Cockpit Light or Night Light

By Carolyn Shearlock, copyright 2013 . All rights reserved.

Candle-with-timerWhen we purchased Que Tal, we were sort of surprised to find that the previous owners left a bunch of large candles on board.  We couldn’t imagine using them — the fire hazard, heat in the boat, getting blown out or bumped if in the cockpit and more.  We eventually traded them to some fishermen who can’t always get batteries in the remote fish camps and wanted some backups for their flashlights.

My friend Robin on The Cat’s Meow came up with a much better solution that I saw on our recent trip to visit them.  A battery-powered LED “candle”!  Even if one of her cats knocked one over, it was no big deal — no burned kitty and no blazing boat.

Unfortunately, the photos that I took of them turned out a total blur as I forgot to turn the flash on.  But I loved them — just a nice soft light with no heat, no fire hazard, and much nicer looking than many of the small LED lights I see.

She used them both as a night light in the head and had one on the galley table in the evening. The one on the galley table was on a timer so that if you were off the boat after sunset, there was a little bit of light as you were coming back aboard.

I can also see having one in the cockpit of a sailboat or the top deck of a trawler as the sun goes down — just enough light to move safely (and see drinks or snacks) but not enough to interfere with stargazing.

The candles with a timer typically come on at the same time every day for a set number of hours — typically 4, 5 or 6.  Otherwise they come with a simple on/off switch.

votivesThey also come in a variety of sizes and shapes, ranging from small votives to ones that are 3″ in diameter and 6″ tall. Shorter ones have less of a tendency to tip over with the motion of a boat and are easier to store when underway.  Some look more realistic than others as well.

The primary difference in brands is how energy efficient they are — some brands will only last a few nights despite supposedly using LEDs.  Combining an energy efficient design with lithium batteries, other brands/models will go 6 months on a single set of batteries.  Another option is to use rechargables (make sure to choose ones that use AA or AAA batteries and not button types).

The “Inglow” brand gets consistently high marks across all their models and is available on Amazon.  Interestingly, they are not the highest priced with the votives being a great deal at just over $2 each (no timer) with batteries included (larger candles cost more):

NOTE that if you buy ones with batteries included, there is often a clear plastic protective strip over the batteries so they won’t discharge before they are purchased — be sure to remove it or the candle won’t work.

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Comments

  1. We had one on our previous boat and it melted while we were away. Now that we live aboard and (theoretically) keep the boat a more wax friendly temperature… maybe we should revisit the flameless candles. Thanks for the addition of one more thing to the wish list! : )

  2. I use some solar garden lights – they charge the battery during the day and at dusk I put them around the salon roof to light the side walk ways. At bedtime I put two on the stern to light the swim steps; two to light the cockpit’ one in the head; and one to light the stair from the starboard (owner berth) into the salon. They use soft LEDs – sort of like bug lights. I have them mounted in 2″X6″X9″ wood blocks with a simple hole in the center of the block so they can easily be moved. It would be nice if they had switches for the lights so you could charge them without them coming on at night (they are low light sensitive). When I replace them, I will likely look for a white LED as my partner does not like the color of the current lights.

  3. Chuck Burns on Facebook says:

    Thanks… We had seen them at a restaurant and wondered where to get them..Amazon of course!!!

  4. Amber Amodei on Facebook says:

    This is a great idea!

  5. We have a set of these, and love them! They are real wax, in a very thin coating around a plastic base, so they feel just like real candles. They were a gift from friends, who purchased them at Costco. The batteries last a looooooong time, so they must be the better brand.

  6. I’ve been happily using LED wax candles on our boats and our home for years.
    I’ve always selected the real wax, timers, life-like flame, etc.
    But last year I too had a “melt down” with them in the 100 degree heat of Mexico!
    However, I found that Cost Plus / World Market stores in the U.S. carry a LED candle that is designed for the outdoors. It looks like wax, until you pick it up, and it is actually very light and a hard plastic.Perfect for the boat when things go flying around! All different sizes with timers and life-like flame/flicker.

  7. I’ve used these also…I like to keep one on in the salon while we sleep…if something goes bump in the night and you need to get up fast, its nice to have a little bit of light while you’re pulling on your pants. The one we had was from costco…lasts forever on its batt.

  8. Yes great idea! We purchased some of these LED candles through The Boat Galley website and just love them too! Thanks for recommending them.

  9. Didn’t know you could get scented ones, thank you!

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