underwater lighting

Addressing Pitfalls of Underwater Lighting with LEDs

This article is sponsored by Larson Electronics, US manufacturer of commercial boat lights.

The ocean is extremely unpredictable, making illumination vital to sustaining marine operations. For underwater operations, such as the installation of large valves or inspection of lengthy pipelines, underwater lighting must be used to withstand the rough environment. These days, such requirements are being addressed by LEDs.

Find out how LEDs are being used to illuminate underwater work sites below.

Color Temperature and Power

Before the introduction of LEDs, halogen lights were used for underwater lighting. Unfortunately, the outdated light sources were ineffective in dealing with the environment.

Halogen lights emit a color temperature of 3,000K. This range is not bright enough for deep, underwater sites. LEDs, with a color temperature range of 3,500K to 9,000K, are better at providing sharp illumination. When compared to incandescent light sources, LEDs offer higher lumen output, while consuming less energy.

As a primary, underwater light source, LED lamps may take on rubber, handheld grips. This can help operators position light beams over the target, using gloved hands (when protected by a wet suit).

Seamless Integration with Tools

Although underwater locations are spacious, compact light sources are preferred by marine operators. Compact luminaries can be combined with tools and equipment to form a cohesive device. For instance, a low-voltage drill could incorporate a small LED light above the head for direct illumination over the target. The unit could be battery powered for portable applications.

For safety, integrated LED lighting could also improve reaction times for both underwater workers and camera operators overseeing operations remotely in a separate, above-ground facility.

As a pressure-tolerant unit, LEDs are ideal light sources for underwater, remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs). The luminaries can be equipped with heavy-duty parts to be able to withstand extreme depths and exploratory projects carried out by ROVs. Lastly, for discreet viewing of deepwater creatures, infrared LED lamps can be used.