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.

Lifestyle

  • Prev
With old boats every repair seems to uncover something else needing attention.  Removing the ...
We admit it, this Photo of the Week shot was just too cute to resist even though it was blatant ...
Reader Lorraine Gentleman took some liberty with our request for Photo of the Week shots from the ...
This afternoon portrait of her son enjoying a snooze in a pretty unlikely spot comes to us from ...
I've been cleaning dresser drawers for space and came across this 1979 LYRA t-shirt. This was my ...
Our Photo of the Week comes from one of our CY team members who writes “This is my son and his best ...
This boat carries the distinction as the last boat to leave the C&C Custom shop in Oakville ...
We crossed Lake Ontario from Oswego with a minimum of fuss and did a little happy dance when we ...
Our Photo of the Week comes from Mark and Lisa Harris who winter in Vancouver, Washington and spend ...
I am new to boating. Bought a 2019 Ranger Tug in April followed by taking a short boating course ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
With a philosophy of quality and 'doing things right Ranger Tugs launches the all new R-25 at the ...
The new Beneteau Swift Trawler 41 renews the spirit of the practical seaworthy cruiser. The ...
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...

Beneteau Flyer 32By Andy Adams

Summer sun boat! The handsome new Beneteau Flyer 32 is all about entertaining and the bow area is one of the main attractions. It's a wide shape forward with a huge anchor locker and opening centre section in the railing that invites you to beach the boat and go swimming. The bow is really one giant sun bed area with armrests that fold down and head rests too, for fall-asleep comfort. 

 

 

Read more about the Beneteau Flyer 32....................

 

Dufour 460By Katherine Stone

When one does an October yacht review on the Great Lakes you can never be sure of what kind of weather you will get…. and did we ever luck out! A beautiful sunny day with a high of 31 degrees and a perfect 8-10 knot breeze with light chop made for a champagne sailing day. Lucky for me we were at Swans Yacht Sales located in the Whitby Marina on Lake Ontario, trying out the Dufour 460 Grand Large, a flag ship for the midrange Dufour boats. With an overall length of 46’5” and a hull length of 44 ‘, this boat is majestic, not only in size, but also in elegance with timeless and contemporary style. 

Read More about Dufour 460..................

Destinations

  • Prev
Boom & Batten Restaurant is suspended over the water adjacent to the Songhees Walkway and ...
Provincial Boat Havens are those special places to drop anchor in British Columbia’s West Coast and ...
NW Explorations, a Bellingham, Washington-based yacht charter, brokerage, and marine services ...

Moorings In BrazilWith an increasing amount of interest in South America as a charter destination, The Moorings has responded with a new base in Paraty, Brazil. Surrounded by towering jungles plummeting into the waters of Baia Carioca, this charter cruising region features bays peppered with islands and world-famous beaches.

Centrally located between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Paraty (pronounced “Para-chee”) holds the key to many natural wonders you can only discover by boat.

Read more about Moorings' Brazil Charters......................

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Since the days of the astrolabe, sailors have looked to the skies to determine the weather. If only ...
Since 1984 PORTS Cruising Guides have been the cruising boater's essential companion. But now PORTS ...
Canada’s largest independent fiberglass boat builder, Campion, has launched Muskoka, The M26 is 8.4 ...
It is not often I get to drive the newer model of something I own. Most of the time the model I own ...
Good news cruisers, it’s coming in early Summer 2020 – PORTS Rideau Canal and Lower Ottawa River ...
Few things are as frustrating to a boat owner as being becalmed or running out of fuel—or both. If ...
One of the biggest complaints we hear from our readers is ‘why we don’t run more new products’. ...
Every cruiser in the region has used it for years, but now there’s a brand new edition of the ...
When you visit the Toronto Boat Show, come to the Canadian Yachting booth (#1741), trial a pair of ...
With the Davis Scrubbis Underwater Hull Cleaning Kit it's easy to rid a boat of algae, grass, and ...