Anchor Travel is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

5 Best Inflatable Boat Lights in 2021

Are you or is someone you love planning to use an inflatable boat at night? Then they must comply with all relevant laws for lighting their boat properly so they can stay safe and keep others safe, too.

If you’re looking at lights for your inflatable boat or you want to know more, here’s your guide to getting your boat lights right so you can use your watercraft at night.

The 5 Best Inflatable Boat Lights
Air up an inflatable boat using a foot pump and an electric pump

What Lights are Required on My Inflatable Boat?

There are two different types of lights required on your inflatable boat. Running lights are used when your boat is in motion, while anchor lights are used when your boat is stationary.

Running Lights

LED Navigation Light
Click the image for more info

While any boat – including an inflatable boat – is in motion, it needs to have:

  • A green light showing on the right, or starboard, side of the boat
  • A red light showing on the left, or port, side of the boat
  • A white stern light on the back of the boat AND a white masthead light on the front of the boat, or a white all-around light

If you choose to use an all-around light, it needs to be mounted at least 1 yard above the sidelights. Needless to say, this can be tricky on an inflatable boat!

Some boats do not have a mast and so mount the masthead light on the front of the boat, on a pole, or skip it entirely (though this is not legal).

If the boat is less than 7 meters long and is going less than 7 knots, you are only required to have a single all-around light, though you should also use colored running lights if applicable.

If your boat is more than 12 meters long, your lights must be visible from 2 miles away. If it is shorter than that, your lights need only be visible from 1 mile away.

Note that these rules may be different depending on where you are in the world. While they generally stay more or less the same, you need to familiarize yourself with the specifics wherever you are.

Anchor Lights

Inflatable boat anchor light
Click the image for more info

When you are at anchor, you should turn on a single white light. Make sure that it is placed as high as possible on your boat so that it is as visible as possible. This light must be visible from 2 miles away!

Product Reviews

These are the best inflatable boat lights that we have found.

Running Lights

Running lights are the lights you use while your boat is in motion. Other boats will see these and move around you accordingly.

1. Portable Marine LED Boating Lights

If you don’t have a good place on your boat where you can attach larger lights, these Portable Marine LED Boating Lights might be a great option for you. They can clip on anywhere and are easy to see.

Portable Marine LED Boating Lights, LED Night Light for Inflatable Boats

A silicone sleeve protects these lights from the water, so they should work well for you for a long, long time. They utilize three modes: blinking, strobe, and steady on, so you can always get the attention you need when you’re out on the water.

You can use these lights for more than just boating, too. They are great on skateboards, bicycles, and even on pets if you take your dog for a walk at night. Just clip them on and go.

Even if you don’t use these lights every time you take your boat out at night, they are a great backup option. Keep them around so you’ll always have the lights you need, even if a bulb burns out or one stops working.

What we like

  • These lights offer a significant amount of flexibility so you can place them and use them when and where you need them.
  • Several light patterns mean that you should be visible on the water, no matter where you go.
  • It’s always good to have a backup option when it comes to lighting your boat at night, and these fit that need well.

What we don’t like

  • These lights are too small for larger boats, even inflatable ones.

2. Innovative Lighting LED Bow Light

The Innovative Lighting LED Bow Light is a combination green-and-red light that complies with the required standards in most states. Place it properly and you will have green on the right and red on the left, just like you need.

This light comes with a suction cup, so it can be mounted to almost any boat surface. It is specifically made for use with inflatable boats, kayaks, or paddleboards, so it should work on the surfaces you have available.

Innovative Lighting Inc. 560-1112-7 Led Bow Light White Inflatable

Featuring LED lights, these bulbs are rated at 100,000 hours, which is likely more than you will ever use them.

When you need a basic light for an inflatable boat, this one from Innovative Lighting should keep you safe and meet your needs.

What we like

  • The suction cup is sturdy and supports the weight of the light well.
  • You can remove the light from your boat when you’re done and store it separately, which protects it and allows for longer life.
  • This light should last even longer than you need it to.

What we don’t like

  • If you want to anchor your light to your boat permanently, this is not the best option for you.

3. Innovative Lighting Portable LED Stern Light

The Innovative Lighting Portable LED Stern Light is the sister light to the one discussed above. Combine them to get a full set of running lights that should work well on your inflatable boat.

Portable LED Stern Light for Inflatable

This stern light is easy to mount and easy to use. You’ll never have to change the bulbs because it comes with LEDs that are rated at 100,000 hours of service life.

You can buy this light with either a rubber suction cup base or a base that allows you to mount it with screws and other hardware. Choose the option that will work best on your inflatable boat and that will make your life easy.

When you need a bright stern light for nights out on the water, look no farther than Innovative Lighting.

What we like

  • This light looks great and works well with the bow light discussed above.
  • You have a lot of options when it comes to where and how to mount this light.
  • The light should last for a long, long time. In fact, it may have more hours of service life than you ever plan to spend on the water.

What we don’t like

  • This light does not come with a pole to mount the light higher on your boat.

Anchor Lights

Turn on your anchor lights when you stop for the night so that other boats know you’re there.

Perko Telescoping White All-Round Pole Light and Base Combination

Perko Telescoping White All-Round Pole Light and Base Combination

The Perko Telescoping White All-Round Pole Light and Base Combination is a powerful little light that should keep you safe. Light it up to let other boats know where you are anchored for the night.

This light comes on a telescoping pole so you can get it up high enough for other people to see it. It also comes with a mounting base so you can successfully attach it to your boat without any problems.

This universal fit light should work on any boat. The telescoping pole features a locking collar so you can set it up, then forget about it.

If you’re looking for a basic, bright anchor light, this option from Perko is exactly what you need.

What we like

  • This light is easy to use and easy to store and forget about when you don’t need it anymore.
  • For what you pay and what you see when you open the box, this light is bright, steady, and easy to see at night.
  • You can mount this light practically anywhere, giving you flexibility and freedom on your inflatable boat.

What we don’t like

  • The telescoping pole may not raise the light high enough to comply with laws in some locations.

Running/Anchor Light Combination Packages

These light packages have all the lights you need to successfully use your boat at night.

Attwood Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit

Get all of the lights you need for your boat in one place when you order the Attwood Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit. The kit includes a split red/green bow light and a white stern light on a telescoping pole.

Attwood Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit

You can choose to mount these lights with either adhesive or screws, so you can attach them to your inflatable boat in the best manner for you. The pole for the stern light is strong and will hold the light steady so you won’t need to worry about losing it in the water.

All you need are 3AAA batteries per light and you should get up to 150 hours of use. The bulbs are LEDs, so they should not burn out over the life of the lights.

If you need easy, straightforward lighting for a small inflatable boat, these may be the best options for you.

What we like

  • Get all your lights in one place so you don’t have to worry about compliance anymore.
  • Mount these lights in the manner that works best for you and your boat.
  • Get a lot of use out of lights for a relatively small investment.

What we don’t like

  • If you have a larger inflatable boat, you will want more light than what these will provide.

Conclusion

If you can mount it on your inflatable boat, we recommend the Attwood Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit. This kit is your one-stop shop for all of your inflatable boat lighting needs. Why put your lighting together piecemeal when you could get it all at once,

If you can’t mount that package or you have a very small inflatable boat, we suggest the Portable Marine LED Boating Lights. They are easy to attach, highly visible, and help you comply with the rules without risking damage to your boat.

No matter which lights you choose for your inflatable boat, make sure you have them set up and you know that they are working before you take your boat out at night.

FAQs

Here are answers to some of the questions we get the most frequently when it comes to lights and inflatable boats.

1. What lights should be on a boat at night?

As mentioned above, most boats will have a red port light, a green starboard light, and either two white lights (one on the bow and one on the stern), or a single all-around white light.

Smaller boats may only have a single white light.

Boats at anchor need to display a white light at least 1 meter above the deck.

2. What does a single white light on a boat tell you?

A single white light might be a couple of different things.

First of all, it may be an anchor light for a boat that is at rest. Boats are more likely to put these out when they are in highly-traveled waters or have divers/swimmers in the water. These lights will be up high, on a pole or on the mast.

A single white light may also be the stern light of a boat moving away from you. If you can’t see the colored front lights, you are directly behind the boat in front of you.

Finally, a single white light may indicate a very small boat, usually human-powered. These are often rowboats, kayaks, or other boats that cannot practically mount running lights. These lights will be very close to the water.

The key thing to remember is that any light on the water indicates a boat of some sort. It’s best to go slow until you get more information.

3. Why do boats use red lights at night?

Red and Green Led Navigation Lights
Click the image for more info

Red lights are mounted on the port (or left) side of a boat while it is in motion. If you see a red light, the boat is moving across the front of your body from right to left.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.