Boat cabin lights are an even greater challenge. It is a simple fact that cabins with low reflective surfaces are going to require a greater number or more powerful output lights to illuminate that area. Painted surfaces, which are generally white and cream painted surfaces, have a high reflectivity, typically around 80%. This can have quite considerable cost ramifications.
The major reductions are that fewer cabin lighting fixtures are required, less cable and installation costs, lower power consumption for the required illumination levels. Timber surfaces, such as some of the most beautiful teak fit-outs require considerable numbers of lighting fittings, as the reflectivity of the teak is typically only around 20%.
Before you opt for the hurricane lantern solution consider the following first and ask some questions. What are the considerations when choosing light fittings? Well cost is an obvious consideration, but the following should be the primary decision factors:
1. What purpose is the boat cabin lights fixture going to serve in the proposed location?
2. How big an area is required to be illuminated?
3. What is the level of illumination required?
4. How reflective is the area in which the fixture will be installed?
5. How long will the light fitting be on for in the chosen area?
6. What light fixture style is required for surrounding décor?
Treat your lighting system with same care as all other boat equipment and safety related systems on board. Look carefully at your lighting systems, assess whether they do the job and select the right fitting for each job. Ensure that they are properly installed, by ensuring that the correct sized cables are run so that voltage drop problems are eliminated, so you get the maximum available output for the least possible power.
This factor is critical as that all important calculation on power consumption can be made. The saloon fixtures may stay on for extended periods, with consequentially higher current consumption, whereas the toilet fixtures may not stay on long but be subject to a far greater switching on and off cycle. Bunk illumination is generally fairly low use, as are machinery spaces, and the chart table. Long term operation fittings require lower energy solutions to save power. So the equation will comprise an analysis of ratings and times. It is a simple exercise but worthwhile. More great information at fishing and boats.