CG work. We almost never used a spotlight. Now we carry a huge LED flashlight that works up to about 1/4 mile. Rarely even use it though. Once I have good night vision I try to not turn on any lights at all. But everyone is different and everyones needs are different.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:33 PM   #6
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I mounted a Marinco wireless controlled spotlight right on the bow where it cannot in any way blind the helmsman. It has fast and slow oscillating modes moving back and forth a number of degrees on any relative bearing I set it, wider in the slow mode and narrower in the fast mode. I like to use it coming into the bayou at night to positivley confirm the radar-identified targets. It has a control at the helm and a battery operated handheld remote control which the co-pilot can use while sitting comfortably in the co-pilot chair. Additionally, I have a less powerful LED handheld and a powerful flashlight I can hold out the side window as I feel the need. The Marinco is not so powerful that it causes blinding backscatter in our humid environment, especially just after dark when the dew is developing - it is powerful enough.
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:09 PM   #7
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Good info, thx....


As for those that don't boat at nite, I don't need a lecture on night boating.
I do it and I will.



And, I use a spotlight.... not often but on dark nights, it helps a lot. Verify junk I see on the radar, crab traps, logs, and back country kayakers......



Just looking for a good one.
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:16 PM   #8
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Fixed Spotlights

As someone who once upon a time did a ton of night boating with a lot of obstacles, in weather etc. I would say that if the installation plan allows, get one with a manual control handle instead of electronic articulation with remote. Much more responsive and intuitive aiming.

If you want or need one with electronic articulation, do yourself a favor and find one with a joystick however small instead of a touchpad or buttons, for the same reason.
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskaflyer View Post
As someone who once upon a time did a ton of night boating with a lot of obstacles, in weather etc. I would say that if the installation plan allows, get one with a manual control handle instead of electronic articulation with remote. Much more responsive and intuitive aiming.
I would tend to agree if the installation makes it practical. Most of my preference for handheld lights comes from being able to point it at something quickly to minimize the time it needs to be on.
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:50 PM   #10
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I have a Rigid fixed spotlight

I think it"s six or eight inches square, and very bright. The cost was not cheap at something over $700 (from memory) but it's a fantastic light for seeing into a dark anchorage or harbor.
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Old 03-07-2021, 01:53 AM   #11
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I think most of the major tool companies make hand held spot lights that use cordless drill batteries. I have a 12v Milwaukee that is rated at 750 lumens and 700 yards.
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:56 AM   #12
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Rather than Fenix, Surefire or Nightstream, look at Eagletac. They have nice, durable, bright, pocket sized lights that do what you need and most are now charged with USB-C charger port on the side. This is nice since it does away with the need of an external charger.
Look at illuminationgear.com for the US distributor.
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Old 03-07-2021, 08:17 AM   #13
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I have done more night travel than I care to admit. In Mexican waters it is pretty much a necessity if you are traveling any distance. I found that an LED light bar with a pencil or slightly wider beam is incredibly helpful. I had to use my hand held to exit the harbor when leaving before sun up because it lit up the whole marina. It was also bright enough to allow us to see fish net floats from a distance that allowed us to avoid them. Rigid makes a good selection of marine suitable units. If they fit your boat you won’t regret the $ invested.
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Old 03-07-2021, 08:29 AM   #14
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We did a fair amount of over night passages. I found the fixed spotlight was too slow to maneuver and when mounted on the pilothouse roof, even with careful positioning, would still cast light on the bow. Perhaps newer models have a tighter beam. Using the fixed light required positioning it for distance, vertical and horizontal, especially challenging in rough seas. I found a handheld unit to be far easier and faster to point at an area of interest or to use searching for a marker buoy or mooring.
I never drove the boat with the spotlight on. It would totally destroy night vision and limit the field of view dramatically. If it were my decision, I would forget replacing the fixed unit and get the best handheld you can afford.
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
I have a Rigid fixed spotlight

I think it"s six or eight inches square, and very bright. The cost was not cheap at something over $700 (from memory) but it's a fantastic light for seeing into a dark anchorage or harbor.
Another Rigid guy, mine is a flood/spot light bar, and only good for looking ahead of me. It is perfect for entering narrow channels or transiting between markers at night and can see pretty much all the way into the back of anchorages I am entering.

I use a handheld LED spot for anything not in front of me and looking for animals on the beach.
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:32 AM   #16
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For hand held I was recently gifted a Nebo Luxtreme flashlight. Very impressive so far. I think it has the capability to be a good handheld on the boat. But do to my boat's design someone on deck would have to aim it for me. The reflections back from the windows at the steering stations would be too much to be useful
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:44 AM   #17
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Hey SeeVee, I have this type of spot light that was original way back in 1988. Still works and is nice and bright.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/jabsc...6?recordNum=20
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:46 AM   #18
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My right pocket EDC light is the Eagletac TX3R pro which puts out about 1200 lumens (legit) in a quite tight beam. It is a regulated light, and does not use the strobe style regulation method, but limits amperage to the LED. I prefer the cool white color, even though I hear most people like the natural white color LED flashlights.

The TX3R Pro uses an 18650 battery with a USB C plug in on the side. You can use it to either charge the battery, or if you get a USB C to whatever your phone charger plug is, use it as a phone battery recharger.

I find I need to keep the tail cap slightly unscrewed to keep my keys and pocket stuff from turning it on in my pocket, resulting in a quite hot pocket. You get the message quite quickly!
You can go to the default light setting that you pick, with a click of the black button.
Or you can step up to turbo mode from lowest setting to brightest mode with the white button.

I got this particular light because it has a single LED with a very tight beam, with minor side scatter illumination. I can spot a dog walking a block away when walking our dobie, so we don't have any issues with dobies eating smaller tasty morsel dogs.

My other TX3 light has 4 leds in a square configuration, 3000 lumins output and a 26650 rechargeable battery, with USB C charging port. It is super bright but has a much wider beam and almost no center spot.
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Old 03-07-2021, 12:08 PM   #19
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I ran a lot at night in the NJ Intracoastal...that stretch is not liked by many for its twisting, shallows, poor marking, traffic...on and on and my assigned area is considered the worst......as an assistance tower. Many calls for assistance were at night, good and bad weather and had pressure to get there safe and quick.

Also the same with 20 years flying low level, working helicopters.

While agree many fixed spots are slow to operate, not as true for manually controlled if your boat allows. Also learned to leave it in one position when IDing certain things like daymarks and alter course a hair to keep it in view.

Night vision is a funny thing. According to the flight surgeons a few years back,, we lose about 10% per decade as we get older. So at some point, lighting things up can be better than trying to retain something you really don't have. Sure it varies...but I have plenty of high pressure operating at night and worrying about night vision....and unless out to sea on a darken ship....I really can't say preserving it is better than using light whenever you need it.
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Old 03-07-2021, 03:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
Hey SeeVee, I have this type of spot light that was original way back in 1988. Still works and is nice and bright.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/jabsc...6?recordNum=20
I have that unit on my boat as well. It does not work. I choked when I saw the replacement price. I would love to replace it or fix it. Not sure fixing is an option. No light, no movement. I friend suggested a Pelican rechargeable. Says every one love them. Bought one. I don't care for it. I also use a very small O-Light rechargable LED unit with a zillon lumen and lights up at a distance. Love it. Still want a mounted one.

First time I took my wife out to Catalina at night she was concerned. I said: "no problem honey, I know this anchorage like the back of my hand". All I had was a small diving flashlight. There was no moon. It was not at all comforting. We did ok but that's when I started shopping for flashlights.
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