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Thread: lights on a riverboat?

  1. #1
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    Default lights on a riverboat?

    I'm interested in putting some sort of lights on my Sea Ark for evening river running late in silver season and hunting season. I was thinking I would buy a set of offroad or driving lights and mount them up on the bow. Will this give enough light to safely navigate up/down rivers? I'm not looking to run anything super skinny in the dark, but it would be nice to be able to keep fishing a little later and run back down 20 mile in the dark on my afterwork runs. Does mounting them on the bow get them up high enough or should I try to get them as high as possible? Anything I should know about the wiring that would be different from mounting on a truck?

    Other suggestions? Maybe just mount a cigarette adapter and use one of the hand held plug in spotlights?

    Thanks!
    Chris

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    Member Stanly's Avatar
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    I've made some pretty significant modifications to my 22' SeaArk. I added a Go Light to the bow. I added quite a bit of electrical items, wired in a bilge, dual battery switch, 2 12V plugs, stereo, garmin, fuse block etc...shoot me an email address and I'll send you some pics of the Go Light.
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  3. #3

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    Two HID lights or Lightforce lights (they have adjustable beams) will do well. I'd recommend mounting them on the sides of your console/console(s) or install them on an overhead light bar. Installation on the bow of your boat should be a last resort as your boat isn't always level when in use and you won't always have the best light pattern where you want it. Also, if your lights are on the bow, you'll get hung up more if you are on a river with allot of overhanging tree's, etc. A second battery is always a good addition - and worth the weight and security IMO.
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

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    I have two 120w spot light on the bow of my boat and I can add two hand held 1,000, 000 candle power handheld light and I need more power. The reason is when the light hit the water it is adsorbed and does not reflect back. The only time I use the lights I was going extremely slow because I could not see.

    A 120w 12v lamps draws 10 amps, 2 lamps = 20 amps. You will need a relay and at least 6 ga. wire depending on how long the run is. Not knowing how your boat is wired I would go to the battery switch.

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    Default 4inch hid lights

    lights.jpg4 inch hid lights mounted on the light bar above consol

  6. #6

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    I would go with the Off Road HID lights available at Shucks or online. I have 4 of them on my dune buggy and they are great. The problem with lights on a riverboat is that the light from your headlights/spotlights are reflected away from you. That's why it always looks so dark when on the water. I've thought of doing the very same thing you are doing but haven't done it yet. I would mount, just for night running, the tallest ladder you can safely run and mount lights on it. Try to get the lights to point down as much as you can. Imagine having a helecopter flying just in front of you with their lights pointed down. I'd try to mimic that as much as I can with the most light I can get and getting them up high enough to point them down as much as possible to reflect some of that light back into my eyes instead of just reflecting it away from me.

  7. #7

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    I would go with the Off Road HID lights available at Shucks or online. I have 4 of them on my dune buggy and they are great. The problem with lights on a riverboat is that the light from your headlights/spotlights are reflected away from you. That's why it always looks so dark when on the water. I've thought of doing the very same thing you are doing but haven't done it yet. I would mount, just for night running, the tallest ladder you can safely run and mount lights on it. Try to get the lights to point down as much as you can. Imagine having a helecopter flying just in front of you with their lights pointed down. I'd try to mimic that as much as I can with the most light I can get and getting them up high enough to point them down as much as possible to reflect some of that light back into my eyes instead of just reflecting it away from me

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    Thanks guys that is really helpful! I think I'm going to go with a removable light bar attached to my console similar to how alaskachallenge did his. I like how you have two forward fixed lights and one rotating light to see around you (at least that is what it looks like). Thanks for the advice on putting them up as high as possible, I hadn't thought about the light being reflected away from you. It'll probably have to wait until next spring now, but I'll be ready to go next fall!

    Chris

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    Use care with mounting at or slightly above the console. You'll find that the light will bounce off everything in the boat and actually blind you more than not having extra light at all. Hence the reason manufacturer's who put white "dock" lights on boats install them on the outside of the hull under the gunwales on either side of the bow. You're not trying to get the light to reflect back from the water. You want to illuminate anything that isn't water. Low, forward mounted wide beam (fog pattern) lights do this very well.

    You can mount lights high on a larger boat by putting the lights way up over your head on a mast above the cabin. This works very well on ocean boats. Putting the light anywhere near the driver just introduces a ton of glare as the light bounces straight back at the light source... which happens to be where you are standing.

    I'd suggest grabbing a cheap handheld spot light and using that to test various light locations while you are actually out on the water. Have a buddy hold it at the various spots you're able to mount lights and see how it works. You can then compare different spots for the glare they will produce and decide where to put a permanent mount.
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    Default yes

    Gotta be careful where you mount the lights so the glare doesn't blind you to where you cannot see. I have a "half" cabin on my boat and will mount some sort of light on the sides next year. Insides of the boat reflect light back at you and block out the river hence blinding you.
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    What MARV1 said. Use a red filter over the light so you don't blind yourself. Big thing for me is in fog, I am worried a barge will run over me. I am careful where I run in a fog, I stay off the main channels for just that reason.
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    One area that has not been mention is battery power, outboards are known for not putting out a lot of current. 120w lamp draws 10 amps each; two 120w spot light could kill your battery on a long run. Make sure you have two batteries, one for backup.

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    I have two LightForce lights with different color lenses mounted on the cabin with a toggle switch by the steering station. The blue lenses help in fog, but the clear lenses make it daytime, anytime. I also have deck lights above the outboard and the deck. I always find myself checking connections and wires to make sure I don't have a short. Two batteries is a great idea, and definately have a battery switch. My cabin lights have either bright white or red filter so I don't ruin night vision. I made sure the Light Force lights were mounted far enough apart that I have no trouble carrying a canoe or sport boat and other gear on the cabin roof. I have seen lights mounted on the bow get broken off or filled with dirt and mud when hitting a steep bank.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccs View Post
    Thanks guys that is really helpful! I think I'm going to go with a removable light bar attached to my console similar to how alaskachallenge did his. I like how you have two forward fixed lights and one rotating light to see around you (at least that is what it looks like). Thanks for the advice on putting them up as high as possible, I hadn't thought about the light being reflected away from you. It'll probably have to wait until next spring now, but I'll be ready to go next fall!

    Chris
    they work great,,i bought a atv spot light with mount from sportsmen warehouse,going to add another to the other side wasnt sure if it would get in my way,no problems there so ill add 1 to the other side,just a wing nut to take the light off the mount and store it till needed,,,

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    On our old boat (SportJon) we had the off-road lights up on the console like a few have described above. The only drawback, and it was a biggy was that the lights iluminated the entire bow of the boat and turned out to be too distracting. Really the only thing I thought they were good for was docking/pulling into shore in low light.

    On our new Wooldridge, we went with the recessed lights in the bow and boy what a difference. This year on our moose hunt I was excited to finally use them as we had caught a moose out on a sandbar just before dark about 3 miles from camp. I was pleasantly surprised at their effectiveness. On the way back to camp in the dark, they didn't catch the water itself of course, but did show those pesky deadheads poking up and also did a nice job of lighting up the opposite bank. It was money well spent, if there is a way to retrofit your current boat, I would recommend going that route.
    9_695_1_1280262762_full.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellamar View Post
    ....On our new Wooldridge, we went with the recessed lights in the bow and boy what a difference. 9_695_1_1280262762_full.jpg
    Where did you get recessed lights? How hard was it to install them? Do they work when you are off step or are they just pointed up?

    Sorry to ask so many questions but they look like a real nice setup and I'd like to do something like that with my sportjon.

    Thanks

  17. #17
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    As long as you have access to the back of the hull surface you're putting the lights on, they are very easy to install. The lights usually come with a cutout template for marking the hull. Use a hole saw to cut an access hole, or if you have the right size, cut the rounded ends on oval lights, and then finish up the hole with a short blade on a sawzall. Just make absolutely sure that your chosen location has nothing behind it. If you can access the back and actually drill guide holes from the back, this will ensure you're in the right spot while working on the outside.

    Check the marine supply catalogs. There are not a lot of choices for thru-hull flood lights, but several of the big name suppliers usually have a couple styles available.
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    The lights came as an option from the Wooldridge factory. They illuminate the opposite bank right at the waterline. The boat rides a bit more level than my SportJon did, so there would most likely need to be some playing around with the aiming of the lights. The round lights were an option for my boat, but they also have rectangular light options for other boat models. There are more pictures of both on their website www.wooldridgeboats.com just got to the different models, and click the "more pictures" link and peruse through the 100's of pics.

    I surely wouldn't hesitate to give them a call either, they may be able to throw some pointers at you as well.
    rect lights XL.jpgRound AK II.jpg

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    I have a couple Go-light strykers mounted up top that work well. I haven't seen any lights that I would feel comfortable running on step in the dark with but these have been great for traveling in the night at moderate speeds. They are operated by toggle swithces on the dash or wireless remote control. 370 degree rotation and 135 degree tilt offer great visibility. Been trouble free so far.
    http://www.golight.com/products/stryker.html

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rambling raven View Post
    I have a couple Go-light strykers mounted up top that work well. I haven't seen any lights that I would feel comfortable running on step in the dark with but these have been great for traveling in the night at moderate speeds. They are operated by toggle swithces on the dash or wireless remote control. 370 degree rotation and 135 degree tilt offer great visibility. Been trouble free so far.
    http://www.golight.com/products/stryker.html
    They look like a nice setup for your boat. On my SportJon the cabin is farther back. I worry overhead lights would light up my bow and if not blinding, at least mess up being able to see very far infront of the boat.

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