Lighting for kayaks question:

I will be kayaking after sunset in the near future and would like suggestions on lighting for my kayak. Safety first, cost second. (I will be in an area where there may be power boats) NM

got mine from
an Old Town dealer, so if I remember correctly it is a Carlisle, but I could be wrong. It is a pole about 2 1/2 or 3 ft long with a light on the top powered by 2 D cell batteries. Attaches by a mount that is inserted into about a 1" hole you drill into the top deck of your boat and is easily installed and removed.

Used mine a couple of times this year and could notice the power boats and pwc turning away from me long before I felt the need to panic and jump ship.

Cost was about $100.00 Cdn, but there are probably many different manufacturers and price ranges. I read a while back that the ones powered by smaller batteries should be stayed away from.

removeable lights
I use the inflatable-mount bow & stern lights.

DTBH system
I am very pleased with a lighting system based on the Downtown Boathouse’s research (on the Hudson at Manhattan):

I got my system from New York Kayak Company (, and it is holding up nicely.

– Mark

in an area with power boats

– Last Updated: Sep-16-07 10:48 AM EST –

if you are where power boats are then you really should have running lights on 100% of the time instead of the minimal "white torch to shine in time to avoid collision",,that minimum is legal but the white light won't prevent collision UNLESS every boat on a collision course with you has time to react and respond in time. The whole thing about "shining a white light in time" is that it leaves you totally dependant on their reaction time and the intensity of your light.

I don't know of any kayak running light that is as bright, long running, submersible and not likely to be dislodged in a rescue.

Using the above red/green light with any aft shining white light should do it. The aft white light is supposed to be 135degree. I've used various Princeton Tec flashlights pointing aft.

Second those
Very good, very reliable, long battery life, and they stay on after a roll. Not to mention that they make you look like a much larger boat after dark.

I toss in a 3-cell maglight (D-cells) to light the bow and stern from inside. The entire plastic boat glows in the dark.

I also hang a glo-stick from my PFD and otehrs from the bow & stern over the side where they can be seen but don’t blind me.

Plus I have an old tent-pole stuck in a hole I drilled in my stern deck and hung a while glo-stick there.

Mine died
after 2 evening paddles. They don’t seem to be waterproof, my battery compartment was totally flooded. Did you use silicone or anything to protect them?


in addition
to all the above posts, I recommend a nice million power spotlight. Comes in handy getting the carbon monoxide infused, alcohol saturated powerboat skippers attention. I shine mine down at the water, not at their boat, just to let them now I’m there. Sometimes the normal lighting just blends in with the shore.

This probably isn’t what you want, BUT…
…I have a NiteRider Trail Rat headlamp that i bought for mountain biking. You can either mount it to your bike, to your helmet, or to your hat. They make a nice headband that fits over your cap. Although i bought it for biking, i mostly use it for night snowshoeing. It will light up the world, and some of them come with different brightness settings.

The reason i mention it here is because it does have some nice features, is rechargable and has a long battery life. And, they are really bright if what you need is to see things or be seen. They are expensive.

all they have are torches
I need a flashlight

Re: Lighting for kayaks question
It might be worth taking a look at the regulations.

Part C, Rule 25 seems to be relevant.

I just use them like they are. There is a rubber O ring on the lens bezel that needs to be seated properly when you put the batteries in. We have two sets that are several years old, and they haven’t leaked a drop. I think maybe you got a lemon.


state laws
I use a tec-lite mounted on a three foot piece of pvc that attaches to deck cord plus running lights.

It should be noted that the lighting is a matter of state law so it matters where you paddle…I learned the hard way ($100 fine) that in NH it was not sufficient to “have a light ready to shine in time to avoid collision”–it needed to be visible 360 degrees and four miles.

Wal-Mart El-Cheapo Headlamp
is what I use. Frees up the hands, is 3 feet above the waterline, and can be seen miles away. As a back up I had a waterproof lamp which is permanently attached to my PFD. It too doesn’t cost a arm or leg ($9.00 at West Marine)

Any day on the water is a great day,


anchor light
curious how that is distinguished from an anchor light.

can be seen miles away
if you’re looking in that direction, from behind you’re still in stealth mode.

Anyone of the Princeton Tec LED submersible lights tethered and under the aft deck bungies and pointing aft will work as well. For anyone within 90degrees straight aft will see a bright white light with spill over beyond that onto the aft deck for those to the sides. The little 3led Attitude is brigther than the ubiquitous ACR 360white light and will burn for days as opposed the 10hrs on the ACR incandescent.