Navigation lights for boats are crucial components for safety and compliance. In the US, the United States Coast Guard requires certain types of boats in the water to display the following: masthead light, side lights and/or led sternlights.
This article dives into LED options for sternlights and their applications in navigational safety.
What is an LED Sternlight?
An LED sternlight for boats is a compact and powerful light installed at the back of the boat or vessel. Ideally, the luminary should be installed as far back on the boat or stern as possible for maximum visibility.
The unit must also emit a constant, non-strobing beam with a beam angle of 135 degrees. When installed properly, the beam should be slightly visible from both sides and fully visible when viewing the boat from the back.
LEDs are perfect for sternlighting systems, due to their long lifespans. Because the units must be kept on at all times (constant illumination), operators do not have to spend time on maintaining or re-lamping the fixtures. In most cases, LED sternlights are mounted or secured on a pole for visibility. Some vessels tilt the light head slightly downwards to reduce light spillage or trespass.
Why Use an LED Sternlight? (Applications)
The first reason individuals should consider installing an LED sternlight on their boat is compliance with marine regulations. Some types of boats, such as a sailboat that is active at night, are required to utilize a sternlight for safety.
Next, LED sternlights for vessels promote safety and decrease the possibility of collisions. The units are designed to notify other boaters about the direction the vessel is heading, based on the amount of visible light from the lamp.
To ensure proper use, it is important to test the visibility of the LED boat fixtures before deployment in the water.