How to Install Underwater Boat Lights

Boat­ing can be an enjoy­able expe­ri­ence both dur­ing the day and at night. How­ev­er, nav­i­gat­ing the waters after sun­set demands some addi­tion­al mea­sures for safe­ty and con­ve­nience. One such mea­sure is installing under­wa­ter boat lights. Not only do these lights make your boat look visu­al­ly stun­ning, but they also improve its vis­i­bil­i­ty, mak­ing it safer dur­ing night­time voy­ages. This guide aims to pro­vide you with a com­pre­hen­sive overview of how to install under­wa­ter boat lights, cov­er­ing aspects such as choos­ing the right lights, prepar­ing for instal­la­tion, the instal­la­tion process itself, and post-instal­la­tion tips.

How to Install Underwater Boat Lights

Once you have cho­sen the right lights, you will need to plan where they will be installed on your boat. This typ­i­cal­ly involves plac­ing them along the stern and sides of the boat, below the water­line. It’s cru­cial that you do this accu­rate­ly to ensure the lights func­tion prop­er­ly and pro­vide effec­tive illu­mi­na­tion.

  1. Deter­mine the Place­ment: Decide where you want to install the under­wa­ter lights on your boat. Com­mon loca­tions include the stern, tran­som, or sides of the boat. Con­sid­er the desired light­ing effect and the best posi­tion for vis­i­bil­i­ty and safe­ty.
  2. Gath­er the Nec­es­sary Tools and Mate­ri­als: You will need the fol­low­ing tools and mate­ri­als for the instal­la­tion:
    • Under­wa­ter boat lights: Choose high-qual­i­ty, water­proof lights designed specif­i­cal­ly for marine use.
    • Drill with appro­pri­ate drill bits
    • Screw­driv­er or wrench
    • Marine-grade adhe­sive or sealant
    • Elec­tri­cal con­nec­tors and wiring
    • Heat shrink tub­ing or elec­tri­cal tape
    • Wire strip­pers and crimp­ing tool
    • Marine-grade elec­tri­cal cables
  3. Pre­pare the Instal­la­tion Area: Clean the instal­la­tion area thor­ough­ly and ensure it is free from any dirt, grime, or debris. This will help pro­vide a secure and last­ing bond between the boat and the lights.
  4. Mark the Mount­ing Holes: Place the lights on the boat’s sur­face and mark the loca­tion of the mount­ing holes. Make sure the lights are lev­el and prop­er­ly aligned. Dou­ble-check the posi­tion­ing before pro­ceed­ing.
  5. Drill the Mount­ing Holes: Use an appro­pri­ate drill bit to cre­ate pilot holes for the mount­ing screws or bolts. Be care­ful not to drill too deep or dam­age the boat’s struc­ture. Remove any excess debris or fil­ings from the holes.
  6. Install the Lights: Apply marine-grade adhe­sive or sealant to the back of the lights and care­ful­ly place them over the mount­ing holes. Insert the screws or bolts through the holes and secure them tight­ly to hold the lights in place.
  7. Con­nect the Wiring: Run the elec­tri­cal cables from the lights to a suit­able pow­er source on the boat. Ensure the cables are prop­er­ly rout­ed and secured to avoid dam­age. Use wire strip­pers to strip the insu­la­tion from the ends of the cables, and con­nect them to the pow­er source using appro­pri­ate elec­tri­cal con­nec­tors. Use heat shrink tub­ing or elec­tri­cal tape to pro­tect and seal the con­nec­tions.
  8. Test the Lights: Before fin­ish­ing the instal­la­tion, test the lights to ensure they are func­tion­ing prop­er­ly. Turn on the pow­er source and check that all lights are illu­mi­nat­ed and work­ing as intend­ed.
  9. Secure and Seal the Wiring: Once the lights are test­ed and work­ing, secure and pro­tect the wiring using cable ties or clips. Ensure that all con­nec­tions are secure and free from any exposed wiring. Apply marine-grade adhe­sive or sealant to seal any open­ings or gaps around the wiring to pre­vent water ingress.
  10. Fol­low Safe­ty Pre­cau­tions: When work­ing with elec­tri­cal instal­la­tions on a boat, always adhere to safe­ty guide­lines and fol­low prop­er wiring prac­tices. If you are unsure or uncom­fort­able with the instal­la­tion process, con­sid­er seek­ing pro­fes­sion­al assis­tance.

After the plan­ning stage, you will then drill holes in your boat where the lights will be installed. It’s essen­tial to seal these holes cor­rect­ly to pre­vent water leak­age. The lights will then be fixed into place, usu­al­ly with screws and marine adhe­sive.

The lights will need to be con­nect­ed to a pow­er source on your boat, typ­i­cal­ly the boat’s bat­tery. It’s impor­tant to ensure the wiring is prop­er­ly insu­lat­ed and secured to avoid elec­tri­cal issues.

How to Install Underwater Boat Lights

Choosing the Right Underwater Boat Lights

If you’re look­ing for lights pure­ly for aes­thet­ic pur­pos­es, then the col­or and bright­ness may be the most impor­tant fac­tors for you. For func­tion­al pur­pos­es, such as fish­ing or div­ing, you may want bright white lights for bet­ter vis­i­bil­i­ty under water.

  • Pur­pose: Deter­mine why you need the lights. Are they for aes­thet­ic rea­sons, fish­ing, div­ing, or to increase vis­i­bil­i­ty at night? This will help guide your choice.
  • Boat Size and Type: The size and mate­r­i­al of your boat can affect the type and num­ber of lights you need.
  • Qual­i­ty and Dura­bil­i­ty: Look for lights that are water­proof, cor­ro­sion-resis­tant, and have good heat dis­si­pa­tion. The lights should be able to with­stand the marine envi­ron­ment.
  • Pow­er Source Com­pat­i­bil­i­ty: Check that your boat’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem can han­dle the added load of the under­wa­ter lights.
  • Reg­u­la­to­ry Com­pli­ance: Under­stand the local reg­u­la­tions regard­ing under­wa­ter boat lights. Some areas may have restric­tions on cer­tain col­ors or types of lights.
  • Light Type: LED lights are a pop­u­lar choice due to their ener­gy effi­cien­cy, long lifes­pan, and vari­ety of col­or options.
  • Brand Rep­u­ta­tion and Reviews: Research var­i­ous brands, check cus­tomer reviews, and con­sult with marine equip­ment sup­pli­ers. This can help you find reli­able and high-qual­i­ty lights.
  • Instal­la­tion: Con­sid­er how the lights will be installed. Some may require pro­fes­sion­al instal­la­tion, while oth­ers can be installed DIY with the right tools and instruc­tions.

You should con­sid­er the size and type of your boat. Larg­er ves­sels might need stronger lights with high­er lumens. Mate­r­i­al of your boat (alu­minum, fiber­glass, etc.) can influ­ence the type of lights you should get as it affects the instal­la­tion process.

Pay atten­tion to the qual­i­ty and dura­bil­i­ty of the lights. Look for lights that are water­proof, cor­ro­sion-resis­tant, and have a good heat dis­si­pa­tion sys­tem. LED lights are com­mon­ly cho­sen due to their ener­gy effi­cien­cy, longevi­ty, and vari­ety of col­ors.

The pow­er source is anoth­er impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tion. Ensure that the boat’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem can han­dle the added load of the under­wa­ter lights.

Understanding Your Needs

Start by ask­ing your­self what you need the lights for. Is it to enhance vis­i­bil­i­ty for night div­ing, fish­ing, or just for the aes­thet­ic appeal? Know­ing this will guide you in pick­ing the right col­or and inten­si­ty.

Types of Boat Lights

There are main­ly three types: LED, Halo­gen, and HID. LEDs are ener­gy-effi­cient, long-last­ing, and come in a vari­ety of col­ors. Halo­gen and HID lights are less pop­u­lar due to their high ener­gy con­sump­tion.

Selecting the Best Position

The best spots to install your lights are at the stern and the hull. Plac­ing them here not only looks good but also illu­mi­nates a large por­tion of water.

Legal and Safety Considerations

Check the local laws regard­ing under­wa­ter boat lights because some states restrict cer­tain col­ors. Always pri­or­i­tize safe­ty. Lights should enhance vis­i­bil­i­ty, not obstruct it.

Gathering Required Tools and Materials

Gathering Required Tools and Materials

Before you start the instal­la­tion process of under­wa­ter boat lights, it’s essen­tial to gath­er all the required tools and mate­ri­als to ensure a smooth and effi­cient instal­la­tion process. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Under­wa­ter Lights: Choose qual­i­ty under­wa­ter lights that are suit­able for your boat and meet your spe­cif­ic needs. These lights should be durable, water­proof, and com­pat­i­ble with your boat’s pow­er source.
  • Drill and Drill Bits: You will need a drill and the cor­rect size drill bits for the instal­la­tion. Ensure that the drill bits are suit­able for the mate­r­i­al of your boat hull, whether that’s fiber­glass, alu­minum, or steel.
  • Marine Sealant: A marine-grade sealant is cru­cial to pre­vent water from enter­ing the drilled holes in the hull. This sealant should be designed to with­stand con­stant water expo­sure and changes in tem­per­a­ture.
  • Screw­driv­er or Screw Gun: A screw­driv­er or a screw gun will be need­ed to secure the lights to the hull of your boat.
  • Wiring and Elec­tri­cal Sup­plies: Depend­ing on the type of light, you might need elec­tri­cal wires, con­nec­tors, a fuse, and a switch. If the lights are not bat­tery-oper­at­ed, they will need to be con­nect­ed to your boat’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem.
  • Safe­ty Gear: Safe­ty glass­es, gloves, and a life jack­et (if work­ing from the water) are some of the safe­ty items you should have on hand dur­ing instal­la­tion.
  • Instruc­tion Man­u­al: Always refer to the man­u­fac­tur­er’s instruc­tion man­u­al for spe­cif­ic instal­la­tion guide­lines. This will give you the cor­rect pro­ce­dure and any oth­er spe­cial require­ments for the par­tic­u­lar lights you have cho­sen.

Remem­ber, if you are not com­fort­able with doing the instal­la­tion your­self

Tools You’ll Need

To install these lights, you’ll need a drill, marine sealant, screw­driv­er, heat-shrink con­nec­tors, and a wire strip­per. Keep a mul­ti­me­ter at hand for test­ing elec­tri­cal con­nec­tions.

Selecting the Right Materials

Your light kit should include lights, a switch, wiring, and inline fus­es. If not, you’ll need to pur­chase them sep­a­rate­ly. Always opt for marine-grade products—they’re designed to with­stand harsh aquat­ic envi­ron­ments.

Installing the Underwater Boat Lights

Start by deter­min­ing the loca­tion for the under­wa­ter lights. This will depend on the type of boat and the spe­cif­ic effects you desire. Com­mon places to install these lights are on the stern or along the sides of the hull. Remem­ber, the posi­tion of the lights will deter­mine the illu­mi­na­tion area.

Once you’ve cho­sen the right spot, mark the areas where you will drill holes for the lights. Be cer­tain these areas don’t inter­fere with any inter­nal sys­tems of your boat like bilge pumps, trans­duc­ers, or oth­er impor­tant struc­tures.

Drilling the Holes

Mark where you want the lights to go. Check twice before drilling! You don’t want unnec­es­sary holes in your boat.

Sealing and Mounting

Apply marine sealant to pre­vent water from get­ting in. Then, secure the lights with screws includ­ed in the kit.

Running the Wiring

Route the wiring from each light to the switch, ensur­ing they’re well-secured and hid­den. Use the heat-shrink con­nec­tors for secure con­nec­tions.

Making the Connections

Con­nect the wires to the switch and the pow­er source. Be sure to con­nect the inline fuse to the pos­i­tive wire for safe­ty.

Testing Your Lights

Before hit­ting the water, test your lights to make sure they’re work­ing prop­er­ly. If not, check your con­nec­tions and the inline fus­es.

Installing the Underwater Boat Lights

Safety and Maintenance Tips

One of the most impor­tant safe­ty tips is to ensure that the pow­er source is turned off before start­ing the instal­la­tion. This min­i­mizes the risk of elec­tri­cal shock or short cir­cuits. Addi­tion­al­ly, wear­ing safe­ty equip­ment such as gloves and eye pro­tec­tion can pre­vent poten­tial injuries dur­ing the instal­la­tion process.

When drilling holes in your boat’s hull, pre­ci­sion is vital. Errant drilling can lead to unnec­es­sary dam­age to the hull and poten­tial leaks. Use the right size drill bit and make sure the holes are sealed prop­er­ly with marine sealant to pre­vent water intru­sion.

Reg­u­lar main­te­nance of your under­wa­ter boat lights is equal­ly impor­tant. Keep an eye out for any signs of water leak­age or con­den­sa­tion with­in the light fix­tures, which could indi­cate a com­pro­mised seal. Reg­u­lar­ly clean the lights to remove any marine growth or debris that could dim the lights over time. When clean­ing, avoid using harsh chem­i­cals that could dam­age the light’s lens or cas­ing. Instead, use a cloth and a mild clean­ing solu­tion.

Regular Inspection

Reg­u­lar­ly inspect your lights and wiring for any signs of dam­age or wear. Prompt repairs can save you a lot of time and mon­ey.


Salt and grime can dim your lights. Clean them reg­u­lar­ly to main­tain bright­ness and ensure they last longer.

Tip: Use a Professional

If you’re not con­fi­dent about DIY, hire a pro­fes­sion­al. It’s bet­ter to spend some mon­ey than risk dam­ag­ing your boat.

And that’s it! With a bit of patience and some basic tools, you can install under­wa­ter boat lights like a pro. So, why wait? Light up your boat and enjoy your night-time cruis­ing or fish­ing. Hap­py sail­ing!

Understanding the Benefits of Underwater Boat Lights

Understanding the Benefits of Underwater Boat Lights

Under­wa­ter boat lights are not just about aes­thet­ic appeal, they offer a vari­ety of func­tion­al ben­e­fits that make them a worth­while addi­tion to any boat. Here are a few:

  1. Enhanced Vis­i­bil­i­ty: One of the pri­ma­ry ben­e­fits of under­wa­ter boat lights is improved vis­i­bil­i­ty. This can be par­tic­u­lar­ly help­ful dur­ing night time excur­sions, mak­ing it eas­i­er to nav­i­gate through dark­er waters and alert­ing oth­er boaters of your pres­ence.
  2. Safe­ty: These lights also enhance safe­ty by attract­ing fish away from the pro­pellers, espe­cial­ly in waters that are known for aquat­ic life. They can help to deter poten­tial under­wa­ter haz­ards, which is essen­tial if you are swim­ming or div­ing from your boat at night.
  3. Fish­ing Advan­tage: For those who enjoy fish­ing, under­wa­ter boat lights can give you an edge. Cer­tain species of fish are attract­ed to light, and hav­ing lights installed can draw them clos­er to your boat, increas­ing your chances of a good catch.
  4. Aes­thet­ic Appeal: One can­not over­look the sheer aes­thet­ic appeal of under­wa­ter boat lights. They can make your boat stand out, adding an ele­ment of ele­gance and style. It makes your boat more vis­i­ble in the dark and adds a beau­ti­ful ambiance for night­time boat­ing.

Well-installed, high-qual­i­ty under­wa­ter boat lights can increase the resale val­ue of your boat. They are seen as a valu­able addi­tion, mak­ing your boat more appeal­ing to poten­tial buy­ers.

Enhanced Safety

Under­wa­ter lights enhance vis­i­bil­i­ty, ensur­ing that you nav­i­gate the waters safe­ly. They allow you to spot any poten­tial haz­ards, pre­vent­ing unex­pect­ed col­li­sions or ground­ing.

Increased Fishing Success

Fish are attract­ed to light, and hav­ing under­wa­ter lights can sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase your fish­ing suc­cess, espe­cial­ly at night.

Improved Boat Aesthetics

Under­wa­ter boat lights add an ele­ment of beau­ty and ele­gance to your boat. They’re a great way to make your boat stand out, espe­cial­ly dur­ing those sum­mer night cruis­es.


What are the essential tools needed for the installation of underwater boat lights?

You will need a drill, marine sealant, screw­driv­er, and pos­si­bly a hole saw, depend­ing on your light mod­el. You should also have some marine grade elec­tri­cal wire and con­nec­tors, wire cut­ters and strip­pers, and a mul­ti­me­ter to test your con­nec­tions. It’s essen­tial to refer to your light man­u­fac­tur­er’s instruc­tions for any spe­cif­ic tools you might need.

How can I choose the right type of underwater boat light?

The choice of under­wa­ter boat light depends on sev­er­al fac­tors such as the size of your boat, the pri­ma­ry pur­pose of the light (whether for safe­ty, fish­ing, or aes­thet­ic rea­sons), and your bud­get. LED lights are a pop­u­lar choice due to their ener­gy effi­cien­cy and long life. In terms of col­or, dif­fer­ent light col­ors can have dif­fer­ent effects on attract­ing marine life if you’re inter­est­ed in fish­ing.

Is it safe to install underwater boat lights by myself?

While it is pos­si­ble to install under­wa­ter boat lights your­self, you should only do so if you are com­fort­able with basic elec­tri­cal work and have the nec­es­sary tools. If you’re unsure, it’s best to hire a pro­fes­sion­al. Regard­less of who installs the lights, safe­ty should be the utmost pri­or­i­ty.


Installing and main­tain­ing under­wa­ter boat lights does­n’t have to be com­pli­cat­ed. With the right infor­ma­tion, tools, and a bit of patience, you can enjoy a safe and excit­ing boat­ing expe­ri­ence. And remem­ber, when in doubt, don’t hes­i­tate to con­sult with a pro­fes­sion­al.

Hap­py light­ing, and even hap­pi­er boat­ing!