Lighting Company Shares Tips for Boat Dock Lighting

Weekends at the lake house during the summer make for memories that last a lifetime. Sunbathing, swimming, fishing, boating, skiing, kayaking, and wind sailing are a few of the exciting activities that await the arrival of each weekend. The water can be a source of great fun and relaxation, but it can also be the cause of serious injury especially if docks doesn’t have a good lighting systems. Following safety guidelines, paying attention, and avoiding risk keep the time at the lake safe, fun, and relaxing.

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Research into boating accidents in Georgia yields sobering results. According to one source, accidents most often occur when inexperienced boaters encounter dangerous or unfamiliar conditions and when experienced boaters are not paying attention to the safety of their passengers. One way to help prevent boating accidents is to evaluate the beginning and end of the boating experience — the dock. Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Marietta offers tips to make the dock much safer for boaters.

Water and electricity do not mix.

Boat docks are continuously exposed to the elements and so are the electronics on the dock, such as dock lights or a motorized boat lift. Some docks undergo extensive wear and tear and need constant inspection to ensure conditions are safe. Stray ropes, strings, and rigging can conduct electricity if they are exposed to electrical circuits. Have an electrician inspect the dock’s electrical system at least twice annually, even if the system appears to be functioning correctly. Make sure the lighting and the boat lift are operating safely and properly. Identify and repair corrosion, breaks, and shorts.

Light the way to and from the dock.

Illuminate the pathway or walkway to and from the dock. No one wants to take a misstep and plunge into the water. Navigating dark waters while disoriented or injured from an unexpected fall may create a life-threatening situation.

Light the water’s edge.

Installing lights along the water’s edge adds ambiance and boosts curb appeal. The aesthetic effect and visual impact can be stunning, and these lights also help to illuminate the area for safety.

Follow these pro tips for dock lighting safety and boat traffic.

Tip #1: Use above-deck colored lighting.

Above-deck colored lighting can make for a safer boating experience. Safe nighttime docking requires high visibility, and dock lighting should be sufficient in both good and bad weather. Install green lights on the entrance side of the dock and red lights on the other side. Even if colored lights are not used on the dock, group or configure lighting so that a boater can discern where to dock the boat.

Tip #2: Illuminate the end of the dock.

The last thing anybody wants is to bump into a dock that is poorly lit and damage the boat.

Tip #3: Avoid tall, bright lights.

Lights along the dock are an indispensable safety feature. However, tall, bright lights are ineffective and can be dangerous. These lights can blind the boat captain, and they make it difficult to see the edge of the dock.  Install lights between 24 to 35 inches high. This height gives the boater enough illumination to clearly see other boats and the dock edge without being blinded by glare or shadows.

Consider underwater dock lights.

Luminous underwater LED dock lights are cost-effective and last for 100,000 hours. Eight hours of use each day translates into about thirty-four years. They light up the water and create a pleasant ambiance while making foot traffic safer. The gentle light from these fixtures attracts insects and baitfish, enhancing fishing from the dock. Murky water requires brighter lights for better penetration. The shorter wavelength of green or blue LED light achieves greater penetration before the beams begin to scatter.

Avoid hazards that lighting cannot solve.

Docks create living space over the water. These safety tips focus on the dock itself and hazards that lighting may or may not overcome.

  1. Replace all planking that is uneven, splintered, or rotten. Uneven or warped planking can cause tripping and falling, and weakened or rotten boards can break or collapse, causing serious injury.
  2. Inspect the pier and boat dock for screws or nails that become raised and can cause a fall hazard. Expansion and contraction may cause screws and nails to work their way out of the wooden planks, posing a danger of puncture wounds and trip and fall injuries.
  3. Implement a sound and safe boat launching and docking protocol where duties are assigned to specific people who know how to complete the tasks they have been assigned. A misstep while docking a boat can lead to a broken bone, the loss of limbs, or serious injuries from contact with a moving propeller. Have fun, but be careful!
  4. Maintain adequate life saving equipment at the dock, including a first aid kit and LED flashlights in case of a power outage.


The perfect dock lighting will vary depending on individual needs and aesthetic goals. Shadows, glare, dark water, and poorly illuminated traffic areas can create unnecessary hazards at the lake house and waterfront. A consultation with a lighting professional from Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Marietta can enhance the beauty, enjoyment, and safety of waterfront property.

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For more information about landscape lighting design and installation, visit Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Marietta on the web at Contact the office by phone at (678) 616-9166.

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