The selection of boat cabin lights is often a 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 when buying boat cabin lights.
The major reductions are that fewer cabin lights 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 and ask some questions about boat cabin lights. I know people who literally have a hurricane lantern as a back up, some have rechargeable LED lanterns. Given the enormous strides in LED boat cabin lights then it is the only economic solution.
What are the considerations when choosing your boat cabin lights fittings? Well cost is an obvious consideration, but the following should be the primary decision factors:
1. What purpose are the boat cabin lights going to serve in the proposed location? Is it for general illumination or something targeted such as over a galley sink or a simple bunk light.
2. How big an area is required to be illuminated? The main cabin or the WC and shower area.
3. What is the level of illumination required? Really bright or maybe something in between.
4. How reflective is the area in which the boat cabin lights fixture will be installed? Teak and timber does not reflect well.
5. How long will the boat cabin lights be on for in the chosen area? Think about battery power consumption here.
6. What light fixture style is required for surrounding décor? Modern, traditional or something else.
Treat your boat lighting system with same care and attention as all other boat equipment and safety related systems on board. Look carefully at your boat lighting systems. Assess whether they do the job and select the right boat light fittings for each proposed application. 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 boat cabin lights fixtures may stay on for extended periods. This consequentially has higher current consumption. The toilet boat cabin lights 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 boat cabin lights 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 about boat cabin lights and boat lighting.