NOTICE: The furniture grade PVC we use to build many of our Dock Lights has been unavailable due to resin shortages and the cost of all PVC pipe and fittings has increased more than 50% the past couple of months. Unfortunately, the continued shortages and cost increases has forced us to discontinue making some underwater lights which require large amounts of PVC.
When trying to decide whether to use an Above Water or a Below Water dock light, it is important to know that either model will attract fish to your dock or pier, but Above Water lights actually out perform Underwater lights hands down. While Underwater lights are attractive to look at and do allow you to see the fish better in the water, putting light on the bottom where it is typically dark, is completely unnatural to the fish so they tend to stay away from it. It’s always important to try and duplicate real life conditions when trying to attract fish to your dock or pier. In most cases, sunlight and moon light only illuminate the top 3 ft. to 5 ft. of water before it starts to turn dark, so illuminating the water below that point is not natural to the fish. Light applied on top or in the water simply attracts plankton which in return attracts bait fish which feeds on it. When fish see light in the water they know it’s an automatic source of food, so they will come to the light as long as the water conditions meet their standards. The eyes on most fish point upward so they typically look up for their food, so it’s important to keep the light and baitfish higher in the water.
It’s important to remember that the nicest dock with the nicest looking water may not always be the best dock for attracting fish. Water depth, water temperature, oxygen content, structure, and food sources are all important factors when it comes to attracting fish to your dock. Just because your neighbors dock may have fish, doesn’t always mean your dock will.
Above Water Dock & Pier Lights
Above Water Dock Lights are maintenance free and illuminate the water from the top down instead of the bottom up. Above water light provide more overall water coverage and are more normal to fish. Our DockPro 3500 , DockPro 16000 and DockPro 26000 have become the preferred type of light used by dock builders and electrical contractors because they are maintenance free. Note: “Above Water” lights cannot be submerged in water for any length of time or they will be damaged. The lights should be mounted high enough off the water where they will not be submerged during high tides and storm surges. Above water lights typically mount to the face of the dock or on a pier post and shine downward, illuminating the surface of the water. The depth of penetration into the water will be determined by the clarity of your water, but please keep in mind that “Above Water” lights are designed to illuminate the waters surface to attract fish and look nice, but they may not penetrate deep into the water. The biggest advantage to above water lights is that they are maintenance free and they illuminate more surface area around your dock or pier, and light shined on top of the water is completely natural to the fish.
Underwater Dock & Pier Lights
Underwater Dock Lights do require regular maintenance or they will soon be overtaken by algae, barnacles, clams, and other underwater marine life. Underwater lights which sit on the bottom and shine upward are popular because they allow you to see the fish more clearly in deeper water. However, underwater lights that sit on the bottom (regardless of manufacturer) are easily compromised by underwater marine life, acidic saltwater, hooks, and theft. So much so, we recently stopped selling all underwater lights that sit on the bottom and shine up and now only sell submersible lights that are suspended over the side of your dock. If you want to illuminate the water around your dock using an underwater light, you are much better off using a light that hangs over the side of your dock and does not sit on the bottom. These lights allow you to adjust the amount of light you want at any depth by raising or lowering the light vertically, and are easily cleaned on a regular basis. Our SuperBrite 8000-X2-D and SuperBrite 4800-D are the preferred lights for people who prefer to use underwater lights.
We always recommend using a Photocell Timer which turns the light on at dusk and then turns the light off at a predetermined time set by you. Fish become accustomed to knowing when the lights will be on so they can eat. If your light comes on at dusk and shuts off hours later every night, you will have more fish congregating around your dock at one time. If you leave the lights on from dusk to dawn, the fish will come and go at their leisure because they know they have all night to feed. Consistency is important so the fish know when feeding time is.
Swim Safe-Use Low Voltage LED Lights
We’ve all been told mixing electricity with water is something you just never do. But, prior to the development of Low Voltage, High Intensity LED Lights, the only way to make a light bright enough for underwater use was to use halogen, mercury vapor, metal halide or HID bulbs which are all powered by 120VAC.
HID, mercury vapor and metal halide underwater dock lights use 120VAC in the water which can be deadly to you and your loved one’s if there is a malfunction. If the power-cord is cut or damaged or if the light malfunctions in any way, anyone in the water could be seriously hurt or killed. While GFCI outlets do offer a limited amount of protection, GFCI outlets are prone to malfunction when used in outdoor environments.
Fortunately, with the advent of low voltage, high intensity LEDs, underwater lights no longer have to be made using high voltage components. High intensity LEDs produce more lumen’s per watt, are less expensive to operate and are Safe To Operate in the Water.
Before you purchase your next underwater light, remember, AC voltage in the water is a tragedy waiting to happen. Choose an underwater LED light that operates on low voltage and keep everyone safe!