LEDs are advancing rapidly. Although they have always been very energy efficient, the earlier ones were blueish-colored, not very bright, and not very long-lived (see our Yard Sale section). Fortunately, the newer ones have overcome those problems. They are now available in just about any form to replace nearly any light bulb, and the prices are coming down. Because we (at least try) to keep up with what’s happening in LEDs and represent several companies that make LED lights, we can probably recommend the best product for your application. Call us for suggestions. Following are some of the companies we represent, in no particular order:
Stecktronics – Reynold Steckley in Marathon, FL, has been building extremely reliable, bright, and energy efficient bulb replacements and assemblies for years now. He builds LED clusters that replace incandescent bulbs, optionally assembles them into housings, and now has navigation light assemblies. His latest offering are USCG approved anchor and tri-color lights. The tri-color/anchor is available with an innovative feature: The anchor and tri-color can both operate off of two wires, and you choose between anchor and tri-color by turning the switch on and off (no additional switching required). Also, the anchor light can be made to “strobe” by a sequence of switching. He makes an anchorlight assembly for $66, the best value on the market, and it fits the same mounting holes as the Aqua Signal.
Orca Green Marine – One of the first on the market with USCG approved navigation light assemblies. Extremely waterproof and bright.
Dr LED – Chinese-made bulb replacements (and now some housing assemblies) for nearly any housing, interior or navigation light. Simply remove the old bulb and install the LED cluster: plug-and-play. The anchor light bulb replacement ($46) has been the most popular and is the most cost effective LED replacement you can get. It is USCG approved when used in an Aqua Signal series 40 housing. Latest offerings are an LED deck light (the “Kevin”) and a very stylish chart light. New: the only bulb replacement for small stainless domed nav lights used on small boats.
Marine Beam – The first company to offer a replacement LED cluster for small recessed dome lights. Warm colors, very energy efficient and reliable. At $10 their Davis Megalight bulb replacement is a best value and is more energy efficient and brighter than the original.
Bebi – Former cruisers now living in Fiji build these basic bulb replacements. A wide variety of products, all with a lifetime warranty. One of the most energy efficient product choices available and comes with a dual circuit driver that increases reliability. Hand-made and sometimes requires additional handiwork to install. Check out their Fautasi fluorescent light relacement and Beka cockpit light.
Sailor’s Solutions (makers of the SensiBulb) – Technically one of the most advanced bulb replacements, with precise energy and heat control (needed for the newer SMT LEDs). Made in the USA. Innovative mounting system allows it to be used in a reading light or dome light. Bright and warm, you can’t tell there is an LED in the fixture. See the Sensibulb here.