Underwater Lighting - wonderful ambienceAndy Adams
 
Informed estimates are that barely 10% of Canadian pleasure craft have underwater lighting but in Florida it’s a far higher percentage. And, among new luxury cruisers in Florida, the number equipped with underwater lighting is probably more like 90%.
Walk the docks at night and what used to be dark and maybe even a bit dangerous, is now a remarkable display of light that transforms those dark harbour waters into something like a luxury hotel swimming pool!
The question is; will this work in Canada? And, is it something that is affordable?
Well yes, underwater lighting will work very nicely in Canada (or anywhere else for that matter) and, depending on what you want, it can be quite reasonably priced. 
 
What Is The Benefit?
First, underwater lighting is “cool” – it is new, eye-catching and can be pretty dramatic, but there are a whole range of benefits that you might not have considered. Swimming in light at night is just one of them.
On the docks at night in a marina or yacht club, the added lighting offers a significant safety benefit. Another safety aspect that I ran into first hand, was boating in a crowded waterway, late at night last summer. It was in a passage wide enough to allow unrestricted speeds, but it was still narrow, with lots of lights on the nearby shore reflecting on the water and several boats moving at various speeds.
Underwater Lighting - big benefitsIt was very hard to pick out the running lights from the other reflected light and my big concern was being rear-ended by another, faster vessel. We have been advised that running with your underwater lighting on, is not illegal or restricted. 
If our vessel had been better lit, I would have felt a lot safer!
We understand that white lights attract fish and some anglers use them in Florida, but we caution Canadian boaters that practice is illegal here. 
Swimming in the light is much more comfortable and safe because you can more easily see the boarding ladder and you are less likely to slip or fall. Then, tow sports boats look really good with their lighting on and those boats are designed for swimming and easy access to the water. 
Don Hood of Imtra, who sells Lumishore LED Underwater Lighting in Canada mentioned that so far, more power boaters have added lighting than sailors, but if you have ever run aground, snagged an old piece of line in your prop, or had a rudder issue, a well-placed underwater light can make the task of diving to trouble-shoot, far easier. 
He added that for people using their boat as a floating vacation home, the night lighting is a very welcome addition.
The lighting is not just white. When choosing underwater lighting, colour is key and so is output. Many LED units are available in blue or white but green and red are available. 
We learned that red doesn’t penetrate water well but green does. Then again, with green and white you will see pigmentation in the water. Blue doesn’t show particles in water and for many reasons, blue is probably 90% of all sales.
That said, really big and elaborate systems are available that can change colours, and some can “strobe” in time to your music!
 
Underwater Lighting - The Maple LeafEntry Level and Boat Sizes
The new LED marine lighting is transforming the experience of boating at night. LED lighting draws relatively little current compared to conventional incandescent lighting or halogen bulbs, and for smaller power boats, the entry level starts with a simple single LED fixture that goes into the drain plug hole (replacing the drain plug). You just need a bit of fused wiring and power to at least light up the stern enough to see the lower unit, some of the surrounding water and what is in it. 
We also spoke to Paul Sichewski at Luxor Marine RV in Kitchener who also offers LED lighting including drain plug models. He told us that the most common question potential buyers have is, “Do I have to drill big holes in the boat to install underwater lighting?”.
As soon as you move up from the drain plug single light that passes through an existing hole, you will need to drill some sort of hole for the wires.
Going up in size and power, you can choose models that are surface mounted and just require a small hole for wires, or ones that require a slightly larger diameter hole for a shaft that fastens all the way through the thickness of your transom, but with a small diameter hole. The shaft on some models is as small as ½” even though the light fixture seems to be perhaps 3” or more in diameter. You bed the fixture in sealant and tighten it through, then connect the wires inside the boat.
As the light output levels go up, the fixture sizes increase and the hole for the shaft may as well. This is because a significant part of the LEDs themselves and the electronic components needed to run them, are installed in the shaft, not outside the boat.
Obviously, you don’t want a fixture that protrudes and could be damaged if a piece of debris sweeps past for example. 
Then, that raises the matter of lighting that is designed for the hull sides. Lights need to be flush and smooth for the water flow, very water-tight and something else; able to withstand higher operating temperatures. 
That can be true for transom mounted lights as well if you plan to run with them on. At rest, the water cools the fixtures but when moving, they may no longer be submerged and the heat can shorten the life of the LEDs.
Several suppliers added that people should not overpower the lights. That can also shorten their life. Best guidance seems to be to drive them to about 75% of capacity.
You can vary how much light you get too. There are small lights like 6 watt models but 18 watt models are more popular and you can choose 27 or 60 watt models. A single light can still offer useful illumination but two or three across the transom gives the best illumination spread.
Some other basic information is that typically, you will be paying $300 to $1800 a light. One supplier pointed out that the consumer does not see technology but you basically get what you pay for – less expensive imported lights may leave you with no recourse. Trust your dealer. 
Especially on smaller boats, a capable DIY owner can do the installation on a trailer but for larger vessels, we recommend you buy from a reputable yard that will haul your boat and install the system correctly. The wiring is fairly simple but you need a good seal and a dealer who offers warranty coverage is always the best bet. 
Lighting - LED lit CrestWe contacted Jon Moles at Toronto Yacht Services to ask what an owner might expect for a turn-key installation and Jon suggested some fast ball-park figures. A boat in the 20’ to 30' range might be $1,500, a 30 to 40 footer perhaps $2,000 to $3,000 and it goes up from there, depending on how much light and how much complexity.
Given the rough costs and benefits, make this the summer you light up your cruising nights. There’s plenty of time to have them installed for launch day!
 
Photo Captions
Photo 1 - Doesn't this big Azimut look inviting? Underwater lighting adds a wonderful ambience. Credit: Aqualuma.
Photo 2 - Smaller boats still get big benefits in comfort and safety as well. It pays to be easily seen at night. Credit: Lumishore.
Photo 3 - Here is another shot of our cover boat, the Maple Leaf. Notice how the 'nightscaping' goes throughout the cockpit and right up the tower and spreaders. Credit: Andy Adams.
Photo 4 - Another lighting feature on the Maple Leaf are the LED lit crests on the side and transom. Credit: Andy Adams.

Destinations

  • Prev
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.
The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) invites all sailors to join a cruising rally from the ...
Long popular with New England and St. John area boaters, Passamaquoddy Bay is too often overlooked ...

CYOB Destinations: We Visit the Hilton Beach Marina

Hilton BeachBy Amelia Morris

Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population 200!), which I am lucky enough to call my cottage country, is located on the north-east coast of St. Joseph Island. The Hilton Beach Marina is one of the largest and most major ports of call in the Western North Channel. It also has a long and rich history dating back to the 1850’s.

I spoke with Marina Manager, Laura McRae and got the full scoop on what goes on in this inconspicuous but busy marina.

Read more about Hilton Beach Marina....

 

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
On Thursday last week, at age 88, Bruce Kirby has been invested into the Order of Canada for his ...
The Olympic Qualification Regatta is now being held in Aarhus Denmark with unlimited entries. That ...
The demographics of sailing are changing, and more women are getting involved and are often rooted ...
Whether he’s sailing celebrities around the BVI’s or sailing an Etchell back home at his native ...
POTW input is irresistible, so this time you get a couple. And don’t forget to send your own Photo ...
After a good night’s sleep, it was a lot easier to work my way through checking into the US. I ...
This photo from a CPS member shows how talented boaters are. Brenda Cochrane from Kelowna BC, a ...
The first part of this blog will show that not every day is blue sky and sunshine in the Bahamas!
This beauty came our way from Reel Deal Yachts in Bahia Mar, Florida. Why not charter for the ...
This new legislation from Washington State Department of Fisheries applies to boats launched in ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...
The latest new model from Cruisers Yachts is the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the ...
The Sabre 45 Salon Express is new for 2017, making its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International ...
Jeanneau’s newest NC model is the NC 33, and it’s an exciting and innovative inboard cruiser ...
The Four Winns H290OB combines two of the most popular new big boat trends to come up with a great ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...

 

Scarab 255 Open

Scarab 255 OpenBy Andy Adams and John Armstrong

You can imagine,at the GroupeBeneteau dealer meeting in Michigan last fall where all the Four Winns, Scarab, Wellcraft, and Glastrondealers had come to see the latest new models, the docks were lined up with gleaming brand-new boats to show the dealers and media – and they certainly put on a show! But for me, the Scarab 255 Open was an immediate stand out. This is a boat that breaks new ground and brings fresh thinking and interpretation of the boating experience to a wide range of buyers.

We had a quick look around but the test drives would have to wait until the next day.

Read more about the Scarab 255 Open....

 

 

 

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.
The 2018 Northwest Boat Travel Guide just arrived. This time of the year is the perfect time for ...