Tag Archives: lights

Gear Review: Battery Powered Aqua Signal/West Marine LED Nav Lights

POS Lights

Function:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Reliability:1 Stars (1 / 5)
Quality:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Value:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Average:2 Stars (2 / 5)

These lights are Aqua Signal Portable Nav lights also sold under the West Marine brand in WM stores.  We use them on our dinghy when underway at night, many local jurisdictions will ticket you even if you are going below 7knts at night if you do not have a bow and stern light.  How many RIBs are equipped with good navigation light mounting points or hardware?  Not many unless you have a large high end console boat so there aren’t many ways to comply with the law, so here is a pretty crummy option that we’ve used.

You can purchase these with suction cup mounts seen here, a glue on mount or a bracket mount that clamps to your transom.  We’ve used the bracket mount which was fairly easy to take on and off, but it eventually gave up and broke sending our stern light to Davy Jones Locker.  We use the suction cup mount on the bow of our RIB and it works well enough if you have someone monitoring it every second as it tends to slide off.

How about the actual lights if you find a good way to mount them?  Well when they are working they are fairly bright and don’t seem to use too much battery power.  The problem is they quit functioning fairly shortly.  We’ve gone through three sets of these things in 8 months of cruising.  If they are left to sit out in the rain or get a bit more than damp they will absorb moisture and die.  The LED will not turn off giving a very dim glow and will not turn on to full brightness.

I’m not sure why they can’t make a good waterproof battery operated light when they sell between $40 and $50 each!  Once the ones you see in the picture quit working I think I’ll hook up some 12 volt lights and use the small alternator on our outboard.