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Best Uses for Marine LED Utility Lights on Your Boat

Learn everything you need to know about marine LED utility lights and the best places to install them on your boat.

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The editors at Cruising World have teamed up with the experts at Imtra to bring you advice on how to keep your boat in Bristol condition and get the most from your hours spent out on the water. For more great tips, see Smoother Sailing with Imtra »

LED lighting inside an engine compartment on a sportfishing boat
LED Utility Lights Imtra

When it comes to lighting the interior of your boat there are seemingly endless options with standard round downlights, courtesy lights, decorative wall lamps, flexible rope and tape lighting and utility lights. When most owners consider the lighting in the interior of their boat, they focus, understandably, on the living space, and don’t give much thought to the lighting in engine compartments, wet lockers and work spaces.

While getting the lighting just right in the living spaces is important for the aesthetic of your boat, utility lighting in the less lived-in areas of your boat is just as imperative. Marine LED utility lights are built to be bright and durable, to give the right amount of light whenever you need it.

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Color Temperature

Marine LED utility lights are typically made with a cool white light, as opposed to the warm or neutral whites you might find on a standard interior downlight. Cool white light is “crisper” and often perceived as brighter, like the lighting you might find in an operating room at a hospital or at a construction site, whereas warm white light is “softer” and what is typically found in living spaces either at home or on a boat. If you’re working on your engine or tinkering with the wiring for your bow thruster, a cool white light is going to give you a clearer picture of what you’re doing than a warm white light would.

kelvin scale
Kelvin Scale for LED utility lights. Imtra

Durability

Marine LED utility lights are typically manufactured with durability in mind, built to withstand harsh conditions. They have high Ingress Protection (IP) ratings, meaning that they are protected against water, dirt, dust and grease. The most common IP ratings for LED utility lights are IP66 or IP67. Both ratings indicate the light is “dust tight,” meaning no particles can get inside, while IP66 is protected against heavy water spray from waves or a hose, while IP67 means the light can be fully immersed in water for up to 30 minutes. For reference, IP68 is the standard rating for an underwater light that is constantly submerged in water, so using a utility light that is rated IP67 above the waterline is more than adequate for any wet location.

Most Common Uses for Marine LED Utility Lights

Engine Rooms and Compartments

Whether you work on your own engine, or have a technician do it for you, you can never have enough light in the engine room or compartment to be able to see what you’re working on. Given that marine LED utility lights are built with brightness and durability in mind, they can withstand the vibrations of being near the motor and can shed light in every nook and cranny of the engine. If it’s a larger engine room like you’d find on a ship or large motor yacht, you can use a linear, high-output 2’ or 4’ utility light to get the most light output possible. If your engine is in a smaller compartment, the low-profile, surface-mounted and high-output LED utility lights from Frensch lighting like the F-28 or F-70 are good options

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Wet Lockers

Whether you need some light in a locker where you hang your wet fishing or foul-weather gear, or in an anchor locker where water sprays off the anchor rode, a utility light with an IP67 rating will get the job done. That would make the aforementioned F-70 and F-28 or the SWIM-350 utility light a great choice for an installation where the light is likely to get wet.  

Galley or Work Bench

If you need lighting over your galley sink or counter space where a light might get some spray LED utility lights work well. Similarly, if there’s a work bench on your boat where sawdust, carbon dust or metal shavings might be flying around, a dust-proof utility light like the F-40 from Frensch are perfect for the job so you don’t have to worry about the light failing while working on any sort of project.

If you have any questions regarding marine LED utility lights, please feel free to contact us, or check out our full selection of utility lighting.

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