Add a Little Light

Our boat had a few “dark corners” – especially two in the galley.

What with moving aboard, cleaning the boat up from her summer in storage and various projects we needed to do before launching her, running wires and adding lights just wasn’t in the picture.

But neither was using a flashlight to peer into a pan as I was cooking.

Dot itMy answer was to get a couple of battery-operated stick-up LED lights. The ones I got – the Sylvania Dot-Its – have 3 LEDs each and run on 3 AAA batteries. You mount them with stick-on Velcro (included) so that you can take them down to change the batteries. You tap the center of the light to turn it on and off – it took me a few tries to get the feel for where to tap to have the light stay on.

I was limited to a 3” diameter light by the area I had to mount them. If you can go 4 inches in diameter, the Energizer Hardcase LED light that runs off 3 AA batteries puts out somewhat more light but requires mounting with 3 screws.

I’ll admit, the Dot-Its aren’t perfect (my biggest objection is that it can take a couple of taps to get the light to stay on) but they do put out enough light to make a major difference in seeing something versus not seeing.

I’m using the alkaline batteries that came with the lights and it’s been almost a month with no decrease in light outpput; when I replace them I’ll use lithium batteries and was told that a set could last four to six months or more, depending on usage.

Best of all, they were installed and working in about two minutes – and that includes removing them from the package and deciding where to put them. Be sure to open up the back and remove the tab covering one of the battery terminals – they won’t work until you do.

Dot It 2 The Dot-Its come in both silver and black – if you’re putting several in one area, be sure to check the color (I didn’t realize this and got one of each as they were stocked together). They’re a “bright white” light, not a warm white.

I got my lights at Home Depot for just over $5 each. They and the Energizer lights (which cost about double) are also available on Amazon, along with several other styles of battery-powered stick up lights. Ideal if you need a quick solution for a dark corner!

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  • Dawn Turek
    Posted at 30 October 2014 Reply

    We downsized boats recently & I think the Dot – it light will help the galley for me. I think I’ll add one to the hanging locker. It has teak grate so I should be able to see if left on. Also, I need a pic of commode seat fix you posted a few months ago for the captain.

  • Sue
    Posted at 30 October 2014 Reply

    They are great for dark corners but sometimes we forgotto turn ours off so now we use wired in little LEDstrips. It is harder to run the house batteries down.

  • Susan Lynn
    Posted at 30 October 2014 Reply

    Good idea Carolyn. I’ve seen these and wondered if the light would be bright enough. Another concern is the dampness – I’ve had batteries leak because of being so close to the water. Need to check them even if they are not ready to be changed.

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 30 October 2014 Reply


    The covers come off and a few layers of translucent packing tape inside make them dandy night lights in the head. It makes it easy to find your way around (*ahem*) without completely ruining your night vision.

  • Terri Zorn
    Posted at 30 October 2014 Reply

    I love love those. Not sure of the brand we have; as they are several years old but they have hi/low push light settings. We have attached ours with Velcro or double stick tape….so we can move them about easily. Used as counter,locker,and cockpit foot lights.,even as a handy little flashlite. So easy and inexpensive: no wiring required. 🙂

  • Norm Pettett
    Posted at 30 October 2014 Reply

    Similar lights of a different brand run about nine dollars for a three pak at truckstops.

  • Michelle
    Posted at 30 October 2014 Reply

    We tried to use these on our new boat this summer and found they will only stick to surfaces that are hard wood or laminate, but not vinyl or padded surfaces. I even tried extra-strength adhesive. It stays stuck for about an hour and then the light falls off. Other than screwing them on, does anyone have any other ideas?

  • Susan Wilson
    Posted at 31 October 2014 Reply

    We use them as well, but be warned, they do not stay up long in Keys heat and humidity.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 31 October 2014 Reply

      Funny you mention that . . . just had one fall down a couple minutes ago. Put it back up with Command Strips.

    • Susan Wilson
      Posted at 31 October 2014 Reply

      Lol! It took us a couple of minutes to figure out what it was, the first time. We would put them back up initially and then just carted them around, much like a flashlight, but did not want to hang them more permanently yet because we hope that wiring will be a soon upcoming project.

  • Bruce
    Posted at 31 October 2014 Reply

    I looked for these here in the Philippines but could not find them. Instead I got a bunch of strap on headlights that run on AAAs and put them up with velcro. They have two white light settings and red LEDs as well (that also flash). The cost was a bit under $4. If you use them as headlights while painting and get paint on the lens, cleaning the paint off with solvent results in a frosted glass effect – if one wants dimmer lights.

  • Val Truch
    Posted at 01 November 2014 Reply

    We bought 3 for outside but only installed one so far. We use them for safety as some islands have bad reputation. the one we bought have a sensor so if anyone walks in the cockpit at night, it turns on. One good thing about one of the 3 is that is has a magnet so we can put it outside only at night and keep it inside during the day or in safe islands.

  • Barbara Lowell
    Posted at 09 January 2015 Reply

    I have a version of these that has a hook on it that I hang on my closet rod and it helps sorting thru the hangers to find something. Also have found Dollar Tree and Harbor Freight have great versions of these and usually you can get a 20% discount coupon toward any purchase, even sale items, at Harbor Freight. Of course its all made in China but so’s most other stores these days. They work well for a long time. HF offers a free one that is very bright, two settings, when you make ANY purchase if you get the coupon. Thanx for all your wonderful hints, they are so fun to read and help us make life easier.

  • Colin Mombourquette
    Posted at 23 February 2016 Reply

    They work great. Also picked up an inexpensive motion-activated LED light and mounted it so that it automatically lights up when you step into the companion way. Also lights up the area of the master switch and circuit breakers. Great for when returning to the boat after dark.

  • Connie Smith
    Posted at 23 February 2016 Reply

    Awesome idea, Carolyn Shearlock. I am going to Home Depot tomorrow. Love your sharing posts!

  • Carolyn Brown Fuller
    Posted at 24 February 2016 Reply

    I’ve been using these for a year. Motion activated. One in the head for night visits and put them in all the cabinets (under sinks, etc). Loving the light and don’t have to turn them on.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 24 February 2016 Reply

      Great idea. I’ve never seen them but they’d be great in a couple of spots!

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