Anyone who has to be — or might be — boating after dark should have a spotlight on board. You’ll need one to pick your way through floating debris, find gear or even locate a man overboard. Lacking scientific equipment to verify manufacturer claims of light output, we stood at the end of our street and illuminated a stop sign one-eighth of a mile away. We also shot the beam into the sky, noting the resolution of the beam and the apparent reach. In pure orneriness, we also blinded our co-workers across the hall.
QBeam LED Night Vision
Made Of: Plastic, top to bottom, with high, low and red-beam settings and a trigger lock to prevent accidental battery discharge
Light Output: 600 lumens
Battery Life: Advertised five hours, but we left it on nine hours and it still had enough light to make it useful on board
Chargers: 12-volt and 110-volt
Recharge Time: 24 hours or less
Charge Indicator: Yes
Stop Sign Test: Good reflection bounce-back will make it easy to find buoys, but it comes in third place in this test.
Squint Test: Oh, boy, it’s going to be a few minutes before he can read his keyboard.
UFO Hunting Capability: They would have to be at treetop level to light them up with this one.
Likes: The red LED setting lets you illuminate the cockpit or walkway to the dock without burning night vision — very cool.
Not So Much: Care must be taken not to leave the light on the charger — the directions say charging more than 24 hours can damage the battery. Set a timer.
Price: $59.95, Brinkmann.net
Warranty: 3 years for light, none for batteries