View Full Version : Underwater lighting........

07-11-2012, 07:39 AM
I am thinking about putting it on my 2009 x45. Is it an install a novice can do or have to be done by a professional? Also how much does it cost both ways? Thanks,

07-11-2012, 08:07 AM
Hi, kind of depends on what kind of underwater lighting you want to put on your boat. I've received my underwater lights from abysslite.com last week. They cost quite a bit but seem to be well engineered. For these lights you'll need to drill holes in the hull right behind the lights. Drilling in Gelcoat needs some drilling skills or you'll crack the gelcoat around the hole. After drilling you'll need to countersink the holes in order to avoid cracking the gelcoat while tightening the screws. You'll need to use sealing made for marine purposes (I'll be using 3M 5200 FC) as the holes are below the waterline, you don't want any leaks there. Inside the boat you'll need to figure out where to run the cables that they don't get in the way of any moving parts. Furthermore you'll need to do a good job on extending the cables. Both topics badly done can potentially result in sparks in the motor compartment, not a good thing to have. I'll probably be doing my installation on the weekend, I'll post some pictures if I get to it. I'll be doing my inboard LED lighting first, so if anything with that takes longer than expected I won't be able to do the underwater lights as well.

All in all not a really complicated job, but in need of some skills and good tools, especially sharp drill bits. Google "drilling in gelcoat" to inform yourself in more detail.

07-12-2012, 09:49 AM
Drilling is easy. Some are just a nipple that can be done with a bit some require a larger hole. Start the hole in reverse and you wont have a problem with cracking. If you can install a light switch you can install these lights. Just double check placement and make sure you are clear on both sides. use some good marine grade thru hull fitting adhesive and have fun.

Brian B
07-12-2012, 12:50 PM
There is nothing "fun" about drilling into a boat hull! I'm a seasoned mechanic, and pretty handy all around and this was nerve racking to me. My install came out perfect though! When wiring the lights, leave a few feet of slack in the boat just in case you have to remove a light for service, or re-seal....

Brian B
07-12-2012, 12:53 PM

Oh! Dont use a common ground for the lights! I did and had engine noise through the stereo with the lights on! Go directly to the battery for ground and power!

07-12-2012, 02:16 PM
Here's my 45 with the factory UW lights!!


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07-13-2012, 03:54 AM
Thanks for pointing out the ground issue. Since my lights came with a pretty nice switch including a circuit breaker I'll directly connect to the battery.

07-13-2012, 09:11 AM
It helps to drill a small pilot hole then counter sink it before drilling the final hole. The c'sink removes the gelcoat at the holes surface edges so the drill bit doesnt catch it and pop off chunks..........

07-13-2012, 09:38 AM
And - as stated above - always start drilling in reverse. I use wood drills which are very sharp and have a centering tip in the middle (be sure not to buy the ones with a threaded center tip). The tip ensures that your bit won't move around when drilling, which is especially important when using very low pressure to drill through the gelcoat in reverse.

The biggest advantage of the wood bits is also their greatest potential danger. The bits are so sharp that an attempt to drill through gelcoat not being in reverse will chip and tear the gelcoat to bits and pieces.

Brian B
07-13-2012, 11:36 AM
Thanks for pointing out the ground issue. Since my lights came with a pretty nice switch including a circuit breaker I'll directly connect to the battery.

If your Mastercraft has a blank spot for a switch from the factory, use it! Much cleaner that way. I had a blank plate next to my ballast switches so I went to MC for an on/off matching "Aux" switch. Looks OEM.

07-17-2012, 03:53 AM
I was thinking about using one of the unused switches (washdown and shower), but I did not want to hook up lights to a wrongly labeled switch. Unfortunately I do not have any blank spots, so I decided to install to switch that came with the lights. The switch is parallel to the boat's floor, it looks a little bit crooked in the picture.


Next step will be to install the lights, looks like a pretty ugly job, but think I found a spot where I can drill through the hull and not get in the way of anything...