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Best Kayak Lights Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Aug 06, 2019

Nothing fun happens before dark, right? If you carry this RockNRoll philosophy with you through all of life, then you’re just the type to hit the water in your yak after the sun goes down.
While doing so provides a new perspective on kayaking, it also allows anglers to go after fish that are shy during the day time. But there are a few safety precautions that must be taken into consideration before heading out after dark.

In order to be in accordance with the United States Coast Guard, you must have lighting on your vessel if you are to be in the water after dark. Not only does this help with your own visibility, but it helps other vessels to see you as well.

However, lighting requirements vary for different waterways and purposes, so we’ve compiled a list of the best kayak lights for whatever your excursion requires.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research

icon
Kayalu Kayalite
100/100 our score
Application
100
Ease of Use
100
Water Resistance
100
Battery Life
100
Value
100
Kayalu Kayalite
Why is it better?

Easy to install one eyelet or pad eye

360-degree LED light

Batteries last for 100 hours

Waterproof up to 1,000 feet

Incredibly durable

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Kayalu Kayalite
Test Winner: Kayalu Kayalite
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
25
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2400
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
13
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Application Ease of Use Water Resistance Battery Life Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
100
Application
100 %
Ease of Use
100 %
Water Resistance
100 %
Battery Life
100 %
Value
100 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$49.95
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99
Application
100 %
Ease of Use
99 %
Water Resistance
98 %
Battery Life
99 %
Value
99 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$29.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Application
98 %
Ease of Use
98 %
Water Resistance
96 %
Battery Life
96 %
Value
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$16.87
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Application
96 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Water Resistance
98 %
Battery Life
97 %
Value
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Application
96 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Water Resistance
96 %
Battery Life
94 %
Value
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$24.50
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Application
98 %
Ease of Use
98 %
Water Resistance
97 %
Battery Life
92 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$35.25
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Application
93 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Water Resistance
92 %
Battery Life
93 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$4.59
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Application
96 %
Ease of Use
90 %
Water Resistance
93 %
Battery Life
95 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$69.95
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Application
91 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Water Resistance
90 %
Battery Life
90 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$11.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Application
90 %
Ease of Use
85 %
Water Resistance
98 %
Battery Life
85 %
Value
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$12.21

10 Best Kayak Lights

1. Kayalu Kayalite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
100
Kayalu Kayalite Kayak Light
Amazon Link
Application
100
Ease of Use
100
Water Resistance
100
Battery Life
100
Value
100
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$49.95
Pros:

Easy to install one eyelet or pad eye

360-degree LED light

Batteries last for 100 hours

Waterproof up to 1,000 feet

Incredibly durable

Cons:

Not as bright as some had hoped

The Kayalu Kayalite is one of the best kayak navigation lights out there. It comes at a bit more of a premium cost, but it is super bright and a great option for those looking for a more portable light that can be moved from craft to craft.

Plus, if you really need waterproof LED lights for kayak, this is one of the best options on the market today.

Read more

Waterproof up to 1,000 Feet
The Kayalu Kayalite is one item that we can guarantee remains waterproof, pretty much no matter what weather or rapids you encounter. This puppy can be submerged up to 1,000 feet and still function good as new, though it is not intended to be used as an underwater fishing light.

This product is comprised of components that meet marine-grade standards. This is a super rugged light that can withstand a beating from the water. It can also take a beating from a paddle. It is buoyant as well as waterproof.

This is 360-degree LED white light and the diffusion lens that surrounds the light is comprised of titanium particles to reflect light that much more.

This device runs on 3 AA batteries, and one set of these batteries can last up to 100 hours on the water. And guess what? Your first 3 batteries are included.

Easily Attaches to Pad Eye or Eyelet
We love that all you need for installation of this kayak light is an already existing pad eye or eyelet on your kayak. These are the small metal bridge-like components on your kayak that you can attach different gear to in order to secure it on board.

The light comes with a steel clip and a tension bungee rope that has been coated in nylon. Simply clip the steel clip to the pad eye or eyelet and pull the tension bungee tight so that the device stands up straight and erect.

If you do not have an eyelet or pad eye on your kayak, you can easily purchase one online that comes with installation hardware for next to nothing. These may also be called eyebolt kits.

Cost and Value
The Kayalu Kayalite Kayak Light rings up in the middle of our price range and we love its value because it is actually 100% waterproof and it is super easy to install without using hardware. Plus, it is one of the most durable items on our list so it’s worth shelling out the extra money, and you won’t have to worry about replacing the batteries all of the time.

2. Attwood Boating

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99
Attwood Marine Gray boating-navigation-lights
Amazon Link
Application
100
Ease of Use
99
Water Resistance
98
Battery Life
99
Value
99
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.99
Pros:

2-for-1 deal

C-clamps for easy installation

150 hours of light per set of batteries

Waterproof electronics

Lenses are virtually indestructible

Cons:

C-clamps not so secure

The Attwood Boating Navigation Lights are a great two-for-one deal that will bring safety as well as practical lighting to your kayak. These lights are easy to mount, are waterproof, and have long-lasting power that you can count on while you’re out on the water and even when you're fishing in the rain.

Read more

Two Lights Come with Kit
The Attwood Boating Navigation Lights are a two-for-one deal. One light is red and green and is intended to be mounted at the front of the boat to notify other crafts of your presence and orientation. The second light is white and is intended to be installed at the rear of the craft. This light will guide you and will also illuminate your craft so that you can see on board.

These run on 3 AA batteries each which can last for around 150 hours on. Batteries are sold separately.

C-Clamp Installation
The Attwood Boating Navigation Lights come with C-clamps which make them super easy and quick to install. This also means that you will not have to hardware install these lights onto your kayak.

If you are looking for a more permanent install solution, check out the Attwood kit at number 6 below.

All of the electronics are seal off in housing that is shockproof. This seal also makes the lights waterproof as well. However, it is suggested that you remove the batteries from the device if you plan on storing it for a long period of time.

The lenses on these lights are made from polycarbonate and are virtually shatterproof.

You can adjust the height of the rear light to suit your needs.

Cost and Value
The Attwood Boating Navigation Lights ring up on the lower end of our price range and we love their value because you get two lights for less than half of the cost of some premium light sets on the market, and because they are easy to install and super durable.

3. Bright Eyes

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Bright Eyes Green & Red Aluminum Portable Marine LED Boating Lights
Amazon Link
Application
98
Ease of Use
98
Water Resistance
96
Battery Life
96
Value
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$16.87
Pros:

Easy to install without needing hardware

Can be used on different vessels

3 different lighting functions

Comes with a lifetime warranty

Waterproofing silicone sleeve

Cons:

Run through batteries quickly

If you are in the market for kayak lights for night paddling then look no further. The Bright Eyes are an excellent option for keeping you safe and visible while you are out on the water at night.

These lights are a breeze to install and they are designed to be water-resistant. And what’s better is that they come with a lifetime warranty so you can rely on your purchase for the long haul.

Read more

3 Different Lighting Functions
The Bright Eyes Portable Boating Lights come with a little bit of razzle-dazzle in different light modes--3 to be exact. One light mode remains on constantly, one mode strobes, and one mode blinks. The 3 different modes serve different purposes on the water so make sure to familiarize yourself with local regulations.

These lights give off tons of light and are ideal to be used as kayak lights for night fishing or when leaving for fishing in the early morning hours before the sun comes up. This is also a great option to use in foggy settings when fishing after a storm.

This product has a silicone sleeve around it that it is encased in to help to make it water-resistant, which is understandably ideal for using while on the water.

You’ll enjoy 4 extra bonus batteries with your purchase.

Easy to Install and Remove
While some of the products on our list are designed to be installed permanently with hardware, this set of lights can be easily installed and removed so they can be used on more than one vessel over time.

The flexible tips of the light easily secure over a bar or a molded-in, T, or D handle. Simply secure the tips together with the latch (provided) and you are good to go. This is far easier than securing a light to your vessel with hardware.

Cost and Value
The Bright Eyes ring up at the bottom of our price range and we love their value because they are portable and easy to install. Plus, they are water-resistant and come with a lifetime warranty should anything happen to them.

4. Innovative Lighting Bow

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Innovative Lighting Portable LED Bow Light
Amazon Link
Application
96
Ease of Use
95
Water Resistance
98
Battery Life
97
Value
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Can be installed without using hardware

Super bright LED lights

Lights last up to 100,000 hours

Runs on 4 AA batteries

Decently water-resistant

Cons:

Some issues with suction cup

The Innovative Lighting Bow is one of the brighter options on our list. It features a red and green side which makes it compliant with international and European water laws. It can be installed just using a suction cup without hardware and it is relatively resistant to water.

Read more

Water-Resistant Design
The Innovative Lighting Bow Light features a single body mold with neoprene parts that make it shock resistant. Its design lends it to be water-resistant. However, if the light does get soaked (or decently wet at all), it is a good idea to remove it after use and allow it to dry out properly. This will prevent rust from forming on the inside.

To install these kayak lights, you can suction cup it to any area of your boat. It’s a good idea to secure a tether to it to ensure that it doesn’t get lost if it loses its suction suddenly. But that being said, this product is intended to float.

If you find that the suction cup isn’t working or that you want to ensure it is more secure, you can remove the suction cup and mount using hardware (not included with your purchase).

100,000 Hours of Light
This product features super-bright LED lights that rival most any product on the market today. The red and green lights meet international regulations, though you should double-check local regulations to ensure you are following them.

This product guarantees to deliver up to 100,000 hours of light, so you won’t have to worry about replacing the bulbs any time soon.

This device runs on 4 AA batteries which are not included with your purchase.

Cost and Value
The Innovative Lighting option rings up on the lower end of our price range and we love its value because it offers up tons of super-bright lighting that is also super long-lasting without breaking the bank. Plus, you can install it without hardware, making it a portable option for multiple watercraft.

5. Innovative Lighting Stern

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
 Innovative Lighting Inc.
Amazon Link
Application
96
Ease of Use
95
Water Resistance
96
Battery Life
94
Value
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.50
Pros:

Installed permanently or with suction cup

100,000 hours of LED light

Sealed on and off switch

Runs on 4 AA batteries

Water-resistant

Cons:

Issues with suction on suction cup

The Innovative Lighting Stern is similar to the Innovative Lighting Bow that we have featured above. Can you guess what the difference is? That’s right! This light is meant to be installed at the rear of the boat.

This option is brighter and is intended to shed light on your craft so that you can see better when trying to fish or tie knots on board.

Read more

On and Off Switch
The Innovative Lighting Stern features a heavy-duty switch that turns the light on and off. It is sealed to protect it from water damage in order to ensure that it continues to function when exposed to moisture over time.

The light on this product is a high-powered LED light that is designed to last for up to 100,000 hours.

This product requires 4 AA batteries which are not included with your purchase.

Water-Resistant
The Innovative Lighting Stern is decently water-resistant and can stand up to exposure to moisture over time. It is suggested that you take the light apart and remove the batteries to allow the device to dry out in order to avoid damaging rust.

While some experienced success with the suction cup, others have found that it doesn’t stay sealed to their kayak, especially if there are ridges in the kayak. Thus, you would be wise to secure it in an additional way if you don’t want to lose it.

To do this, you can either tether it to your kayak or you can remove the suction cup altogether and hardware install it onto your craft.

Cost and Value
The Innovative Lighting Stern rings up towards the bottom of our price range and we love its value because it is a cost-efficient option that provides longevity and easy installation at a lesser price point than others on the market.

6. Attwood Navigation Light Kit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Resistant Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit
Amazon Link
Application
98
Ease of Use
98
Water Resistance
97
Battery Life
92
Value
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$35.25
Pros:

Comes with 3 installation methods

Comes with bow and stern lights

Comes with all necessary hardware

150 hours of lights per battery set

Shatterproof lenses, sealed electronics

Cons:

C-clamps not super secure

The Attwood Kit is similar to the Attwood Boat Lights above, but it includes a few more installation options that might be appealing to a wider range of users and to a wider range of kayak needs. So if you are looking for Attwood quality, but a more permanent setup, then this is the kit for you.

Read more

3 Different Installation Options
The Attwood Kit comes with 3 different options for installation. The previous Attwood product on our list only came with the C-clamp installation option.
On this product, you will receive 3M permanent adhesive mounts. Before installing these, make sure the installation area is clean and dry.

You will also receive permanent mounts and all of the mounting hardware necessary to install the product bases permanently. We love that the bases can remain installed while you can remove the pole and light for ease in storage, transportation, and when not in use.

150 Hours of Light per Battery Set
The Attwood Light Kit runs on 3 AA batteries each. You get a white stern light and a red and green bow light. You will enjoy around 150 hours of light per each set of batteries used. Batteries are sold separately.

This kit also features lights with polycarbonate lenses that won’t shatter, and with all the electronics in a protective and waterproof casing.

Cost and Value
The Attwood rings up in the middle of our price range and we love its value because it offers a variety of different installation methods with all hardware included. Plus, the kit is super durable and can stand up to a heavy beating out on the water.

7. Deals4you LED

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Deals4you 4-Pack Portable Marine LED Boating Lights
Amazon Link
Application
93
Ease of Use
95
Water Resistance
92
Battery Life
93
Value
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$4.59
Pros:

Comes in a set of 4

Silicone casing helps water-resistance

Easy to install

S-clasps are secure

Cons:

Run through batteries quickly

This set of LED boating lights comes with 4 total lights that are meant to be installed at the bow of the kayak. This company also makes white stern lights but in the way that they have to be installed, they aren’t visible at 360 degrees so they aren’t quite regulation.

Read more

Comes in Set of 4
The Deals4you LED come in a set of 4. You will receive 2 red lights and 2 green lights. These are intended to be mounted at the bow. They are smaller than other products so you’ll want to be sure to install both greens together and both reds together for better visibility.

S-Clasp Installation is a Breeze
Installing the Deals4you LED Boating Lights takes no time. Wrap the flexible arms around any bar, eyelet, or bungee and you’ll be good to go. Secure the arms together with a sturdy and reliable S-clasp.
These are encased in silicone which makes them water-resistant.

Cost and Value
The Deals4you LED ring up at the very bottom of our price range and we love their value because they are easy to install and are a super cost-effective option.

8. YakAttack VISIpole II

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
YakAttack VISIpole II GearTrac Ready
Amazon Link
Application
96
Ease of Use
90
Water Resistance
93
Battery Life
95
Value
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$69.95
Pros:

Sits up tall for 360-degree visibility

Dual lighting feature with dimmer flag

Easy to install on gear tracs

Made from sturdy fiberglass

Runs on 3 AA batteries (included)

Cons:

Likely will replace light for brighter one

The YakAttack VISIpole II is the most premium light on our list. That being said, it is super durable and can be easily mounted on Scotty Gear Tracs as well as others. With a dual lighting and flag function, you’ll be able to adjust the lighting for your specific needs. But as far as kayak fishing lights, this is an impressive one.

Read more

Made from Sturdy Fiberglass
The YakAttack VISIpole II is not made from plastics like other items on the market. Instead, it is made from fiberglass. This material is strong and allows for some bend without snapping in half, just like a fiberglass fishing rod.

You can easily mount this product on Scotty Gear Tracs and on other gear tracs as well. It is a rail-mounted light and can only be mounted on rail mounts.

This product is decently water-resistant, though you’ll want to check that water isn’t pooling around the batteries and causing the springs to rust out every now and again.

The VISIpole II runs on 3 AA batteries. Your first set is included with your purchase.

Dual Lighting Options
The YakAttack VISIpole II is a true 360-degree visibility light. It stands 4 to 5 feet tall, depending on where you mount it on your craft. You can not adjust the height of this product.
The light that this product comes with is reported to be dull by some users, but you can buy replacement LED lights that shine much brighter for next to nothing.

If you are in a situation where you do not need tons of lighting, you can easily wrap the attached flag that your purchase comes with around the light for a dimmed lighting that will not attract as many bugs or scare away shy fish, while still letting others in kayaks see where you are. Do not obscure light around motorized vehicles.

Cost and Value
The YakAttack VISIpole II rings up at the very top of our price range but we love its value because it has a dual lighting feature and because it is longer lasting and more secure than many other available options on the market today.

9. Botepon

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Botepon Marine Boat Bow Lights
Amazon Link
Application
91
Ease of Use
95
Water Resistance
90
Battery Life
90
Value
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$11.99
Pros:

Comes with 2 LED lights per unit

Can be seen over a mile away

Easy to install and move between crafts

Long battery life, easy to replace

3 different lighting settings

Cons:

Can be damaged by water

The Botepon are a simple set of lights that can be easily installed on the front of your kayak to help with visibility and navigation. These lights are super-bright and can be seen from far away to ensure your safety after dark.

Read more

Lights Can Be Seen from Over a Mile Away
The Botepon are super bright and easy to see, no matter the conditions. In clearer conditions, the lights can be seen from over a mile away. In foggy conditions, visibility is a little less.

2 LED Lights in Each Unit
The Botepon features a red and green light. There are two LED lights in each unit. The lights have 3 separate functions and can flash rapidly, slowly, and stay on permanently. These functions are easy to manipulate.

Flashing mode allows batteries to last for up to 160 hours while the constant light mode allows batteries to last 35 hours. The CR2032 batteries are easy to find and replace.

These units easily install onto a bar, bungee, or eyelet with their flexible silicon arms and anchor. They are just as easy to remove when finished. Make sure that you have installed the lights on the correct sides of your boat for navigation and orientation purposes.

Cost and Value
These rings up at the very bottom of our price range and we love their value because they are easy to install, are super bright, and they come with a 1-year warranty.

10. Shoreline

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
 Shoreline Marine
Amazon Link
Application
90
Ease of Use
85
Water Resistance
98
Battery Life
85
Value
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.21
Pros:

Meets Coast Guard requirements for kayak

Super cost efficient option

2 installation methods

Can fold totally flat for ease in transport

Comes with long-lasting LED light

Cons:

Have to hook up to battery yourself

The Shoreline Marine Navigation Light is beloved by almost all users and is a great tool for keeping you safe on the water at night whether you are just using it to meet Coast Guard regulations or you are using it for visibility while you fish.

Read more

Great Visibility
The Shoreline Marine Navigation Light presents some great visibility so it is an excellent option for you to turn to if you are looking for light while fishing at night, or if you are going to be in a heavily trafficked waterway and want to ensure that others can see your vessel to avoid collisions.

This product comes with a 1004 LED lightbulb with your purchase. These bulbs are efficient and long-lasting. Many reviewers have been using this product for more than 5 years without needing to replace the lightbulb.

However, if you find that you do need to replace the bulb for any reason, you can reorder bulbs from Shoreline Marine or from pretty much anywhere that sells LED lightbulbs.

With the bulb that is provided, you will enjoy visibility at 360 degrees. This product meets the United States Coast Guard requirements for lighting of vessels that are under 39 feet long.

You can fold this light flat when it is not in use to make transporting your kayak easier and to ensure that the light doesn’t break off.

Easy to Install
The Shoreline is easy to install and provides a few options to make installation even more straightforward.

Standard, you can hardware mount this light on a flat surface using its predrilled holes. This product does not come with mounting hardware, however.

With your purchase, you’ll also receive an adapter that allows you to install the light on an angled surface as well.

This product is not battery powered, though it can be hooked up to a battery. It comes with 2 wires that reviewers hooked up to a 12V battery to use on their kayaks.

Because there is not a switch on this light, as long as the light is connected to the battery and the battery is on, the light will be on.

Cost and Value
The Shoreline rings up at the bottom of our price range and we love its value because it provides tons of visibility without a huge footprint. It is also super inexpensive and meets Coast Guard requirements, all you need is a little ingenuity and a 12V battery.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Application

When selecting the products for this Ten Best List, we looked at the application of each product. When considering the application, we looked at whether or not each meets the United States Coast Guard regulations for vessels.

As a general rule, the colored green and red lights are meant to be used in the front of the craft (or the bow), and the white lights are meant to be used on the rear of the craft (or the stern). Rear white lights need to be visible from 360 degrees to comply fully with maritime regulations.

Ease of Use

Here we considered how easy each is to install and then to operate.

We feature portable products that are easy to be installed and uninstalled with carabineers, suction cups, and S-clasps around hardware or features that are already on your kayak.
We also feature products that are more permanent and are intended to be installed using hardware.

We consider a product very easy to use if it has a switch that is easily accessible and functional.

Water Resistance

This was a major consideration as these kayak lights are intended to be used on the water. A few of our featured products are 100% waterproof while others are simply water-resistant.

Battery Life

This is an important key as all of our featured products are battery-powered. We work to provide the number and style of battery needed, as well as if those batteries are included and how long they are estimated to last.

Value

As always, we want to deliver products with the best value. We do feature a few more premium-priced items, but most are super affordable and perform the same functions almost as well.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
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expert tips icon
Adhesive and Suction Mounts

If you have purchased a kayak light that is intended to be mounted using adhesives or suction cups, please keep a few things in mind as you approach the installation process.

If you are using adhesive mounts, make sure that you have thoroughly cleaned the area in which you plan to apply the adhesive. Applying adhesive to a dirty surface will compromise the longevity of the adhesive. You will, of course, want to also ensure that the area is totally dry before you adhere it.

If you are using suction cup mounts, you’ll actually look for a little moisture to help to secure the suction cup. Some users even towel on a bit of oil to help stick the suction cup.

But whichever method you’re using, know that these types of mounts are known to come loose and disengage when they get super wet or when they are knocked with something like a paddle. Because of this, it is wise to attach a tether or leash to the lights to ensure that if they do fall off, they aren’t lost to the deep, dark waters.

Always Check Local Rules and Regulations

There are very precise lighting regulations across the world and for specific areas of the world as well. There are different expectations for the bow and stern lights of a boat, as well as the brightness of lights for boat size, and the color of lights that you need.

While some of these regulations are standard, it is always wise to read up on local rules and expectations so that you can be sure you adhere to these standards.

It is also important to know local and standard regulations so that you don’t unintentionally signal distress or danger. Because some LED lights are used for a variety of purposes, they may come with settings that are not appropriate for use in larger bodies of water. Keep this in mind.

Other Factors to Consider

Durability

Here we considered how well a product can stand up over time and how well the mounting features of each kayak light works and remains secure.

Portability

Here we considered whether a product must be permanently mounted or if it can be moved from kayak to kayak if you need it to.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Should I remove the batteries when my light is not in use?

a:

Simply put, yes. There are a few reasons for this.

For one, some of the lights on our list are only water-resistant and not waterproof. Thus, if you get water into your lights (which you likely will either from waves, splashes, fog, or precipitation), you’re going to want to make sure you give your lights a chance to dry out. This will help to prevent rusting inside which will ensure your lights work for longer.

Secondly, many of these lights don’t come with on and off switches, and those that do can accidentally be pressed to the on position when not in use. This is a huge waste of batteries. So in order to preserve the life of your batteries and your pocketbook, go ahead and remove those puppies when they’re not in use.

q: Can I use a stern light at the bow of the boat?

a:

If you are operating your kayak in heavily trafficked areas where there are motorized crafts, the answer to this is no. A stern light at the bow would indicate a different orientation and could result in a collision.

If you are in more isolated waters where you won’t be encountering motorized crafts, you should feel at liberty to do so.

q: Where can I find information about lighting regulations for my area?

a:

Check out the United States Coast Guard’s website. They have all lighting regulations broken down for each type of vessel. Regulations for kayaks are generally broken down to include “under paddle” vessels that are less than 20 feet.

Sources

  1. Kayalu Contributing Writers, Recommendations: Kayak Lights , Article
  2. Yak Gear Contributing Writers, Legal Regulations on Kayak, Canoe, and SUP Lighting, Article
  3. US Coast Guard Boating Safety Authority , Frequently Asked Questions, Article