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Old 11-25-2017, 03:16 PM   #26
BandB's Avatar
City: Fort Lauderdale. Florida, USA
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 21,451
Spotlights vs. Searchlights

Most recreational boats seem to come with spotlights, often very inadequate for much of anything on the water. Perhaps useful to see the shore or one item, but of little use for navigating. My first exposure was years ago with acquaintances, going down the TN Tom at night after long delays at locks. We were in a Sea Ray Sundancer. There was a tow with barges in front of us that the owner wanted to pass. Properly he asked for permission and side preference and the tow captain then used his huge searchlight to highlight the entire way around and then a good distance out in front of us. My immediate reaction was "Why doesn't this boat have one of those." Second reaction was "How much is the light and how much the height of it?"

On the lake we never made a change but when we got to the coast and purchased a boat, all those thoughts resurfaced and we went to a 1000 watt Xenon. Now though state of the art is even more. You take a nice Xenon, add an LED and add a Thermal Camera to it. Then if you want you can also add a strobe feature as a non-lethal deterrent. LED doesn't have the distance of Xenon but has a broad field of light. Obviously the more you add, the higher the price, but if you do intend to do much night traveling then size and type of light does matter. For fun looking, keeping in mind there are many lower priced alternatives,

Carlisle & Finch Co. | Top Quality Searchlights Company for Marine, Prison, Border and Security

I do feel like many builders though are selling million dollar boats with dime store spotlights.
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