Boat trailer lights

Setting Up Boat Trailer Lights for Federal Compliance

Depending on where you are in the US and the world, trailer lights used to tow boats on land must carefully adhere to specific standards. Governed by the DOT and other national organizations, such guidelines pertain to the type of boat trailer lights and placement of the units.

Size and Weight

In most cases, the size of the trailer will dictate various lighting requirements for federal compliance. Furthermore, the weight of the trailer is also a key factor in determining the types of luminaries used on the trailer. An example of this is the ruling for trailers that are 80” wide (minimum) with a GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. Such massive trailers must have reflectors (red/white) or reflective tape at the side and rear of the unit. It is important to note that weight limitations for boat trailers vary from state to state.

Smaller trailers do not need as many lights, compared to large variants. For instance, boat trailers less than 30” wide must have a brake light, tail light and reflector (rear), which should all be secured at the center of the unit.

Types of Trailer Boat Lights

At a very basic level, almost all trailers used for hauling boats should be equipped with stop/breaking lights, tail lights, turn/signal lights and reflectors. Moreover, the color of the lights must be carefully selected. Tail lights, stop lights, rear reflectors and side marker lights are typically red, while rear turn signal lights, front side marker lights and front side reflectors can be yellow. Lights for illuminating license plates are the only exception, with white being the color of choice for increased clarity.

For large boat trailers (over 80” wide and with a GVWR of 10,000+ lbs.), white light is applicable to marking the rear, upper body of the unit, as well as the bumper bar and rear, lower body.

led boat lights

Portable LED Boat Lights for Bowfishing

Bows are used to hunt animals on land and in the water. Focusing on the latter practice, bowfishing has been around for centuries – especially in locations surrounded by large bodies of water, such as lakes and oceans. Like other forms of hunting and fishing, this outdoor activity requires powerful led boat lights for support.

LED Bowfishing Lights

Anglers fishing with a bow must be able to see into the water clearly, which can be difficult in murky or muddy water. To improve clarity, cool white or warm white LED lamps can be utilized. For fresh or semi-clear bodies of water, a cool white LED beam is preferred due to its ability to penetrate the surface. On the other hand, LED lights with warm color temperature settings are ideal for murky water.

Bowfishing is conducted during the day or at night. For fishing at night, green LED lights may also be included in the system to attract fish to the surface. Compared to land-based bow hunting, bow fishing incorporates heavier arrows for a harder impact. After making contact with the fish, the angler reels in the creature using an attached line on the arrow.

Aiming with LED Boat Lights

Because natural line of sight is used for aiming, clarity on the water is very important. From the boat, water can cause fish to appear in motion or tilted. This is why a powerful LED boat light is needed for illumination. As a general rule of thumb, one should aim slightly lower than usual in order to account for the refracted nature of water.

LED bowfishing lights do not have to be installed on the bow itself. Instead, compact LED light bars and square light heads can be mounted at the boundaries of boats, with adjustable mounts to facilitate accurate beam placement during use.

Bulbs for LED Spotlights

Choosing Bulbs for LED Spotlights

Replacing or retro-fitting traditional spotlights with LED bulbs is an effective way to transition to energy-efficient illumination. During the process, individuals must select specific types of bulbs, in order to maintain a similar, tight beam configuration that is commonly associated with LED spotlights.

On the market, two options include parabolic aluminized reflector bulbs or PAR and multi-faceted reflector bulbs or MR.

MR LED Spotlight Bulbs

MR LED spotlight bulbs emit a narrow beam angle, ranging between 15 degrees and 45 degrees. Compared to a PAR LED bulb, this unit caters to far-flung objects. Moreover, MR bulbs can be found in compact lamp heads – roughly measuring two inches or less. Traditionally, MR bulbs were designed to improve the beam structure of halogen fixtures.

The numerical designation associated with the specific type of MR LED bulb refers to its respective size (expressed in 1/8”). This expression is also applicable to PAR LED spotlight bulbs. It is important to consider that such designations only serve the size of the bulbs. Color temperature and other lighting characteristics may vary, based on the product.

PAR LED Spotlight Bulbs

PAR LED bulbs offer a wider beam angle than MR LED variants. Such units come with a beam configuration wider than 45 degrees. Common PAR LED sizes include the following: PAR38, PAR30, PAR20 and PAR16. PAR38 spotlight bulbs are noticeably wider and provide brighter illumination; while PAR16 units – at the other end of the spectrum – are generally smaller, provide less illumination and operate at lower wattages.

PAR LED spotlight bulbs can be found in industrial, commercial and residential spaces. Rooms that require wider beam configurations may benefit from BR LED bulbs. Lastly, when unsure about the type of LED spotlight bulb needed for a lighting system, it is advisable to check the label or sticker on the device for guidance.

LED Sternlights

LED Sternlights for Boats and Vessels 101

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.

 

 

 

LED Forklift Lights

Improving Safety in Shipyards with LED Forklift Lights

Shipyards in marine locations are extremely busy and dangerous. The work sites are packed with cranes, commercial boats, forklifts and workers. Congestion is frequently an issue in industrial shipyards, as several ongoing projects and operations compete for space in crowded loading areas and entry/exit points. Because of such high-risk elements, forklift operators in shipyards may opt to use special pedestrian LED forklift lights for safety. Read on to learn more about this type of safety lighting system.

Forklift LED Lights for Shipyard Operations

Forklift LED lights are compact units that create a visual boundary around the vehicle during use. The most common colors include blue and red. Such devices mount on the frame of the forklift, allowing operators to adjust the unit for accurate beam configuration.

This type of safety lighting system is essential for shipyards and operations close to the dock. The marine-based work site is filled with loud machines and bright lights. Workers using ear plugs or pads may not notice an approaching forklift in time to move out of harm’s way. Forklift safety lights are typically angled down at the floor, so that even pedestrians looking down can see the beam.

Durable, Explosion Proof

In order to withstand hazardous marine sites, forklift LED work lights should be waterproof, as shipyards are close to the dock or large bodies of water. Furthermore, corrosion-resistant protection or housings may help the units last longer. It is important to consider that saltwater is a leading catalyst of corrosion for equipment in marine locations. Specific materials deter the onset of saltwater-based corrosion more effectively than others.

Lastly, explosion proof forklift LED safety lamps are applicable to shipyards that handle or are exposed to flammable materials or goods. The classification of the light depends on the type of combustible material present in the shipyard.

marine lighting system

How to Get the Most Out of LED Retrofits for Marine Lighting Systems

Transitioning from outdated lighting systems, such as incandescent and fluorescent lamps, to LED Marine Lighting is a rewarding experience for businesses in the marine sector. Based on performance and cost, to get the most out the project, it is important to take certain factors into consideration. Timing, cost and assessment are example of factors that should be carefully addressed before commencing with an LED retrofit project.

Pricing and Delays

Yes, it is true that at this time, LEDs come with higher upfront costs. However, cost savings for marine LED lights must be calculated over its lifespan. Since LEDs offer over 50,000+ hours of illumination, operators at the marine site will be spending less time and money on maintenance and re-lamping.

Buying cheap, low-quality LEDs is not recommended, as such a decision may result in more frequent purchases due to risk of premature failure.

Another common mistake made by businesses in the marine industry is delaying LED retrofit projects. Because the units provide immediate cost savings after installation, one would end up missing out on decreased monthly energy bills. As an estimate, delaying an LED retrofit project for 30 days equates to forgoing five percent in savings during installation.

Expert Help

Depending on the type of LED retrofit installation, seeking help from a lighting specialist is advisable to ensure compliance and safety. This tip is highly applicable to projects that require additional wiring or replacement of fixture components. On the other hand, some boat LED lights are compatible with legacy lighting systems, allowing operators to simply switch out the bulbs.

Since LEDs have different illuminative properties and designs, it would also be helpful to seek consultation about various lighting setups and arrangements. Although such services can be costly, an optimized lighting configuration at the marine site may require less LED lamps (resulting is lower acquisition costs).

LED Marine Lighting Systems

Weatherproof vs Weather Resistant for LED Marine Lighting Systems

Individuals gauge the sturdiness of LED Marine lights and equipment, based on their ratings. For protection against the ingress of water, operators typically check International Protection ratings associated with the unit during purchase.

Another common type of protective rating is weatherproof. This type of rating, which determines the product’s ability to withstand rugged, outdoor environments, can easily be confused with weather resistant.

Contrary to popular belief, weather resistant and weatherproof do not offer the same levels of protection against rough conditions.

Defining Weather Resistant

Weather-resistant ratings provide light to moderate levels of protection from water, sunlight, strong winds and mildly corrosive elements. It is important to highlight that such features cannot provide a complete seal against such variables. Furthermore, if the housing of the luminary resists foreign contaminants, via a robust coating or finish, the type of protection becomes weather repellent.

Weatherproof protection is designed to keep LED lights operating like new units. Furthermore, there are various degrees of performance, as the term ‘weatherproof’ encompasses several outdoor conditions.

For instance, CFM ratings may be used to determine the level of wind resistance certain weatherproof materials provide. Rating inspectors may implement water pressure tests to check for water leaks. Weatherproof also includes ultraviolet protection (UV) against persistent sunlight.

Which One is Right for Me?

A thorough approach to protecting LED lights for marine locations is to use the highest level of protection available, which is weatherproof. This approach can be costly to implement, as materials used for weatherproof protection are more expensive. But because of this, the units could last longer, reducing money spent on replacement and maintenance.

In some cases, weatherproof ratings are needed, in order to streamline compliance with marine regulations. For such applications, it is crucial to adhere to such requirements. To improve operation, weather resistant housings in marine environments can be supplemented with covers.

Improving Safety in Marine Environments with Remote Controlled LED Spotlights

Improving Safety in Marine Environments with Remote Controlled LED Spotlights

In order to boost illumination in marine-based facilities, LED spotlights are mounted on poles or other hard-to-reach locations. This allows the units to cast light beams over the target area with minimal obstruction.

Unfortunately, such mounting options reduce access to the LED fixture. As a result, the operator’s safety is greatly compromised, every time the individual uses or makes adjustment to the luminary.

Benefits of Hands-free Operation

A solution to this issue is the application of remote controlled LED spotlights. These cutting-edge lamps are designed to be operated at a safe distance, via a handheld (wireless) controller. When used in dangerous work sites, operators do not have to be in direct contact with the LED spotlight all the time.

For example, an LED spotlight mounted on a boat rack is perfect for casting light on the surface of the water. However, equipment towers are often bulky and out of reach. With a remote controlled LED spotlight, one does not have to stop the boat or leave the captain’s chair to adjust direction of the beam. Moreover, it would be possible to participate in several tasks at once, such as recovering gear from the water while keeping the light beam on the object. Visit this page for large online selection of boat spotlights.

Dangerous and Hazardous Location Sites

Another use for remote controlled LED spotlights is for illumination in dangerous work sites, such as construction and petrol refineries. In both locations, LED spotlights are mounted on heavy-duty equipment, such as cranes, pipes, rails and tanks.

Such equipment are exposed to hazardous materials on a regular basis, which can be harmful vapors, corrosive chemicals or large amounts of dust. To prevent exposure to flammable and deadly substances, operators may opt to leverage a remote controlled LED spotlight. By controlling the fixture with a handheld remote, the operator is able to stay out of harm’s way.

Benefits of Polycarbonate for Marine-based Lighting Systems

Benefits of Polycarbonate for Marine-based Lighting Systems

Marine locations, including shipyards, boats and commercial docks, are rugged work sites. Such areas are exposed to numerous harmful environmental elements, from saltwater to strong winds. Protecting lighting systems with sturdy materials is one of the best ways to overcome extreme marine sites, which includes polycarbonate. These days, the amorphous thermoplastic is applied to a range of industrial products. Examples such equipment includes protective eyewear, shatterproof covers, lighting lenses and more.

Polycarbonate Properties

Polycarbonate gets its durable features from a specific chemical reaction that takes place between bisphenol A and phosgene. Interestingly, this is the same process used to manufacture bulletproof materials and surfaces.

Compared to fiberglass, it can withstand harder impacts (up to four times). Furthermore, the robust material is less prone to dents and deformation experienced with impacts or rough handling on stainless steel-based surfaces. From a cost perspective, polycarbonate is cheaper to acquire and implement in product manufacturing.

In the application of polycarbonate for industrial lights, the material is usually transparent (used as a lens cover). However, it can also be manufactured with a diffused layer, which is applicable to decreasing glare in busy work sites.

Extreme Marine Work Sites

Operators in marine work sites favor polycarbonate because it is non-corrosive, with an operating temperature range of -31 ̊F to 180 ̊F. When used in wet or damp locations, the material is suitable for achieving stringent IP or NEMA ratings for industrial fixtures.

For marine environments, polycarbonate can reduce warping and help maintain the integrity of fixtures on the work site. Since the material is UV resistant, operators do not have to worry about maintaining a UV coating for protection. To streamline protection, manufacturers may incorporate UV stabilizers and other additives. Polycarbonate is also particularly useful for mitigating the negative effects of mainstream acids commonly found in cleaning agents and rainwater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

uscg approved lights

What are USCG Approved Lights for Boats?

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) governs and oversees large bodies of water in the country. Boaters are required to closely observe USCG regulations, when deploying vessels in oceans and lakes. A major highlight in USCG boating guidelines is the application of USCG approved lights. Reports of USCG patrollers issuing warnings and citations about the use of non-approved USCG lamps have increased, due to a spike in availability of low-quality fixtures for boats.

USCG Approved Lights 101

According to a 2015 USCG memo (Safety Alert 10-15), lights for recreational and commercial vessels must comply with Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (72 COLREGS) or Inland Navigation Rules (33 CFR Subchapter E). Recommendations for light sources are not provided, implying that individuals can select any type of fixture, such as incandescent, metal halide or LEDs, to use on boats.

When a USCG warden inspects a lighting system on a vessel, he or she is on the lookout for specific labels on the fixtures. There should be ‘USCG Approval 33 CFR 183.810’ or ‘Meets ABYC A-16 guidelines’ (or similar) wording on the lamps. Additionally, markings from a recognized testing laboratory, such as ETL or UL, should also be present on the label.

Decorative Boat Lights vs USCG Boat Lights

Another important aspect of USCG-approved fixtures is performance. USCG officials discourage the use of decorative lighting on vessels. This is because such lighting systems can easily be mistaken for or obstruct existing navigation lights. For example, bright LED strip lights or boat spotlights which are commonly found on boats, can easily overpower red/green navigational fixtures (when installed within the same part of the vessel).

Lastly, the application of flashing decorative lights should be avoided (when possible), as the luminaries could provide a false impression of a law enforcement vessel patrolling the location.