Dock Underwater Lighting Options You Should Consider

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Underwater lighting is a type of lighting that has been specially developed for underwater facilities and equipment.

An underwater lamp is dust-free and waterproof. There are a few important things to consider when choosing this type of lighting.

Let the following tips serve as your guide and checklist.

Know what kind of lamps to choose

There are many different types of lighting that you can install to dock your boat. Electric energy lights have been the norm. Choose from accent lighting, fish lighting, floodlights, hanging lights, path lighting, underwater lighting, and yard pole lights.

The standard lights for underwater lighting are 300 W and operate at 12 Volts. This is mandatory due to safety.

This means that you always need a safety transformer to convert the 230 voltage into a 12 voltage that you need for your pool lighting.

Most lamps are made in such a way that they can illuminate a width of 3 meters. The number of lamps that are ideal for your bath is calculated by dividing the length of the pool by 3. Swimming pool lighting should always be connected to the residual current device.

You can also consider placing halogen lighting in your bath. With a halogen lamp, however, you do not light up a 3-meter bath width; halogen lighting gives directional light (light beam straight ahead).

That is why halogen lighting is usually placed in small baths or in stair steps, for example, to accentuate the stairs.

Underwater lighting is available in three different types of material:

  • Plastic
  • Stainless steel
  • Bronze

Depending on the appearance and the application of your bath, you are the one to make your choice of materials. This way every type of material has its advantages and disadvantages. The most used, and also the cheapest; is the plastic underwater lighting.

Furthermore, when selecting underwater lighting, you must make a distinction between underwater lighting suitable for concrete baths and underwater lighting suitable for foil baths.

This has to do with the way it is installed. After all, you do not need a film flange for concrete baths, and you do have to use foil baths.

The latest development in pool lighting is LED lighting. Especially the various possible colors in combination with the low energy costs ensure that the LED lighting is very popular.

We therefore always advise you to opt for LED lighting. Even with existing baths, the traditional lamp can be replaced without a problem with a LED lamp.

Consider based on the purpose of your dock

Is your dock located on private property and exclusive, or is it used by and accessible to the general public?

As the owner of a small, private and exclusive dock, you choose lamps that not only serve their practical purpose but also double as an embellishing, decorative element in your dock.

This is especially useful when you are the kind that organizes parties and meetings, and often welcomes visitors. Large, government, and public docks need to stick to their original purpose to serve as guides for boats to prevent accidents. Therefore, more practical and long-lasting lighting is the priority.

Consider alternative forms of lighting

Solar energy, overhead lights, and fiberglass are other options you can choose. Upper spotlights operate using either halogen or LED technology (light-emitting diodes).

Glass fiber uses a side-emitting optical cable that can provide enough light along the entire cable line.

Solar energy lighting is a practical and sensible choice because it is economical, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly all at the same time. They are very suitable for outdoor lighting use.

As long as the sun is still, the solar cells soak in the energy. During sunset, the lights turn on automatically. They will also turn off automatically during sunrise.

You do not need to think to install the switch on and off, and there is no need to install a wired connection, which makes it easier for you to install. But make sure to position the solar cells in a place where the sunlight can get.

Choose the style you want

You can choose lights that can complete that look or atmosphere you want to create or something that can equal or replenish the surroundings of your dock.

For example, if you are looking for that vintage vibe, consider bronze lights or something with an antique-looking hood. For a more romantic atmosphere, soft lighting will definitely do the trick.

Choose water, salt, and weather-resistant housing. Your dock lighting is always exposed to the elements of water, salt, minerals, dust, wind, plus weather, and extreme temperatures.

Therefore, it is equally important to choose one with durable housing that can stand the wear for a long time. Housing made of durable plastic is reliable because it can repel water and minerals. Some metals manufactured are sensitive to corrosion.

Think of your budget

Surprisingly, solar lighting is gradually catching up with the best choice of outdoor lighting. They may have been expensive, but gradually, their prices are also becoming affordable to most people.

Electric and battery-powered lighting can cost a little more, but they are also reliable and can last for a long time.

Underwater lighting and lamps that are for embellishment and decoration are certainly on the expensive side. The prices also differ depending on the materials they are made of.

Of course, the more expensive and robust materials are, the higher the costs. In the long run, it is more practical to invest in lighting that can give you value for money.

Types of underwater lighting

Halogen versus LED illumination

As with other types of lighting, different light sources are used for underwater lighting.

Traditionally, underwater lamps have been equipped with halogen light sources. For some years now, LED underwater lighting in particular has been on the rise.

The advantage of LED is that this light source has a much longer service life than halogen. By way of comparison, a halogen underwater lamp can burn for up to 1,500 hours, while a LED underwater lamp can burn for up to 70,000 hours.

Energy consumption

The switch from halogen to LED has a significant influence on the energy consumption of the underwater luminaire. There are LED underwater lamps on the market with a power consumption of 50 watts (W) whose light output is considerably higher than a 400 W halogen underwater lamp.

Design fixture

Many manufacturers have built on the existing design of the halogen underwater lamp when switching to LED, where it must be possible to open the luminaire in order to replace the light source.

Halogen lighting requires this approximately twice a year (depending on the intensity of use).

Because the lifespan of LEDs is theoretically 20 to 50 times longer than with halogens, some manufacturers have responded with a new design in which the light source is cast watertight and airtight with special cast resin.

This new generation of LED underwater lamps has fewer problems with waterproofing.

Light output

The unit in which luminous flux is measured in Lumen. In order to achieve a good comparison between different underwater lamps, one looks at the luminous flux in the Lumen of an underwater luminaire.

Candela versus Lumen

As with other types of lighting, the advent of LED has raised many questions about the light output of lamps. Much of the confusion about light intensity arose because of the confusion between Candelas (cd) and Lumen.

Manufacturers are also not always clear when it comes to providing information about the light output of an underwater lamp.

The most powerful high-power LED suitable for underwater use can produce up to 140 lumens per watt.

A quick calculation indicates that a 25 W LED underwater lamp has a maximum luminous flux of 3,500 lumens in the most optimal conditions (depending on the power supply and cooling).

LED type

The type of LED used in an underwater luminaire also influences the light output. Three types can be distinguished in this:

  • Low power LED in Watts (0.5W – 1W per LED)
  • Power LED with a higher power rating (3W per LED)
  • High Power Chip LED (15-50W per LED)

An underwater light fixture in which low-power LEDs have been used can be recognized by a large number of LEDs, sometimes as many as 50 to 100 per light fixture.

The low power does not allow for high light yields. Light fixtures Power LED and especially High-Power Chip LED allows high-light outputs, as compared to 200 W halogen underwater lamps and higher.

For light fixtures with this type of LED, cooling of the LED is required due to the heat development that does not occur with a low-power LED.


Also in terms of technology, there are some differences between various underwater light fixtures:

Heat and cooling

Underwater lamps with a high light output have a certain heat generation. Sufficient cooling of the light source is essential for the life of this light source. A light source that gets too hot will have a considerably shorter lifespan than a light source that is well cooled.

An underwater light that is cooled by water should therefore not be used above water, the light source will break if overheated.

There are manufacturers who have equipped their lights with overheating protection such as the TCS (Temperature Control System) from EVA Optic.

As a result, the lamp automatically switches to thermal protection when the LED has reached a certain temperature. As soon as the LED has cooled down, the lamp will automatically switch on again.


The quality of an underwater lamp depends on many parts, an important part of which is the electronics used. A good underwater light uses a constant current driver for controlling the light source.

This influences the performance of the lamp, the life of the light source, energy consumption, and the reactive current of the lamp.

There are also underwater lamps where the driver and power supply can be placed separately from the lamp in a room where moisture and heat have no influence. Some LED underwater lights are also dimmable.


Underwater lighting is available in (high-grade) plastic and stainless steel. With underwater lamps made of high-quality plastic, the risk of electrolysis is lower than with stainless steel (RVS).

Electrolysis causes a voltage between the pool wall and the stainless steel of the lamp. This voltage causes corrosion on the stainless steel.

Light color

Light consists of a spectrum of colors in different wavelengths, expressed in nanometers (nm). The wavelengths visible to the human eye are approximately between 380 and 800 NM (from low to high: blue-green-yellow-orange-red).

Water absorbs light in a completely different way than air. This is because the density of water is about 800 times greater than that of air.

This high density ensures that light is absorbed much faster. This absorption of light occurs earlier in one color than in other colors.

The light color with the highest wavelength in nm is red. It is almost completely absorbed underwater. This absorption occurs to an increasingly lesser extent in terms of wavelength in nm. That is why blue light underwater has the highest light transmission.

Colored and underwater lighting

Underwater lighting is available in various colors of white, mostly bright or daylight white and warm white.

In addition, there are underwater lights with a single color and color-changing RGB or RGBW lamps. RGBW lamps combine white with RGB-colored light. The light color and light intensity of these lamps can be controlled by DMX controllers.


Due to the many different possibilities of underwater lighting, assistance in choosing through an underwater lighting test is important. Without this support, it will be much harder to find exactly the right underwater lighting for your own requirements.

After all, every model of underwater lighting offers both advantages and disadvantages, and it’s not easy to find the perfect underwater lighting.

In addition to the price of underwater lighting, the functions and the size of underwater lighting are important when selecting.

Reviews from customers are a better criterion for choosing underwater lighting than just promoting the product. After all, buying underwater lighting does not have to be that difficult.

By comparing the different prices, a cheap offer for underwater lighting can be used. In this way, it is also easier to find a suitable model of underwater lighting, which in the end provides satisfaction in terms of  functionally

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