Fishing Boat Interior Lights?? - RC Groups
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Dec 31, 2012, 02:42 AM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar

Fishing Boat Interior Lights??

Hello everyone.

I have added a couple of portholes to the back of Catherine's (my Bristol Bay) cabin the other day, and I also got a couple of crew members.

I am thinking of cutting a hole in the bottom of the cabin so that I can put the captain inside the cabin, and I figure if I am going to do that I should also go ahead and add some lights to the inside of the cabin for when running in lower light.

My question is this...on the inside of the cabin, what type of lights would there typically be?? I see that a lot of people on newer boats like to use red lights inside the boat so that it doesn't really negatively impact their night vision. Would that be the case on a fishing boat like this??

Also, would the lights in the sleeping area be a different color than the lights in the actual control area of the boat??

I have a nice red LED "emergency light" thing that I can fit inside the front of the cabin that should do a pretty good job of showing red light through the windows of the front of the boat, but I'm not sure if that's the color that would be best...or if that's the color that would show through the portholes in the back.

Thank you.


I went ahead and put the light inside the cabin for the time being, just to see what it looks like. Here's how it came out:

Testing Red Light Inside Catherine... (0 min 52 sec)
Last edited by Gimpdiggity; Dec 31, 2012 at 03:22 AM.
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Dec 31, 2012, 12:12 PM
Registered User
Hi Jeff,

Other than red/green navigation lights on the exterior of the boat the interior would have regular lights.

Here are some pics of my yacht interior for reference.

scroll down a bit on that page..

Dec 31, 2012, 12:26 PM
GSMB Member
ken_nj's Avatar
If your undecided about using a red or white light, use both. Have a red and white LED and have a small size toggle switch hidden someplace. Maybe on the bottom of the cabin. This way you have both worlds.

If you want the incandescent light appearance use a warm white LED. If you want the pure white type of fluorescent light, use a cool or pure white LED.
Dec 31, 2012, 01:02 PM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
Okay, thanks guys.

It seems like most of the time they would just have normal lights, but I've found several references of more modern boats using red lights for interior lighting, and lots of more modern fisherman seem like they use them exclusively. I found this out by doing a LOT of looking around on fishing websites...can't say I ever thought I'd be looking on fishing message boards!!! Anyways, the guys equip their new powered boats (Bass Trackers and such) with red LEDs on the interior that angle down towards the floor so that they can have the red light which from my research is easier on the eyes at night.

So it seems possible that one would have had red lights, but probably it's less likely that it would have red over white.

So, what I'm going to do is find myself some white lights, put those in there, and then just see which ones I like the look of best. If the red looks better, I'll go with that. If the white looks better, then I'll use those.

Dec 31, 2012, 04:31 PM
CG Bob's Avatar
Most boats will have some sort of duplex light fixture. All of the USCG cutters I served on had 24" flourescent light fixtures; those on the bridge, crews berthing, messdeck, passageways, etc were duplex rigged. The flourescent fixtures were fitted with two flourescent bulbs, plus two screw bulb fixtures were also installed for 20 Watt red lights. Sometimes the red lights were controlled by a toggle switch mounted on the side of the light fixture; with the flourescent lights being controlled by a wall switch. On other ships, a single wall switch controlled the lights; up for white light; down for red light.
Dec 31, 2012, 05:23 PM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
Thanks a lot guys!!!

What I've done is gone with some white lights, for now...but they have a bit of a flicker, which makes it look like the boat is using lanterns inside the cabin.

I know it's not really "scale" this way, but I really like the way that it has come out. The flicker is pretty hard to notice, and I think if the boat were on the water it would be virtually impossible to tell that the lights are actually flickering.

I've got some video of it to upload to show what it looks like.
Dec 31, 2012, 07:42 PM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
Got the video uploaded.

It's in 1080p HD, but I don't think it will make much of a difference for a video like this.

New Cabin Lights in Catherine, My Aquacraft Bristol Bay... (3 min 0 sec)

Let me know what you guys think.

Dec 31, 2012, 08:33 PM
Registered User
Hi Jeff,

I love it!! This was a great idea. The flickering of the light also adds some character to the boat too.

Nice job!

Dec 31, 2012, 09:30 PM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
Thanks Rich!

I did a bit more tinkering with it this evening, and what I ended up doing was covering the tops of the lights with some card stock. This blocks some of the light from coming through the top, and kind of mutes the light inside the cabin just a tiny bit.

What it really does, though, is makes it so that they aren't so pronounced inside the cabin. The way I had them before, the top of the lights was by far the brightest part, and it kind of drew your attention directly to them when looking. Now they are a bit less noticeable, while still providing pretty much the same overall look.

I was a bit conflicted about the flickering lights, as the boat clearly has electronics (radar, spot light, things like that) but I also think it gives it a bit of a cool trait. If someone wants to argue that the boat would never have had lanterns in it, I'll just tell them she's got some electrical gremlins!!!

Dec 31, 2012, 11:35 PM
Registered User
CaptCB's Avatar
The two times I have crewed off the So. CA coast, at night, both boats had low wattage cabin safety lighting, as not to interfear with reading the instruments, or outside visibility. As not seeing that Coastal Tanker, can get you killed. Both boats were owned by ex Merchant Marine Officers, so they were very careful, and prepared, when at sea. One was a 24' cabin cruiser, the other was a 65' ketch rigged, motor sailor. Hope this helps some. CaptCB
Jan 01, 2013, 06:27 PM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
Thanks CaptCB.

I think that my next thing I do will be to add some maps/navigational charts to the back wall of the cabin. I saw that on another Bristol Bay kit bash and thought it was pretty cool.

Other than that, I think I may start trying to make a couple of barrels to have on the deck, and then I'm not sure what else.
Jan 02, 2013, 05:26 PM
Registered User
P_J_Glor's Avatar
In the Navy, we used red lights while underway, because the red does not diminish your night vision. You could see other vessels and/or channel markers and navigational aids from a much greater distance. I would think that the watch on the fishing vessel would want to maintain their night vision, as well. If the vessel is anchored or tied up alongside a pier, you would mst likely use white lights.

Pete G.
Jan 02, 2013, 05:49 PM
no such thing as to many boats
louie R/C NUT's Avatar
Love the lighting looks great
Jan 02, 2013, 11:29 PM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
Thanks Louie.

I think it looks pretty good, too. Even better after I put the "tops" on the lights.

Now I get to move on to something else. I think I'll get a couple more crew members...two just isn't enough, I think four is perfect. I also want to do that map inside the back of the cabin, that will be really cool.

I then will probably move on to some more accessories...I'd like to get some different anchors, maybe, and one of the faux winches for the front. Possibly another porthole or three.

I also plan on making a few more things, mainly some barrels. I'm not really sure what they would be used for, but it seems like it should have a barrel or two on the deck. I'll make them myself by hand out of balsa and then stain them.

Finally, I may end up trying to do some more weathering on the boat...maybe some rust and dirt and things like that.
Jan 03, 2013, 08:14 AM
no such thing as to many boats
louie R/C NUT's Avatar
they all sound like good ideas keep up the good work cant wait to see the progress .

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