There are many options for external lighting on your narrowboat. Available power will be the key factor in which option is best to be fitted to your narrow boat.

Tunnel lights on a narrow boat, functional as well as practical if travelling at night or through a tunnel
LED tunnel lights on a narrowboat
Navigation lights are a requirement of Maritime Law for some narrowboats

External Lighting… An Introduction

As we have seen from reading the DC and AC lighting section, it’s all about your narrowboat power availability. There is no reason why you should not be retro fitting or designing from scratch, an external lighting point on your narrow boat.

If you have the amps, get the light. Look for units rated IP 44 as a minimum, which will enable them to with stand rain and splashing. If you want total protection, and why would you not, then IP 67 or IP 68 are the standards to buy.

LED lights are becoming very popular with boaters who want to reduce the strain on their battery bank. You can now use the same technology on the outside of the boat. A 10 watt LED is equivalent to 100 watt incandescent bulb.


An alternative for hard wiring an external light is a PIR operated automatic battery powered LED light. This type of light is ideal for towpath lighting from the boat and offers the benefits of security lighting along with helping you not to stumble after a late night at the pub.

Tunnel & Navigation Lights

Various narrowboat LED tunnel lights are available. Some will have a 10 degree beam angle, providing a pencil beam, whilst others have a 40 degree angle for those that like to light up the walls and ceiling. Tunnel lights are generally used when the engine is running so energy efficiency is not such a major consideration, however if you were unfortunate enough to have an issue within a tunnel, it’s good to know other boaters will warn other boaters of your presence for a long time without flattening your batteries.

The Cruising section provides further information about the Maritime Law requirements for navigation and tunnel lights on a narrow boat.

External Lighting

Not what you're looking for? Try some other items within this chapter...