When it comes to the upper echelons of superyacht design, implementing the correct lighting is as crucial as packing a coat for a charter in the Baltics. Any yachtie worth their (sea) salt knows that correctly illuminating your eye-catching new build is an important factor. For many, the solution comes in the form of LED lights, which are compact and extremely bright, making them highly efficient, safe and versatile. LED underwater lighting can improve visibility above and below deck. To capitalise on these qualities, lighting specifications are best decided at the beginning of the build process, which is why it’s crucial you have an experienced team involved, in order to achieve your desired results. Sarah Douglas, Key Account Manager at OceanLED says: “Underwater lighting is an integral part of the yacht’s overall image. Clients are becoming more and more involved and therefore lighting has become an important consideration.”
In order to uncover the secrets to the ultimate underwater lighting look, we spoke further with Sarah, who laid out her seven rules for putting together a successful lighting specification on a new build.Consider your timing
“The biggest tip I can offer – and one that should govern all others – is to discuss the desired lighting effect and requirements as early as possible, especially if it is something unique,” says Sarah. ”Whether it is an Ice or Polar Class vessel or the client’s first foray into owning a superyacht, it is important to do your due diligence.”
Although timing varies from spec to spec, cofferdams for the lights are welded into the hull at the early stages of a build. This means lighting providers are usually involved in projects early via the yard or integrator. “For us, the ideal time to join a project would always be at the concept and design stage,” she adds.
Be smart about costs
When it comes to costs, those organising their underwater lighting at the eleventh hour will miss out. According to Sarah, “By starting on the spec early, we can explore all the options available, taking into account the original vision of the client and designer. It also allows us to draw on the latest technology to ensure the requirements of the client are met.” Crucially, “early involvement can also help to keep the costs down as any challenges can be foreseen and avoided.”
Don’t be afraid to innovate
“Superyachts are continuously breaking new ground in terms of design and technology, and OceanLED does not shy away from new ideas – in fact, we relish them,” says Sarah.
For those who aren’t afraid to experiment, it is important to work with a company that understands how to deliver the latest innovations in underwater lighting tech. “To achieve the desired underwater lighting effect there are an array of technical attributes to consider and a range of benefits an OceanLED customer can choose from; it’s not always just about brightness and price.”
Advancing your approach to underwater lighting could mean anything from employing angled optics to creating a halo of light around your boat - either way, OceanLED’s team have over 16 years of experience and are ready to take on the challenge. Talk to your construction team, be creative and discover the best options for your new build. “OceanLED’s Explore range has been specifically developed to deliver the desired lighting effect for superyachts. The product range utilises advanced angled optics, which counter any variance in hull shape, to create an even and far-reaching halo of light around the boat.”
Explore your options early on
How close together would you like your lights? What is the desired effect? Consider your options and really think about what you want your end result to be. If you research your preferred lighting and get it right early on, it will save a lot of money and time further down the line.
One of the most important things to consider here is the spacing of lights because this will impact the quantity and you’ll be able to figure out whether the allocated number of lights can deliver your required effects. “Tank and void locations are also important,” says Douglas. “Ask yourself: ‘Do I have an underwater light solution to deal with this effectively without the need to haul the yacht?’”
Allow more time for complex projects
“Sometimes the internal layout of the vessel or shape of the hull present challenges which require regular consultations between myself, our project engineers and the client, to adjust and amend the proposal as it develops,” explains Sarah. The length of time underwater lighting specification takes, really depends on how complicated the project is. “Our project team can cater for any type of project and indeed, everything in between.”
Ensure your yacht utilises optics well
OceanLED was the first company to design and produce LED underwater lights. As such, it’s no surprise their advanced optics are a source of envy industry-wide. “If your underwater lights aren’t utilising optics to control the light’s penetration into the water, then the effect simply won’t be maximised,” adds Sarah.
You should also consider fixture lumens. “They are important in terms of how bright your light can be, but optics control this light and mean that minimal light is lost. OceanLED’s products deliver maximum in-water penetration and spread of light, and do so using less power.”
Find a lighting company you trust
The best outcome for your yacht will require a close collaboration with the custom project team, and they should be able to provide you with a clear illustration of the expected result.
“We use the 2D drawings and 3D models of the hull to ensure the location and angling of the lights reflects the requirement. A good relationship and a high level of trust between the client and ourselves is also paramount. We are especially mindful of how important the end result is to the client,” Douglas concludes.
Find out more about OceanLED and its range of lighting solutions by contacting the company directly via the information found below.
Unit 1 Jacknell Road
Dodwells Bridge Industrial Estate
LE10 3BS Hinckley
T: +44 1455 637505