Pontoon boats have come a long way from the generic “party barge” your grandparents use to putt around the lake on their nightly sunset cruise. Today, the style and versatility of pontoons appeals to a much younger and more diverse audience. As such, a lot has changed, including not only horsepower and handling, but also overall style and amenities. One of the most popular options in recent years? LED lighting.
While desirable for overall visibility, LEDs are perhaps prized most for their ability to create a certain atmosphere aboard. Available in a variety of colors to match or highlight your interior, they can serve as accent lighting around seat bases, outline the perimeters of the interior passenger space, ring cup holders, or light up select spots like gates or storage compartments. Pontoon manufacturers have even taken to running LED strip lighting under the edge of the perimeter rail so that it casts a colorful glow across the aluminum pontoons. As they are sealed against water intrusion, draw a fraction of the power of incandescent lighting, have a dramatically longer lifespan, resist shock and incidental damage and stay cooler than incandescent lights, LEDs are ideal for boating applications. And arguably no boat has more square footage per linear foot than a pontoon to take full advantage of an LED’s glow.
Roswell makes several LED offerings but for basic lighting effects above the waterline, the company’s Colin Brumbaugh suggests its hard to beat the basic off-the-shelf LED strips available at your local home supply or marine goods store. They can be attached with adhesive and/or screws, and easily connect to the 12-volt power supply. If you just want to see their glow (and not suffer the potential distracting glare), remember to mount light strips under an overhang. More specific areas you wish to highlight, like speakers, can be given an LED’s glow from a product like Roswell’s LED Night Rings. Sized to fit the standard 6.5″ speaker, the rings simply slip behind the loosened speaker grille and then are secured in place when the speaker is remounted. Lighting them up is a matter of simply tapping into the 12-volt power light circuit.
Or, consider adding the benefits of LED lighting from above. More and more pontoon boats today are coming with variations of a watersports tower or arch. This added territory overhead offers a great place to mount light bars, tower accessories that attach via universal clamps and offer a multitude of LED spotlights. Roswell offers light bars in two, three, four and six light variations, with individually articulating LED spots that can be used during docking, trailering, or just entertaining the crowd. Lights incorporate LED courtesy lights to also illuminate the boat’s interior when desired.
Electrical concerns? Just remember to include a fuse on any 12-volt lighting circuit. You may also wish to consider placing the lighting on its own circuit and adding a dimmer (rheostat) so that you can match the light output to the mood aboard.
For more information about Roswell marine lighting products, visit their website.