The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Good LED Steaming/Deck Light

We fitted a MarineBeam LED Steaming/Deck Light on the mast on our J/109 a year ago, and so far I’m impressed.

Small, light, relatively inexpensive, and amazingly bright, with incredibly low current draw.

Of course we don’t know how reliable it will be over time, but so far so good.

By the way, I have never used deck lights at sea. Too dazzling and disorienting, and, worst of all, our own bodies throw shadows just where we want to see. Much prefer, and recommend, head lamps.

The primary reason we have a deck light is to reduce the risk of someone running into us because they did not look up and see our masthead anchor light. Yes, it happens.

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Arne Mogstad

I never found the deck light useable at sea either, and good to have it confirmed that it’s not very useful for that purpose, and not just me doing something wrong. I just replaced the same light this spring (a different brand unit, but essentially the same) with the intention of using it as an additional anchor light. It just started getting a little dark up here this far north, so I’m starting using it now, and I like the added visibility!

Brian Russell

I don’t generally use the front-of-the-mast deck light at sea but frequently turn on the 2 spreader down lights. Great for checking the set of the sails, great for when I’m at the mast reefing and also they light up the sails so we are very visible to fishing boats who may not be paying the closest attention. I have never found them to degrade my vision, just don’t look up directly into the lens!

MarineBeam (and chief Jeff) are very responsive and innovative. Check out their handheld rechargeable LED spotlight-it is amazingly bright and handy without being bulky. We’ve also been very satisied with their MarineKinetix wind gen.

Brian Russell

I find the multiple lens sources of a 150mm long LED downlight to be far less dazzling than a traditional single point halogen bulb. It’s why LED photo lamps work so well compared to old photo bulbs: a larger light source for a given lumen value is softer and less contrasty. I’m a glasses wearer, so will always be wearing a cap or hood when the spray is flying to try to keep my spectacles from getting wet, so a headlamp really doesn’t work for me. As you say, it’s about personal preferences based on experience-it’s always useful to hear how others manage their particular situations. Keep up the good work!

Chris Daly

I have a powerful LED flood light, mounted just below the steaming light. It illuminates the entire foredeck and headsails. It makes sail management at night as safe as daytime so I am a great proponent of the deck light. It also allows me to make the boat highly visible to other boats/shipping in addition to AIS and radar. I don’t need to look up into the light so I don’t have a problem with glare. On a pitch black night there is often nothing to see so a temporary loss of night vision has not been a problem for me.

Pepijn Toornstra

I envy you all living across the pond. I have been upgrading and refitting our boat while living aboard these past 6 months and the costs has been eye watering. While replacing the rigging when the mast was done I took the opportunity to replace everything from windsensor to radar to mast cabling. While I have a led tricolor in the mast head I choose normal steaming/deck light, considering limited use or while motoring. The LED deck/steaming lights available in Europe were double the price you got!

I don’t know about you, but inflation seems to have had double the impact on sailors in Europe….