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LED Boat Lights: Cheapest Is Not Always Best

It’s probably by now safe to say that LED lighting is here to stay. Although as little as five years ago LEDs were still considered a fairly unproven marine lighting technology, we are now seeing major boat manufacturers incorporate LEDs as standard equipment in a wide variety of lighting applications ranging from navigational lighting systems to cabin lighting infohatworld

LEDs have come a long way in the last decade, and with more and more boaters realizing the benefits to be had from their durability, efficiency and long operational life, it was only a matter of time before major boat builders began embracing them as well. For quite some time, a boaters only real option was to attempt a do it yourself installation, which resulting in a lot of hit or miss results. LED quality was spotty at best, and effective installation in existing fixtures required a bit more work than simply replacing a bulb. Regardless, boaters were ahead of the manufacturers, and proved beyond any doubt that LEDs were an attractive addition to the marine industry. With such a strong demand obvious and present, it’s no wonder that manufacturers finally caught on and began offering LEDs in their new models.

For the boater looking to purchase a new watercraft, the option of including LEDs onboard is fairly simple since most manufacturers offer either the option to have them added or include them as standard equipment. How in-depth their inclusion is depends upon the manufacturer, but for the most part, most important lighting can be ordered in LED configuration and the boater need do nothing. While the cost of including LEDs does indeed increase the overall purchase price of a boat, the savings in fuel and maintenance costs help to quickly offset their added expense and provide net savings in the long term. Even better, LEDs allow boaters for most practical intents to abandon the old ways of saving power, and now it is possible to run a multitude of lights for hours with little worry of draining batteries or having to run noisy gensets. Replacing bulbs is quickly becoming a thing of the past as well, and maintenance of LED equipped lighting systems consists mainly of ensuring connections and housings remain in good condition.

While it’s a positive development, equipping newer boats with LEDs from the factory does nothing for boaters with older models that still utilize traditional incandescent and halogen lighting systems. Fortunately, the heavy interest among boaters in LEDs and their efforts to include them has resulted in the growth of an huge aftermarket that caters quite well to their needs. Every year new offerings arise that make switching older boats to LED lighting ever easier and simpler. It is possible now to upgrade an entire lighting system to LEDs with little more than screw in and bolt on replacement fixtures, which simplifies things for those with limited mechanical ability and electrical know how. Aftermarket marine LEDs also allow boaters to implement LEDs at a slow pace, making it a more affordable project as well. Rather than go all out and replace every fixture in one huge overhaul, boaters can simply replace fixtures with LEDs as they eventually fail and burn out, allowing them reap the benefits of LEDS while spreading the costs over a longer period of time.

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