Lighting – How to Select Dock Lighting

Lighting: How to select Dock Lighting

Lighting for your dock and boat lift is important for the security of your boat and the safety of your guests. Follow these suggestions to enhance the security, safety and appearance of your dock.

Why Install a Solar-Powered Light System vs an AC powered Lighting System

Both systems can be controlled by solar cells.  They turn on automatically when the light level dims and turn off again at dawn.  Solar powered lights cost nothing to use and are safer to operate, with no risk of shocks.

Reminder: If your dock requires installation and removal each year, a solar powered light system will not require power line removal.  Solar powered lights are self-contained with no exposed wires to deal with.  Dock sections can be separated easily without wires.

Solar lights do not require additional power boxes at the shore with safety circuits in the house or shed.

Where can dock lighting be located?

image of dock light

Dock Light




The preferred position for lights is on the deck surface or on the leg posts.  This deck mounted style can be mounted along the edge of the dock where you are not likely to step on it



image of dot lights

Dot Lights


Another type of deck mounted solar light is mounted directly into the decking surface.  They require a hole be drilled into the decking and the light inserted into the hole almost flush with the decking.





image of post lights at night Post lights at night

A post mounted light fixture is mounted on a leg post at about 24 to 35 inches above the decking.  Some are mounted into the top of the post after removing the plastic caps.

 For Visual Drama and Safety, Illuminate the Water’s Edge

image of Dock Side Lighting

Dock Side Lighting


Add a set of lights that shine into the water and reflect off the edges of the dock. This adds both visual impact and a second safety factor.  The dock is more visible as you bring the boat in to your lift.

 Choose Lighting that Will Help Identify Your Dock

At night, it can be difficult to distinguish which dock is yours.  This is especially true if you cannot see any of the landscaping or tree outlines. If neighboring docks use the same colored lights it can be difficult to pick the correct one.

Consider adding red and green lights at the end of your dock to help you steer your boat to the correct side at night.  You can use any available color scheme at the end.

 Light for Safety When Leaving the Dock Area

Place a tall light, which directs most of its light downward, at the entrance to your path or stairway up from the dock. Avoid lights that cast bright light widely, so your guests and neighbors can sleep.

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