Who doesn’t love decking out their pontoon with the latest and greatest in boat-ownership trends? Well, if you’re one of the many pontoon enthusiasts who just can’t seem to get enough of upgrading your vessel. Then you might have already caught wind of pontoon LED lights. Sleek and sophisticated, those beautiful outside rub rail lighting can give your boat some added flair. It may even help set the mood for a boat party.
Now, before you pull out your wallet and cash in on your next pontoon upgrade it helps to know that LED lights come with specifics. In some cases, they might not even be entirely legal. So as a responsible boat owner, knowing the intricacies of LED lights for pontoons will be part of your due diligence.
Are Pontoon LED Lights Legal?
That depends. The first thing you need to consider is where you’re located. Regulations tend to change between state borders. Therefore you need to make sure you’re operating your LED light-equipped pontoon in a place where it’s legal to even have lights in the first place.
But what’s the big fuss? Why is there a legality issue?
They’re just lights, after all. Well, it all boils down to the fact that state law enforcement agencies may use boats and vessels that use similar lighting. By using LED lights that resemble those used on law enforcement watercraft, then you could cause some major confusion on the water. So to make it easier for these agencies to do their job, they’d prefer that no one else on the water use the lights that identify them as law enforcement.
However there are exceptions. In some states, civilians can use blue lights when anchored. For the most part however, blue lights remain widely prohibited across various states if your vessel is underway. Then again, red, green, and white lights can be used for both navigation and visibility as long as you follow specific standards. Make sure you read up on your local laws to find out where you stand.
What are LED Lights on Pontoon Boats For?
The ultimate reason for equipping your pontoon with LED lights would be for visibility, of course. You’d be surprised how many accidents happen out on the water because boats can’t see other boats on the pitch black water. Fitting your pontoon with LED lights won’t only make it easier for you to see your immediate surroundings. But it should also make it possible for other vessels to see you on the water.
Presently, there are some general guidelines that tell boat owners the kind of lights they’re allowed to have on their boat for improved visibility. Of course, the regulations change depending on a variety of factors. However if you have a boat that’s under 39 feet, then you can expect some of the following guidelines to apply.
Must be white and placed over the fore and aft centerline of the boat
Must be white and placed at the stern as practicable as possible
Must be green on the starboard side and red on the port side. This should help other vessels determine what direction your pontoon is going if they’re viewing you from the side.
Different Types of LED Lights
On a pontoon, you’re going to have lights for three different reasons.
Navigation LED lights like pontoon boat docking lights will help you see where you’re going, and will light the way so you don’t collide with anything on the water.
With some lighting on your vessel to indicate its length and size, then other boats around you should have an easier time steering clear of your pontoon.
These lights let you see beneath the water surface - perfect for nights of fishing.
Navigation lights will typically come in a bulb or lamp type design specifically intended for mounting on your boat. Visibility lighting on the other hand can either be a lamp or a LED strip. These are installed over a length of your boat, typically under a ledge, and cast light that illuminates the borders of your pontoon to give other vessels an idea of its size and direction of travel. Multi color LED pontoon lights can be used as long as you set them to the right colors when you’re underway.
The Best LED Lights for Pontoons
Fitted with 132 LEDs. The 13-inch Red and Green LED Marine Navigation Lights emit substantial brightness that can showcase your presence on the water to every other vessel in the area. The waterproof design is IP68 rated. Meaning they’re impervious to water damage even against full immersion.
Each strip is completely silicone sealed, so you can rely that they won’t burn out or short when exposed to rough waves. That also means they can be installed as underwater lights that sit beneath the waterline to double as fishing lights for those nights on the lake.
In most cases, blue lights can be used as long as you’re docked. The XKTTSUEERCRR Waterproof Blue LED Lights can be a great choice. The 16.4 foot strips can be cut and linked together, depending on how much length you need. This gives substantial flexibility, letting you cover a significant area of your boat without having to connect too many ends to your main power source.
Waterproof and easy to install, these light strips can be stuck securely to your boat without damaging its paint job. And if that doesn’t have you convinced just yet, these long-wearing lights are super bright and work for up to 50,000 hours of operation.
The Zezhou Boat Navigation Light Kits come at the cost of spare change. However they tout excellent, bright performance that can increase visibility and improve navigation on a dark lake. The flexible strips are securely sealed in silicone, allowing excellent waterproofing that keeps them bright and fully functional even with constant exposure to moisture.
Despite being some of the brightest LED strips for pontoons, these lights have an incredibly low power rating. It can keep on going for up to 50,000 hours of operation. Considering that they are incredibly cheap, it’s easy to see how these lights made it to our list.
Light It Up
Pontoon LED lights are all the rage. But you need to make sure you’re complying with state guidelines before you make your purchase. For the most part however, having lights on your boat is a must, not simply for the added flair, but for your safety and that of the other vessels around you. Make sure you take these lighting ideas and guidelines with you before you light your pontoon up so you can have a bright boat minus the run in with the authorities.