Ask SAIL: Are LED Lights Safe?

Friends have suggested that I change over to LED lights down below. I was told that the LED lights are brighter and require less electricity. However, when I went to purchase LED lights a sales associate told me...
Author:
Updated:
Original:

LED bulbs require much less power, making them a worthwhile investment in many applications

LED bulbs require much less power, making them a worthwhile investment in many applications

ANDREW MARVIN, BOOTHBAY HARBOR, MAINE

Q: Friends have suggested that I change over to LED lights down below. I was told that the LED lights are brighter and require less electricity. However, when I went to purchase LED lights a sales associate told me that they could damage the fixture they were installed in. Is this true? Could this happen?

Nigel Calder Replies

A: What normally damages lighting fixtures is heat, of which LEDs produce very little, so the fixture should be fine.

However, if what little heat the LEDs do produce is not adequately dissipated, the new LED bulbs themselves can be damaged, depending on the sophistication of the control circuit.

The key things with LEDs, especially for area lighting, are a “warm” color temperature (as opposed to a “cold” color, like that provided by cheap fluorescent lights); a wide enough beam angle to cover all of the area to be lit (or enough LEDs to do this); and buying from a reputable supplier to ensure the quality of the product. It’s important to be aware that LEDs are incredibly sophisticated. If not properly built, they will not provide good service.

However, given quality lights appropriate for the task, you will see a radical reduction in energy consumption. On any kind of an energy-conscious boat, LEDs are a worthwhile investment.

NigelCalder

Nigel Calder is an author and expert on boat systems and diesel engines

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Related

Waypoint.image.cd

Say No To Waypoints

Ever since they first appeared in my navigational toolbox decades ago I have been wary of waypoints. They certainly do seem helpful, these electronic flags we plant in the ether to guide us to where we want to go. But I noticed early on they also tend to distort our perception. ...read more

Lead-shutterstock_429247

A Cruise up Florida’s St. Johns River

The chart showed 45ft of vertical clearance, and I knew the boat should be able to pass under the bridge. Still, there was that nagging voice in my head that wouldn’t let me be. “What if your air draft calculations were wrong?” it said. “And if you’re just a little too high the ...read more

pic00

Installing a Helm Pod

Our 1987 Pearson project boat came with an elderly but functioning Raymarine chartplotter, located belowdecks at the nav station. Since I usually sail solo or doublehanded, it was of little use down there—it needed to be near the helm. When I decided to update the plotter along ...read more

Panamerican

Pan American Game Success

Team USA’s young sailors went to the quadrennial Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru this summer with high hopes, and returned with a good haul of medals—two Golds, three Silvers, and two Bronze. Gold medals went to Ernesto Rodriguez and Hallie Schiffman (Mixed Snipe) and Riley ...read more

190916-AC75

U.S. Team Launches First America’s Cup Boat

Fast forward to around 2:25 to see the boat in action. First day out and already doing full-foiling gybes: not too shabby! Hard on the heels of the unveiling of New Zealand’s first AC75, the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team has now launched its first America’s Cup ...read more

GGTobCaysHorseshoeColors

Picking a Charter Destination

Picking a destination should reflect the interests of your group, says People often ask about my favorite charter destination, and invariably, I sidestep the question with one of my own: “Well, what do you want to do on your vacation?” Most often I hear an incredulous, “Why, ...read more

sinking

Waterlines: Chasing Leaks on Boats

Chasing leaks on boats is a time-honored obsession. Rule number one in all galaxies of the nautical universe through all of nautical history has always been the same: keep the water on the outside. When water somehow finds its way inside and you don’t know where it’s coming ...read more

BestBoatNominees2020-Promo

Best Boats Nominees 2020

Bring on the monohulls! In a world increasingly given over to multihull sailing, SAIL magazine’s “Best Boats” class of 2020 brings with it a strong new group of keelboats, including everything from luxury cruisers nipping at the heels of their mega-yacht brethren to a number of ...read more