LED Overhead Boat Lights

Overhead Boat Lights are an excellent way to enhance your overall boating experience. As exterior boat lighting, they add safety and functionality to your deck. As boat interior lighting they improve the functionality and ambiance of your cabin.

In this article, I will be talking about Shadow-Caster® LED boat overhead lights. These lights are waterproof with a slim profile. This makes them an excellent choice for use as either exterior boat lighting or boat interior lighting.

Shadow-Caster LED Lighting® makes three different models of overhead boat lights. All three come in a compact form factor that makes them easy to mount in almost any space.

SCM-DLX overhead boat light

Overhead Marine Lighting

LED overhead boat lights mount to your boat’s T-top, hard top, arch, or cabin ceiling. Sometimes called downlights, they shine their light down onto the surface below. They provide overall lighting to your boat’s helm, cabin, and other covered spaces.

Shadow-Caster makes three different models of boat overhead lights. The SCM-DL, SCM-DLX, and SCM-DLXS. Each of the three models is similar in several ways.

  • Waterproof aluminum housing with a tough glass lens
  • Mounting depth 0.5″ with faceplate height 0.2″
  • Light output of 300 lumens in white
  • Work with 12 or 24-volt systems while using only 3 watts of power
  • 120° light spread
  • 18″ of lead-in wire and flush mounting bracket are included
  • High-efficiency switch mode power supply
  • 3 Year Warranty

SCM-DL

The SCM-DL has a 2″ outside diameter. Available options include two bezel colors and three light colors.

  • Outside diameter: 2″
  • Mounting hole diameter: 1.25″
  • Bezel options: White or black
  • Light color options: White (6200K), white/blue/red, RGB
  • This light can be dimmed

The SCM-DL is best for when you have limited space to mount lighting or simply want a light with a smaller profile. Choose the white bezel for a classic look or black for a bold look with greater contrast.

The SCM-DL can be dimmed. This makes it an excellent choice for when you need lower levels of light.

SCM-DLX

The SCM-DLX has a 3″ outside diameter. Available options include four bezel options and three light color options.

  • Outside diameter 3″
  • Mounting hole diameter 2″
  • Bezel options: White, black, and polished chrome with white or black trim
  • Light color options: White (6200K), white/blue/red, RGB
  • This light can be dimmed

The SCM-DLX adds stylish detail to any boat. And with four bezel colors, it’s easy to find one that matches your style. Choose the white bezel for a classic look, and black for bold styling. There is also chrome with either a white or black trim for a more modern look.

The SCM-DLX can be dimmed. This makes it an excellent choice for when you need lower levels of light.

SCM-DLXS

The SCM-DLXS has a 3″ outside diameter. Available options include a white bezel and three light colors.

  • Outside diameter 3″
  • Mounting hole diameter 2″
  • Bezel option: White
  • Light color options: Cool white (6000K), warm white (3500K), blue
  • This light can not be dimmed

The SCM-DLXS is an inexpensive way to add ambient interior lighting to your boat. It is a single-color light that comes in cool white, warm white, or blue. It features a white bezel and can not be dimmed. For this reason, it is less expensive than the SCM-DL or SCM-DLX. This makes it an excellent choice for the majority of your boat’s interior lighting.

Exterior Boat Lighting

Three things make a light fixture a good choice for exterior lighting.

  1. It stands up to the elements,
  2. It improves the look of your boat, and
  3. It provides the right color and intensity of light for the job at hand.

Shadow-Caster makes all its overhead lights with a waterproof all-aluminum housing. The durable borosilicate glass lens will never fade or yellow. This design allows their lights to look good and last for decades.

You want your lights to make your boat look as good during the day as they do at night. That’s the job of the bezel. With both 2″ and 3″ light sizes and four bezel styles, you have more choices to get the exact look you want.

It’s the color and intensity of the light that determines where and how to use it. RGB lights can be used anywhere. Even with a basic light controller, you can change their color and brightness to fit your needs. Upgrade to a multi-zone light controller for even more control. But not everybody wants RGB lighting.

Many boaters prefer a simpler lighting system. One they can control with the flip of a switch. For them, there are single-color and multi-color lights. Besides RGB, the SCM-DL and SCM-DLX come in white alone or a three-color version, white/ blue/ red.

You can dim the SCM-DL and SCM-DLX. You can not dim the SCM-DLXS. For this reason, I don’t recommend the SCM-DLXS for exterior boat lighting. The SCM-DL and SCM-DLX are excellent choices for exterior lighting.

White

A white light can be used for lighting specific areas where you will perform tasks. This could be a dining table, grill, or bait-prep area. The SCM-DL and SCM-DLX can be turned on and dimmed using a standard switch. Using a Momentary Switch gives you greater control of dimming.

  • Toggle the switch to turn the light on.
  • The light brightens to full power over a few seconds.
  • Quickly toggle the switch to set the brightness at your desired level.
  • With a Momentary Switch, press and hold the button to set brightness.

RGB

RGB overhead lights can be used as part of a whole boat RGB lighting system. With Multi-Zone Light Controllers, overhead lights have a dedicated zone.

White/Blue/Red

White/ Blue/ Red lights should be used at and around the helm. By doing so, you’ll have a white light for performing tasks and a red or blue light for preserving night vision. The SCM-DL and SCM-DLX can be operated using a standard switch. Use a Momentary Switch for greater control of dimming.

  • Toggle the switch to turn the light on.
  • The light brightens to full power over a few seconds.
  • Quickly toggle the switch to set the brightness at your desired level.
  • Quickly toggle the switch again to change colors.
  • With a Momentary Switch, the brightness can be set by pressing the button.

Why White/ Blue/ Red?

Exterior boat lights need to do two things well. First, they should allow you to see well enough to perform tasks. Tasks include things like eating, reading, or rigging fishing tackle. For this, you need a white light that is bright enough to see clearly.

Second, they should let you safely drive your boat at night. To do this you need to be able to see objects in the water around you. That means that your eyes need to adjust to the darkness first. It takes at least 10 minutes for your pupils to dilate and your eyes to become sensitive to near darkness. You can learn more about how this works here.

Complete darkness will give you the best night vision. But it makes it difficult to see your instruments and unsafe to move around the deck. For that, you need red or blue light that you can dim.

I won’t go into all the details about how red and blue light affect your night vision. Check out this article about Cockpit Lighting Choices to learn more. But red light is best at preserving night vision. That’s because the cells in your eyes that help you see at night are not very sensitive to red light. Blue light, on the other hand lets you see colors better making it easier to read your instruments. The problem is that blue light is more likely to interfere with your night vision. For this reason, you need to be able to dim blue light to low levels.

The bottom line which color is best for you is a personal choice. For this reason, the SCM-DL and SCM-DLX have blue, red, and white as color options.

Boat Interior Lighting

Lighting the interior of your boat is much like lighting the interior of your home. You should light the space in layers. The first layer is ambient lighting. Ambient lighting provides even illumination over the entire space. Next, task lighting puts extra light where it is needed. It lets you perform tasks such as cooking, eating, reading, and grooming.

The SCM-DLXS is an inexpensive way to add ambient and task lighting to your boat cabin. The white bezel adds a modern look to any cabin ceiling. Choose between cool white or warm white light colors to give your cabin either a bright or warm look. Blue is another light color option. Because blue light helps preserve night vision, it should be used near the cabin entrance. Doing so makes it safe to enter the cabin and helps preserve night vision at the helm.

The SCM-DLXS is switch-operated and does not dim. It is also less expensive than the SCM-DL or SCM-DLX. Use it to light your boat’s galley, cabin, headroom, or wherever you need a basic ceiling light.

However, in some cases, you may want the ability to dim the lights. It’s a nice feature to have in a stateroom, berth, or for watching television. In these cases, you should use the SCM-DLX instead. With a 3″ outside diameter the SCM-DLX is the same size as the SCM-DLXS. There are several housing options. Choose the white bezel to match the look of the SCM-DLXS. Or, dress things up with a black or polished chrome bezel with white or black trim.

The one thing to keep in mind is the SCM-DLX only comes in cool white. Mixing cool white light with warm white light can look uneven. For this reason it is best to separate cool and warm color lights.

The Little Lights You’ll Love

Shadow-Caster overhead boat lights are the perfect blend of design, quality materials, and style. To start, the aluminum housing is very thin. Because it needs a mounting depth of only .5″, it will fit in places that most lights can’t. Additionally, the body and glass lens help to dissipate heat away from the LED’s. This allows them to shine brighter and last longer than any plastic light can. Next, there are multiple bezel styles to choose from. Because of this, your boat will look as good during the day as it does at night. Finally, with such a wide range of light colors it’s easy to find the light you need in the colors you want.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you did please share it with your fellow boaters on your favorite social media website. Have questions? Please leave a comment below.