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How to smartly install LED light strips on your boat

How to smartly install LED light strips on your boat-About lighting

If your boat seems to be floating in a magical world, choose LED light strips! These waterproof, low-voltage, ultra-durable lighting devices are an excellent choice for indoor, outdoor, or even underwater lighting. So how do you install them smartly on your boat?

Shop for the right LED strips, connectors, controllers, and drivers you need to light up your boat. The first step in installing LED light strips is to purchase waterproof LED light strips. In this case, the IP rating is crucial, as a higher rating indicates greater water resistance. Next, you will need to go through a series of steps, such as sizing, connecting and installing, and finally powering up the light strip. During this process, the voltage of the power socket must also be carefully considered, because LED light strips are extremely sensitive to rated voltage.

However, don’t worry, because in this article I will present you with a simple and clear step-by-step process so that you can easily install LED strip lights on your boat. Additionally, I’ve included a guide to purchasing the ideal strip to ensure you make the right choice. So without further delay, let’s get started on this fascinating process!

6 easy steps to install LED strip lights on your boat

Installing LED strip lights on your boat is not a complicated matter. You can install them quickly without any professional help by following the steps below –

Step 1: Prepare tools and materials

First, gather the tools and materials you need, including LED strips, waterproof LED controllers, LED drivers, power cords, connectors, insulation tape, screwdrivers, and measuring tools.

Step 2: Measure and plan

Determine where you want to install the LED strip. Use measuring tools to ensure the length and shape of your chosen location, then develop an installation plan.

Step 3: Prepare the light strip

Based on your measurements, cut the LED strip to the desired length. Make sure to cut according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, usually at specific cut marks.

Step 4: Connect and install

Connect the LED controller and driver, then connect the power cord to the LED controller. Use the connector to connect the LED strip to the output of the controller. When installing, make sure the LED light strips are evenly attached to the selected location and use insulating tape or brackets to secure them.

Step 5: Power connection

Connect the power cord to the boat’s power source. Make sure the voltage and current meet the requirements of the LED strip and use appropriate fuses and switches to ensure safety.

Step 6: Test and debug

After completing the installation, turn on the power switch and test whether the LED strip is working properly. If everything works fine, congratulations on completing the installation. If you encounter problems, check whether the connections are correct, whether the power supply is stable, and then troubleshoot.

By following these six simple steps, you can easily install LED strip lights on your boat to add a unique lighting effect to your boat.

How to smartly install LED light strips on your boat-About lighting
LED light strips on the boat

Areas on the boat where LED light strips are installed

There are many options for installing LED light strips to light up your boat. Here are some alternative lighting areas suitable for various situations inside the boat:

interior lighting

The interior of the boat includes sleeping quarters, toilets, a galley, a wheelhouse and surrounding areas. Here are some ideas for light boat interiors –

Cabin lighting: Install LED light strips on the ceiling of the cabin, and optionally use the bay lighting effect to achieve soft indirect lighting and create a general lighting atmosphere in the cabin. Additionally, you can install strip lights under cabin furniture or counters for specific task lighting needs.

Cab: At the bow of the cab, add LED light strips along the bow outline, seats and other locations. This adds a unique lighting effect to your cab, outlining the front window.

Storage lighting: Storage compartments on boats are usually where essential supplies such as fishing rods, nets, etc. are stored. Installing LED strip lights in these areas can help you find what you need easily.

Galley Lighting: The galley area on a boat is also known as the galley and using LED strip lights installed in this area is ideal to enhance the cooking experience on board.

Stair lighting: By adding LED light strips to stairs and ladders, you can improve the lighting effect of the space inside the ship. This will provide important lighting and help you avoid accidents.

Restroom lighting: Since restroom space on a ship is limited, adding LED strips to the ceiling or around the bathroom vanity mirror is the most efficient way to utilize space.

No matter which area you choose, LED light strips can bring a unique effect to the lighting inside the boat, improving the practicality and aesthetics of the cabin.

How to smartly install LED light strips on your boat-About lighting
How to smartly install LED light strips on your boat-About lighting

Overboard lighting

There are many excellent options for outboard lighting, and you can use LED light strips to accentuate your boat’s appearance.

Deck Lighting: Underneath the railing or outlining the deck surface to enhance lighting in the deck area. This will provide your boat with important lighting, giving it an attractive appearance at night.

Hull Lighting: The hull is the watertight outer shell of the boat, protecting machinery, cargo, and passenger accommodation. Since boat hulls are often raised and more visible from the outside, you may consider adding bright, colorful LED strips to the hull to draw attention to your boat. Try color-changing RGB light strips to give your boat a playful look.

Signage Lighting: If you own a personal watercraft or yacht, you can add backlighting to your boat’s name to accentuate its unique signature style. In this case, using LED flexible neon lights works best.

These creative ways of outboard LED lighting will make your boat more eye-catching at night, adding color to your water adventures.

Underwater boat lighting

Underwater lighting can make your boat appear to be floating in a magical world. To achieve this effect, install LED strip lights at least six inches below the waterline, making sure the lights are fully immersed in the water. To achieve this goal, you should choose IP68-rated light strips so that they are not only waterproof but also safe to be submerged underwater. Blue, green, and purple LED strips are particularly popular in underwater lighting. However, you can also experiment to create unique underwater lighting effects based on your personal preferences. This will add a layer of magic and charm to your boat, allowing you to enjoy your time on the water.

Advantages of using LED strips for ship lighting

Using LED strips for marine lighting has several advantages, including:

Excellent energy efficiency: LED light strips are more energy-saving than traditional lighting methods and can convert electrical energy into light energy more efficiently, thus reducing the power consumption required for lighting. This is especially important on long voyages.

Long-lasting: LED light strips have a long life and can often continue to work for thousands of hours or even longer. This reduces the cost and hassle of replacement and maintenance.

Low heat generation: Compared with traditional lighting methods, LED light strips generate relatively low heat, which reduces the risk of fire and makes it safer to use in small cabins.

Waterproof and corrosion-resistant: Many LED light strips are waterproof and corrosion-resistant, making them suitable for marine environments. This makes it resistant to seawater, moisture and corrosion, increasing the strip’s reliability.

Colorful choices: LED light strips provide a variety of colors and tint options, allowing you to choose the right lighting color according to different atmospheres and needs.

Low Voltage Operation: LED strip lights typically operate at low voltage, thus consuming less power and reducing stress on the electrical system.

Flexibility: LED light strips are flexible, easy to install in various shapes and locations, and can meet different lighting needs.

Lights up instantly: The LED light strip lights up instantly and does not require preheating, ensuring immediately usable lighting.

Environmental protection: LED light strips do not contain harmful substances such as mercury, which reduces the negative impact on the environment. In addition, due to its excellent energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

LED light strips provide a reliable, efficient, safe, and economical solution for ship lighting, offering many practical advantages to ship owners and crews.

Best LED Light Bar Choice for Marine Lighting

In marine lighting, you may need different types of LED strips, with your choice depending on your lighting needs and location. Here are three common types of LED light strips:

Long LED light strips: Long LED light strips are suitable for areas that need to provide general lighting, such as cabin interiors, walkways, cabs, etc. They are usually high-brightness, provide uniform illumination, and are designed for overall illumination of ship interiors. When choosing a long LED light strip, pay attention to its brightness, color temperature, and waterproof rating to ensure it is suitable for the marine environment.

Cuttable LED light strips: Cuttable LED light strips are very flexible and suitable for a variety of lighting needs of different lengths and shapes. You can cut the LED strips to your specific location and design to ensure a perfect fit. This is useful for lighting scenes that require accents and special designs, such as outlining the exterior of a ship or decorative lighting inside a cabin.

Recessed LED Light Strips: Recessed LED light strips are suitable for scenarios where lighting needs to be hidden beneath the surface, such as boat hull lighting or signage lighting. They blend seamlessly into the ship’s structure, providing a soft yet dramatic effect. When choosing recessed LED light strips, make sure they are waterproof enough to withstand seawater and humidity.

When purchasing an LED light strip, it is important to ensure that it meets your boat lighting needs, including appropriate brightness, color temperature, waterproofing, and reliability. Also, it is best to choose products from well-known manufacturers to ensure reliable quality and performance.

Things to Consider Before Buying Marine LED Light Strips

Before purchasing marine LED light strips, you need to consider the following factors, as marine lighting has its own special requirements:

Protection Rating (IP Rating): Since ships are often exposed to harsh weather conditions, it is crucial to select LED light strips with the appropriate IP rating. The IP rating indicates the degree of protection against solids and liquids. Different cabin areas may require different IP ratings, such as cabin, deck, hull, and underwater lighting. Make sure the LED strips you choose have the appropriate level of protection to handle seawater and extreme weather conditions.

Lighting Area Of BoatRecommended IP Rating Protection Level 
Boat Cabin LightingIP64 or IP65As this part of the boat doesn’t come in contact with direct water, a lower IP rating will be enough. It will provide complete dust and light splash water protection.  
Deck LightingIP66Full protection against dust and powerful water jets. 
Hull & Navigation LightingIP67Complete dust protection and full immersion up to 1 meter. 
Underwater LightingIP68Supports submersion 

Length of the light strip: Generally speaking, LED light strips are usually supplied in 5-meter rolls. You can cut these light strips to the required size to suit different lighting scenarios. If you need longer strips, you can also use LED strip connectors to connect them together. However, connecting multiple light strips may cause voltage drops. To avoid this, additional cabling may be required. Therefore, for lighting projects that require long-distance coverage, choosing long LED light strips is a good choice. They can cover distances of up to 50 meters without excessive connections and cables.

Final summary

LED light strips are indeed a very attractive option for ship lighting. They are easy to install and can be maintained without professional help. In addition, LED light strips are available in a variety of colors and have different IP ratings, making them ideal for use in cabins, decks, galleys, navigation, or underwater lighting.

However, to ensure you get high-quality LED light strips, Kosoom is your most trustworthy LED light strip manufacturing company. We offer lab-tested LED strips in a variety of colors, IP ratings, and other customizable options. Additionally, if you need signage lighting for your vessel, we also offer other types of LED spotlight. So, contact Kosoom today to find the best solution for your marine lighting needs!


About Mark

My name is Mark, an LED lighting industry expert with 7 years of experience, currently working for kosoom. Over the course of this long career, I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of clients to provide innovative lighting solutions. I have always been passionate about bringing high-quality LED lighting technology to the world to promote the widespread application of sustainable energy.

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