did they have to be so large?
The point is, retrofitting
your boat with LED lights will
cut the amount of energy used
to light your boat by 90 percent. And the
amount you’re using now can be surprisingly large. Just illuminating an average set
of running lights consumes around 7 amps.
A few halogen surface-mounted fixtures in
the saloon can eat up 10 amps. Running for
an hour after sundown and then entertaining aboard for a few more can burn up 40
amp hours of your battery-bank capacity.
Light-Emitting Diodes use far less
energy to produce the same amount
of light, making them ideal for
boating applications. Left, a center
console shows the eerie glow of blue
underwater LEDs, while top right, a
fleet of Viking sportfishermen show
off white lights below the waterline.
Right, cockpit courtesy lighting on a
sailboat makes use of indirect light
and LEDs’ cool blue glow for maximum appeal. Inset: A close-up of
an LED bulb showing the individual
diodes and circuit board.
But with LEDs it would be more
“From a consumer standpoint,
it sounds expensive,” says Bradd
Wilson, of Cruising Solutions. “But you’ll
see cruisers investing money in solar panels,
wind generators, or gensets. If they’d just
cut back on their power consumption, they
wouldn’t need any of it.”
WhAt to thInk ABoUt
“The first step is deciding whether you want
to keep the existing fixtures,” says Wilson.
If you’re happy with the look and feel of
your fixtures and don’t want to add remote
switches or dimming, replacement bulbs can
be an effective solution. “We’re at a point
where we’ve got a bulb to fit in just about
every kind of fixture,” says Wilson, whose
company started selling LED replacement
bulbs eight years ago. Before you go swapping every bulb onboard for LED replacements, take a moment to make sure you’re
getting well-engineered LEDs suitable for
marine use. Here’s what to look for:
■ Constant Current Circuitry: A quality LED