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USCG Certified LED Navigation Lights

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
According to Dr. LED, theirs is the only vendor to supply USCG certified LED nav light replacement bulbs:

• 2006 First and only one to obtain USCG COLREG 1972 ABYC 2NM certified LED aftermarket replacement
bulbs for navigation lights.
Is that so? And if so, why would one use anything other than their bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs in existing nav lights?

My bulbs for bicolor, stern, and steaming consumer what my fridge does! I want to change to LED. Dr. LED's bulbs are $50 each, while I can get no-name LEDs for $12 for a two pack!

What do you think?
 

capta

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Jun 4, 2009
4,308
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I tried that with our Aqua Signal running lights and it was a miserable failure. LED bulbs are not even slightly waterproof and they really need a heatsink. After always cleaning the contacts and finally running up from the end of LI to Newport in the dark w/o a red light (fishing boats everywhere), on a trip up from the islands. I just chucked the Aqua Signal lights and bought a cheap set (around us$100.00) of completely sealed Red & Green bow lights w/heatsink incorporated right into the fixture. Haven't had a failure yet and it's been years, going under water when beating across the channels, etc.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Thanks for the reply, @capta . What make bulbs did you use?

The Dr. LED bulbs are currently used by the US Navy and USAF, so I can only assume they work and are somewhat waterproof.
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,308
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
Thanks for the reply, @capta . What make bulbs did you use?

The Dr. LED bulbs are currently used by the US Navy and USAF, so I can only assume they work and are somewhat waterproof.
I don't remember, but they were in the $50.00 range. I would assume the US Navy and USAF fixtures are waterproof, not so much the bulbs, and our boats don't usually come with commercial grade light fixtures.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
I don't remember, but they were in the $50.00 range. I would assume the US Navy and USAF fixtures are waterproof, not so much the bulbs, and our boats don't usually come with commercial grade light fixtures.
Interesting. My boat has Hella 2984-series lights. I consider these "commercial quality." If not, what would be better?
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,118
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I just installed a pair of Nav lights from MarineBeam. $77 includes shipping.

CG certified 2nm. Bright lights. Lights are colored rather than white light behind colored lense.

B26D3BA7-F9F2-497D-BEDC-1F43493F09D5.jpeg
Last visit to the boat I noticed the starboard light had moisture in it. They are sealed unit’s.
29AC5B37-C26D-4E60-BE8A-9FE8AD918685.jpeg
Called MarineBeam and they shipped replacement out immediately. Great service
 
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore
May 29, 2018
297
Canel 25 foot Shiogama, japan
$50 for a light bulb. Step back a minute and think about that.
Bi-color, mast, anchor stern , plus a spare. $250 .
Sit down and think about that.

Kerosine lamps are still legal and certified.
have a beer and think about that.

gary
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Bi-color, mast, anchor stern , plus a spare.
  • bicolor
  • stern
  • steaming
  • anchor
  • masthead tricolor
Can't really have "a" spare, as the ones with color are necessarily different.

Yes, I know, it's a lot of dough. But if you want to keep the light fixtures you have and replace the incandescent bulbs with LED such that the solution is certified, what are the options?
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,308
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
Interesting. My boat has Hella 2984-series lights. I consider these "commercial quality." If not, what would be better?
As I said, I just liked the idea of a sealed fixture w/a 20,000 hour (well, we'll see about that) lifespan. Anything that can open can get moisture or water in it, especially if it gets dunked every once in a while, or more.
As for changing the steaming light, where's the plus in that as your engine is running and theoretically the alternator is working?
 

capta

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Jun 4, 2009
4,308
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
Longevity.

BTW, see @jssailem 's reply, above, about sealed nav lights.
I've been using my sealed nav lights for around 9 years now and the incandescent steaming light even longer. Longevity wasn't the reason I switched, it's power consumption. Longevity is just a plus if they actually do last much longer. 20k hours is probably more hours than any of us will be using these lights?
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
As for changing the steaming light, where's the plus in that as your engine is running and theoretically the alternator is working?
Longevity wasn't the reason I switched, it's power consumption.
Yes, in the case of the steaming light, it's not power consumption but longevity. For the bow and stern it's power.
 
Feb 8, 2014
1,300
Columbia 36 Muskegon
I've been using my sealed nav lights for around 9 years now and the incandescent steaming light even longer. Longevity wasn't the reason I switched, it's power consumption. Longevity is just a plus if they actually do last much longer. 20k hours is probably more hours than any of us will be using these lights?
When they fail from old age, only your great-grandchildren will know about it. I like that.
 
May 27, 2004
1,699
Hunter 30_74-83 Ponce Inlet FL
I've been using Marine Beam for years as well.
I screwed up an order, Twice! :yikes:
They swapped for correct parts with no hassle.
USCG approved.
Make sure your bulbs, from whatever source, don't create static on your VHF/ SSB/ GPS, etc.
I've heard that some do...
 
Last edited:

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
I've been using Marine Beam for years as well.
USCG approved.
Great testimonial, but has nothing to do with the original post.

The question is "why would one use anything other than their bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs in existing nav lights?"

It's not "should I throw away my nav lights and buy something else, like marinebeam?"
 
May 27, 2004
1,699
Hunter 30_74-83 Ponce Inlet FL
Well, I don't know. Why not stick with the vacuum tube radio I had 45 years ago?
Read on Old Son.
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Well, I don't know. Why not stick with the vacuum tube radio I had 45 years ago?
You'll have to explain this one to me, it doesn't make any sense.

A well found yacht like mine, ad countless others out there, have high quality marine navigation lights installed as original equipment. There is a vast difference between fitting new bulbs and removing these fixtures and replacing them with some other fixture. The question was whether there was an alternative bulb to the Dr. LED bulbs. At the end fo the day I'll probably just order the Dr. LED bulbs, it's really not a lot of money, in the total scheme of things. Fitting a different fixture could be a lot more work. BTW, I checked, there's no Marinebeam "plug compatible," or even dimensionally compatible replacement for the Hella 2984 series bow light, and I'm not about to re-engineer the mount for it, including drilling holes in the stainless bracket that's welded to my bow pulpit. And, it's too small.