You may have discovered a navigation light had crapped out when you recommissioned your boat this spring. Or, you’d like to shed a little more light on the engine room. Now is the time to swap the old-school bulb variety with light-emitting diodes or LEDs. By doing so, you can save amps, boat longer and avoid changing light bulbs, maybe forever. Change only the tunes and let the stereo amp eat the juice — it’s far more fun.
LEDs are electronic devices. By manipulating frequencies using electronics, any LED can be made to emit a variety of colors. New technology has made them more efficient than ever before, reduced the heat that once caused failure, and stopped the electronic interference that plagued boaters who used them.
Most of the LEDs we tested were sealed from moisture and corrosion — both benefits that spell more boating fun and fewer headaches.
How We Tested
-We tested current draw from a fully charged 12-volt battery using a digital multimeter. On average, all the lights we tested drew 90 percent less power than a comparable incandescent.
-To capture lux/lumens, we used an industrial light meter and converted to candelas to confirm that light emission met minimum specifications. Some lights were considerably brighter. Green sidelights were consistently brighter than red.
-Our formula for candela conversion is Lux x Distance Squared = Candelas. Coast Guard minimum is 4.3 candelas.
-LEDs are electronic devices and are subject to rules that limit radio wave interference. We operated the lights in contact with an Icom M24 VHF radio and an AM transistor radio antenna to check for interference. None of the lights in our test produced detectable radio frequency interference, though the Livorsi lights did create a mild static effect on an AM radio, but only when the fixture touched the antenna.
-All the lights we tested used corrosion-resistant tinned wire.
-All test lights survived our dunk test while illuminated.
211-M Pop Up
This pop-up combination light sits flush on the deck at the centerline, eliminating an anchoring hazard and streamlining the hull appearance until deployed.
Cool Feature: It includes a surge protector, also potted against moisture intrusion, mitigating the most common cause for LED lights’ rare failure.
Hardware Included: None; use sealant instead of gasket.
Cost: From $150
Candelas: Green 26.1, Red 14.2
Light Intensity at 6 Inches: Green 500 lumens, Red 310 lumens