Some boaters like them purely for their entertainment value while anchored, tied to the dock or powering along blasting music that’s synched with dancing colored lights. Others swear they attract fish and help them fill the cooler. Still others tout security. No matter the reason, it’s clear that underwater lighting has taken hold among many boaters. Below are five brands and models considered to be the best.
The lineup is part of an exercise Marine Electronics Journal does every year as part of our Buyers’ Guide. It works like this: We ask the top manufacturers to identify the one model they produce in a particular category (17 in all) that they consider to be their Best & Brightest—not necessarily the most technically advanced or newest but rather the one they rate highest in the product line for one reason or another. Could be the functions and features it offers, or maybe it breaks new ground in maximizing effectiveness or utility, or maybe it’s the most popular as measured by sales to boaters.
Last week we described top-dog electronic charts for navigation and fishfinding.
Next week we’ll roll out the best survival electronics-Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs).
Aqualuma GEN 5 24 Series
The 24 Series is the latest edition to Aqualuma’s GEN 5 thru-hull range. Designed with 24 powerful LEDs for large vessels and superyachts, this high-performance light delivers an enormous output, allowing for full color and scene control through the use of a Casambi app available for IOS or Android (blue and white versions also available). The patented, one-piece polymer housing can be serviced from inside the vessel. The GEN 5 range is ideal for any type of hull construction, including aluminum, steel, wood and fiberglass.
Lumishore’s EOS (full color change) thru-hull lighting systems are a leader in high-performance full spectrum underwater lighting. The interchangeable TIX1603 has an internal driver and can be serviced from inside the hull without hauling the vessel. It features an ultra-wide 110° beam angle and offers a brightness output of 15,500 verified fixture lumens. Boaters can control their TIX1603 lighting system with the intuitive STV 2204-I display and/or directly from their MFD, using the Lumi-Link Command Center. Features include: preset and customizable colors, cycles, speeds, sweeps, modes, and brightness adjust; sound-to-light integration with onboard sound system; Wi-Fi control via Apple, Android, or any device with web browser; preprogramed synchronized light sequencing (all lights, all colors, all modes); and auto light discovery and set up.
SeaBlazeX2 continues the legacy of the successful Lumitec SeaBlazeX series. Available in dual-color or full-color RGBW spectrum and delivering the same exceptional performance, quality, and value, the SeaBlazeX2 sports 60% greater output. The dual-color SeaBlazeX2 offers an internally synchronized white/blue crossfade mode as well as white or blue color output, while the Spectrum offers a nearly limitless palette of intense, vivid colors complemented with a relaxing color cycle mode. Both versions deliver more than 6,000+ integrating-sphere-measured lumens, easy surface-mount design and require no external drivers to select color or change modes (utilizing Lumitec TTP technology). SeaBlazeX2 has Poco 3 Digital Lighting Control system compatibility for advanced functionality and comes with the Lumitec pedigree of reliability recognized the world over.
OceanLED Explore E7
Explore E7 is the latest addition to OceanLED’s Explore range. This compact, easy-to-install product builds on the technology of the highly successful E6 range and offers a unique new optical system. The E7 has a low-profile, Xchangeable Flush Mount body with dual blue/white and RGBW light options. Its angled beam produces a defined blade of light that penetrates the water parallel to the surface, illuminating a more significant area with minimal light loss and maximum penetration. This provides effective underwater XFM lighting for yachts with a varying hull angle that require a flush-mounted light. The E7 is the first underwater light that offers up to a 50° angle using reflectors inside a single 0° XFM housing for sloping hulls on fiberglass vessels.
Control all lighting via your onboard multifunction touchscreen display with our MFD Lighting Control Kit, providing easy control with full ShadowNET lighting control functionality. For use with fishing boats, pontoon boats, sports boats and yachts. Key features include: RGB, RGBW, two color and single color lighting, zone control (for multi-zone applications only), multiple fade mode changes, control color and brightness, four versions of music sync, endless lighting scenes can be configured and recalled, control transition speed, color sequence for multiple fade and strobe modes. Shadow-caster MFD Lighting Control Kit is compatible with most major MFD manufacturers including Garmin, Simrad, Lowrance, B&G, Raymarine and Furuno. Simply plug into your system’s network interface and step through the on-screen setup. No additional software to install or complex conﬁguration required.