The Guide to Buying the Best Lights for Your Duck Hunting Boat
Navigating the flooded timber and cattails can be a tough task to accomplish without the proper lighting. We'll talk through the ins and outs of key features you should consider when looking for lights for your duck hunting boat.
When I first started duck hunting I would use a Q beam spot light to navigate through the marshes at night. It got the job done, but over time I started to get tired of having to hold the spot light up while keeping one hand on the tiller to drive through the marsh. In addition to this, I spent most of my time duck hunting in saltwater and the cigarette lighter plug would corrode and I would constantly have to wiggle and rotate it in the outlet to get it to make a good connection.
Eventually, I started looking to other hands free options that were more corrosion resistant. I'll save you the time from making the same mistakes I made by walking you through key features to look out for and consider before purchasing lights for your duck hunting boat.
Light Spread: Eliminate Shadows
Lights for duck hunting boats are unique because they need to shine a long ways ahead, but they also need to do a good job at lighting up the flooded timber, reeds, and misc brush on each side of the navigation channel. Sometimes these channels are wide, other times they are extremely tight and narrow.
Lights to Avoid:
- Avoid focused "spot style" lights that solely shine a long distance.
- Avoid dispersed "flood style" lights that solely flood the sides and don't shine a long ways forward.
You want a light for your duck hunting boat that is a combination of spot and flood. It's important to see far ahead, but it's equally as important to be able to see off to each side of your boat.
If you're on a budget, you can get away with a single light facing forwards that has good long range distance with some side to side flood to it. If you want the best performance possible, then I would consider a light facing forwards and then two more lights: one on the left side at a 45 degree angle and one on the right side at a 45 degree angle. This will help you stay hands free while navigating to your duck hunting spot.
Best Lighting Option:
The DuraNav Duck Boat Light is a great option that offers an extremely long range spot beam that shines over 1,000 yards, yet still has enough flood to it to illuminate the banks on each side of your duck hunting boat.
Moisture Blocking: Condensation Causes Premature Failure
Condensation is one of the most difficult problems to handle, and it is most prevalent in your cheaper light bars. Once condensation begins, your light is literally a ticking time bomb. It could continue working for the next year or two or it could literally stop working any minute.
I made the mistake of purchasing a cheap Amazon light bar, which ended up filling with water after the first couple of trips.
Once moisture overcame my light bar, it quit working after roughly 8 more trips. I think I was able to get a total of 4-5 weeks of life out of it total. That being said, I was duck hunting pretty heavily. I ended up taking the light bar apart and the inside of the light was full of corrosion.
Cheaper isn't always better.
After several years of running 2x DuraNav Duck Boat Lights on the front of a duck boat, you can rest assured you won't have issues with condensation. They are priced well and hold up as good or better than the high end brands.
Easy Wiring: Plug and Play
Marine wiring is a completely different beast than wiring your house, car or truck. Spending the time and money to get your marine wiring right the first time will prevent many issues down the road.
AVOID DT Plugs / Deutsch Connector Plugs
Many light bars (especially Chinese made cheap ones) come with a "DT plug" or "Deutsch Connector Plug".
- "DT plugs" or "Deutch Connector Plugs" are crimp pin-style connectors
- They are not waterproof, water can penetrate through the front of the connection (yes even though there is a orange o-ring) and it can also penetrate through the back of the plug.
- Once a crimped pin inside the grey plug starts to corrode, the wire itself will corrode and break off.
- If you are stuck with a light that has this plug, I would immediately cut the plug off and solder the connections yourself; then wrap the connections with adhesive heatshrink.
If you want something plug and play - go with something that was built for the marine environment such as our building block wire harness.
INSTEAD OF DT CONNECTORS, USE THIS Marine Light Bar Wiring: Building Block Wire Harness
- Injection molded plug and play system
- Wires are factory sealed via injection molding, connectors utilize a silicone O-ring and threaded coupling over the top of the connection for added durability.
- Compatible with the DuraNav Duck Boat Light
The building block wire harness system was created after having continuous problems with the conventional DT plug system when used on boats. The DT plug system can work well on cars and trucks that are not heavily exposed to water, but is not a good long term solution for boats. The building block wire harness is without a doubt the only way to go when considering plug and play wiring for your duck hunting boat.
The DuraNav Duck Boat Light can be wired in seconds, with building block wire harness injection molded connections that are proven to hold up to the marsh.
DuraNav Duck Boat Light
- Perfect balance of a spot and flood combination that shines over 1,000 yards yet still casts a wide enough beam close to the boat to navigate through wooded areas.
- Impact resistant, condensation proof housing ensures you'll be lighting up the water for days on end.
- Power flexible - compatible with 12/24V DC
- Compatible with plug and play building block wire harness - makes wiring a breeze with water tight injection molded connections.