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 the same amount of fish to your dock. Light applied on top or under the water simply attracts plankton which in return attracts bait fish.  The larger game fish then come to the light to feed on the bait fish, so how do Above Water Dock Lights and Underwater Dock Lights differ? Above Water Dock Lights are maintenance free and illuminate the water from the top down which provides more coverage but makes it harder to see the fish. Underwater Dock Lights require monthly maintenance and illuminate the water from the bottom up which make it easier to see the fish.

Above Water Dock & Pier Lights

Above Water Dock and Pier Lights like our AlumiGlo DockPro 3500 and AlumiGlo DockPro 16000 have become the preferred type of light used by many dock builders and electrical contractors because they are maintenance free.

Above water dock lights mount to the face of your dock or pier and shine downward, illuminating the surface of the water. Penetration into the water will be determined by the clarity of your water. The lights not only attract fish to your dock but also illuminate dark area’s around your dock which enhances safety and security. Above water dock Lights are virtually maintenance free once they are mounted.

Underwater dock lights are submerged in the water 24/7 and are more susceptible to corrosion, algae and barnacle build-up and damage caused by boats and fishing hooks.  Unlike underwater lights, above water lights do not have to be removed and cleaned on a monthly basis. Above water dock lights lights mount to the face of your dock or pier post and shine down into the water and are not exposed to the underwater elements.

The use of a Photocell Timer which turns the light on at dusk and off a predetermined time is recommended. You can purchase an outdoor photocell timer at any local hardware store.

Underwater Dock & Pier Lights

Underwater Dock & Pier Lights like our AlumiGlo DockPro 5000, and the SuperBrite 8000-X2-D are the preferred lights for people who like to watch the fish and see them more clearly in deeper water.  Unlike above water lights, underwater lights do require monthly  maintenance to prevent algae and barnacle build-up.

The DockPro 5000 sits on the bottom and shines upward, illuminating the water from the bottom up.  The SuperBrite 8000-X2-D hangs vertically over the side of your dock and illuminates 360-degrees horizontally.  This light should be suspended vertically and never laid flat on the bottom.  Underwater lights are preferred by some because they do give you a better view of the fish, but contrary to what some people think, they do not attract any more fish than above water lights.

Since underwater dock lights are submerged in the water 24/7 they are susceptible to corrosion, algae and barnacle build-up and can be damaged by boats, lures and hooks.  So, underwater lights do have to be removed on a regular basis and cleaned.  Failure to do so will result in poor light output.  Applying a good coat of car wax is recommended.

We recommend using a Photocell Timer which turns the light on at dusk and the light turns off a predetermined time set by you.

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!

Our DockPro 5000 underwater dock light is safe to operate in the water. The 120VAC driver plugs into any standard GFCI outlet and immediately reduces the voltage going to the light down to a safe 36VDC. All voltage in the water is 100% water safe!

See More Articles