12 VDC Interior Lighting for Sailboats

12 VDC Interior Lighting for Sailboats

One of the major projects to complete before off shore
cruising in our Westsail 32 was to re-wire the entire boat. We decided to replace every single wire, not just some of the wires. This was a large project and meant a new breaker panel, new alternator, new regulator, new monitoring system, new engine related wiring and more. We managed to do all of this and still lived on-board at the marina in St Petersburg, FL. If you have any experience at all working on a boat you also know that there is never and I mean NEVER a project that does not involve a bit more than what you intended. Systems are so integrated that repair of replacement of one item leads to consideration of one or more other items.

This was clearly the case with the re-wire project and our interior lights that were installed on the boat when we purchased her. One end of the lighting wire was attached to light fixtures. The old lights were fluorescent and of the type you would find in early model recreational
vehicles. The old lights functioned and worked OK but the way that you made them red lights for night was a bit cumbersome. It required you to remove the light tube and slide a red plastic cover on the bulb and replace it. Obviously we did not do that and just used the white lights at night at the detriment of our night vision.

When we started the planning process we looked at our lighting options. It was critical to
make these choices before we began the project so we would have complete data in our energy audit to build and size the system to accommodate our decisions and prevent post project changes. The energy audit meant making a COMPLETE list of every single item that would draw current and an accurate estimate of the amount of energy consumed when operating as well as an estimate of the amount of time it would be operating.

There were several choices when it came to interior lighting for our boat and each one had some benefits and limitations. We made a list of features that were important to us and highlighted the “must have” features. We applied our criteria to the options available and there was one
manufacturer that soared above all others. It had all of our “must have” features and offered some options that were very beneficial that we had not considered.

The brand we felt the strongest about was ALPENGLOW LIGHTS from Eureka, Montana. What could a company from Montana know about marine lighting? As it turns out, this company has been serving the marine industry for over 20 years. We were able to see live examples of their product that had been installed on several boats in our home marina. A trusted, independent local marine supply and repair service gave Alpenglow Lights very high recommendations and assured us we would not be disappointed with their product and service.

We made our decision to replace all of our interior lights with Alpenglow Lights. Every area of our interior is lit with Alpenglow. We also added one Splash-Proof Dual Power combination red and white light fixture with to the cockpit area which turned out to be an extremely valuable decision. The lights we installed throughout our boat are the 9 watt Dual Power with LED NIGHT VISION. There is virtually nothing you cannot do at night in our boat that you can’t do during the day. The lighting is fabulous and the service is outstanding.

As we all know that the marine environment is hard on electronics and modern lighting is also susceptible to these threats. We experienced a problem with one of the dual power switches on our exterior cockpit light after about 4 -5 years of use. I contacted Alpenglow and the problem was immediately resolved at very low cost.

The features we love about these lights are:
- Low current draw – energy efficient
- High and low dual power option
- Pleasant warm light similar to standard bulbs
- Constant light output over a wide voltage range
- Splash- Proof option for cockpit and shower locations
- White and Red night vision all in one fixture
- Beautiful wood trim with many type and color options
- Low cost replacement bulbs
- Friendly customer service
- Iron Clad Product Guarantee

After using Alpenglow Lights for several years we are delighted to report that they are on the top of our recommended supplier list. We do not give this distinction out very often and items must be tested and proved before they make our list. We have no problem telling you to invest in
Alpenglow Lights when you need to make a cabin or cockpit lighting choice for your boat. The need for availability of superior lighting is always met with Alpenglow Lights and they are highly
reliable for off shore adventures. You can check them out at http://www.alpenglowlights.com/

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Captain Don Montgomery and Admiral Lana Nelson

Mary Rose V