10 Tips for Proper Installation of Courtesy Lights
1. Red, green, yellow and white are navigation lighting colors, so be sure to mount them beneath the gunwales or inside recesses that prevent the fixture from being visible outside the boat.
2. Chart lights on the helm should be shaded so the light element is not visible. Only the helm and charts should be softly illuminated.
3. Overhead courtesy lights should be recessed in sockets or fixtures and covered with a “fogged” bezel to eliminate harsh reflections that could imitate navigation lights.
4. White courtesy and companionway lights should be mounted close to the deck or sole to illuminate only the deck or companionway.
5. All electrical connections should be fused and fastened with heat-shrink connectors.
6. Support wires appropriately, fastening them about every 12-inches — don’t leave dangling, slack wire.
7. Don’t gang too many LEDs together. Six or so low lux courtesy lights are enough on a circuit. Any more and they may not have enough power to illuminate at all.
8. Circuit breakers protect the boat’s wiring; fuses protect the device. Use the former to protect from shorts and the latter to protect the device from power surges.
9. Use a wire stripper, not a pocketknife. Blade nicks on the wire reduce the carrying power of wire.
10. Don’t combine LEDs and electronics on the same circuit. Even though LED electronics are interference suppressed by FCC rules, don’t tempt fate and hook them to a stereo or VHF power point.