Marine Lighting Challenges and Applications

By Kaitlin Davis

May 17, 2021

Lighting in Marine and Offshore environments can come with many challenges. We’d like to walk you through the environmental hazards you need to be aware of for your next Marine project, and how you can mitigate the risks that they may pose.

Funny Marine Lighting Challenges Picture

The Challenges Presented in Marine Lighting 


Not every lighting solution is capable of withstanding the tough challenges present in a marine, or beach and lake environments. Both freshwater and saltwater corrodes metal over time, but saltwater expedites this process roughly 5 times faster than freshwater. Even if the luminaire is not directly exposed to water, the humidity of ocean air can cause metals to rust 10 times faster than in air with normal humidity levels. Corrosion can lead to malfunctions, frequent replacements, and unsightly luminaires.

Water Ingress

Water ingress is another issue that arises when waves and storms cause large amounts of water to frequently hit the luminaire. The combination of water ingress and rust will significantly increase the risk of premature failure and result to costly replacements. Choosing the right luminaire for a marine application will ensure it has the necessary durability and reliability, which saves you maintenance and replacement costs in the long-run.

Marine Lighting Requirements

To combat the harsh marine environments and the challenges they come with, you should look for a lighting fixture with the following requirements to ensure long-lasting performance with low maintenance.


A non-metallic luminaire is excellent at resisting corrosion, making it ideal for Marine environments. These luminaires typically have reinforced polycarbonate housing rather than metal.

UL Marine Listed

You will also want a UL Marine Listed mark on your luminaire. The UL Marine Listing guarantees that the luminaire has been rigorously tested and approved specifically for marine use. For these harsher environments, a luminaire needs more than standard wet location features to guarantee protection from moisture. A UL Marine Listed luminaire will ensure the fixture can withstand harsh marine conditions such as vibration, impact, water ingress, and salt-spray corrosion1.


Type 4X offers a superior level of protection from corrosion and extreme environments and is capable of withstanding hose-directed water. With a Type 4X certification you can be sure you’re getting a corrosion-resistant luminaire that provides protection against windblown dust and rain.

Consider RDA Lighting’s NMV-LED Non-Metallic Vaporproof fixture for your next job. The NMV is a tough, but durable luminaire that meets all of these requirements.

[1] “UL Standard for Safety for Supplemental Requirements for Luminaires for Installation on Marine Vessels.” ANSI/UL, December 4, 2000.