Navigation lights on older boats are a great target for an LED upgrade. However, I’ve seen some pretty terrible solutions to do this without replacing the fixtures. Recently I found an option that appears to be extremely well built and bright.
Grace has the factory Hella bow and stern navigation lights. These use a festoon-type bulb, and had been updated by the previous owner to an LED of some sorts.
I hadn’t been that impressed with the amount of light that the stern light was putting out, and after figuring out how to remove the Hella lamp cover (squeeze top and bottom together, bottom has a clip), I exposed the light inside. The light had 6 rather dim LEDs on a board. The color of the light always bothered me too – sort of an off white, too cool and almost borderline blue.
Note: beware Amazon versions of this product – I saw widely ranging prices up to $75 (Fisheries sells it for $24) and odd pictures that might not be the same light.
The bulb itself is nicely made – far wider and angled on either side to ensure that the light is spread all around. In addition, the entire light is fully sealed in plastic so that it will last a long time in the marine environment. It feels extremely well built.
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