If you have a dock on your property, you know how important it is to light the area properly. Even if you’re not planning to take a boat out in the evening, docks can become central social areas. Adults and children alike may fall into the water if the area on and around your boat dock is not appropriately lit.
We’re here to break down the best dock lighting options, both with safety and appearance in mind. We want you to find lights that not only illuminate the way at night but also stay subtle during the day.
Before you get started, ask yourself key questions about your lighting project. For example, do you want solar lights or lights with electrical wiring? Solar dock lights don’t require a transformer and can be easier to install and maintain. But, if you use only solar lights, you may run into problems on days that aren’t sunny: you’ll still need a transformer and wires to charge your solar lights on those days. Electrical wiring can be more difficult to install and maintain, but you don’t have to worry about how much battery power your lights have left.
Let’s walk through the best ideas for how to light up your dock. We hope you find inspiration for your own lighting projects here.
1. Recessed Dock Lighting
There are some basic necessities when it comes to dock lighting. First, it needs to be waterproof and weatherproof. Second, it should ideally outline the edges of your dock so no one is in danger of falling off the side. Recessed lighting is perfect for this purpose: the lights can be installed flush with the surface of your dock. Put these lights along its edges, on stairs, or in a creative pattern.
To achieve this look, we recommend DEKOR’s recessed LED Dock Dots, available in a 4-pack or a kit. These low-voltage lights are designed specifically for use on docks, so they are durable and easy to install.
2. Dock Stair Lighting
If there are stairs on or around your dock, you’ll want to make sure they are properly lit. One step in the wrong direction could mean a swim in the lake, so stair lighting (and lighting around any other obstacles on the dock) is especially important. Stair lights like these ones rotate to a 30-degree angle within their housings, so they properly illuminate each step.
3. Lights for Posts or Pilings
If your dock has posts or pilings, make use of them! While you may still want some recessed lighting along the dock, post-mounted lights or post caps can illuminate the walkway leading to your dock as well as the dock itself.
Install simple directional post lamps in pilings along your dock to make it easier to find if you’re boating in the dark or low-visibility conditions. Or, if you want to go the solar route, consider solar post cap lights for any posts along your dock.
4. Port and Starboard Lights
This is one of the most functional dock lighting ideas: add colored lights to indicate port and starboard (AKA left and right) on your boat dock. DEKOR sells this as a special 2-pack – with one green light and one red light – so you can navigate back to your dock and know which side is which without issue.
5. Colored LED Dock Lights
Dock lights don’t have to be boring. Of course, you have the option for red and green port/starboard lights, but why stop there? There’s a range of colors you can use to add mood lighting to your dock area and create patterns to draw people in.
6. Dimmable Dock Lights
When you’re out on the water at dusk or at night, you may want your dock lights to be extra bright, so you can find a way home. But if you’re socializing on or near your dock, it’s possible you may want dimmer lights, both to conserve energy and so that your guests don’t have lights shining directly in their eyes.
Find a variety of options for dimmers, timers, and motion controllers – so your dock lights only turn on when people approach your dock – here.
We hope these ideas help you design a new lighting plan for your dock. All of DEKOR’s lights recommended here are easily installable, eco-friendly, and compatible with our Plug N Play technology. Get started on your next lighting project today!